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by Administrator

Earning an accredited online college degree can be the key to career advancement for many working professionals. In many fields, in order to move ahead, you have to earn an advanced degree.

For example, if you are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), in order to move to the next level within your field, you need to earn the Registered Nurse (RN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) credential.

However, LPNS often work rotating shifts in hospitals, which makes it impossible to attend traditional nursing degree programs. Online degree programs provide an option for individuals in this situation to keep their variable schedule jobs while working toward and advanced degree that can have a significant positive impact on earning potential.

Even in career fields in which advanced degree requirements are not mandated, continuing education can give workers a competitive advantage in the job market. Most employers are concerned with reducing turnover in the workforce. When employers hire new workers or identify individuals to promote, they look for people who are likely to be successful with the company long term. Seeking an advanced degree lets employers know that you are serious about your career. This can help you stand out from other applicants or candidates for promotions. It is important to explore Doctoral Fellowships and Master's Degree scholarships because if you know how and where to look, growth opportunities are out there and can help you advance your career.

Some companies will hire individuals who don’t have degrees for entry-level positions, but seek degreed individuals for higher level positions and internal promotions. Once you have started working in a career position, it can be hard to find the time to attend college full-time. However, you are often overlooked for advancement opportunities if you don’t have a degree. Instead of feeling trapped permanently in an entry-level job, you can change your situation by seeking an associate degree online or enrolling in an online Bachelor’s degree program.


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by Administrator

The key to applying for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine your eligibility for all federal student financial aid programs, and is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to find money for college.

Information from the FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for many need-based scholarship programs and for some state grant programs. When you ask a representative of your college’s financial aid office how to apply for financial aid, he or she will tell you that you must complete the FAFSA.

Until you submit a FAFSA, there is no way for you to get an accurate estimate of the types of federal financial aid that you might be able to receive. FAFSA data are used to determine eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, various Federal student loan programs, and college work-study positions. If you are planning to enter college in the fall following graduation from high school, you need to submit your FAFSA as early as possible in your graduation year.

As soon as you have W-2s and/or tax forms for you and your parents for the previous year, you need to fill out the FAFSA financial aid forms. The financial aid office at the school you plan to attend may be able to answer questions you have about how to apply for financial aid with the FAFSA. The Federal Student Aid Information Center can also assist you if you have any questions about how to fill out your financial aid forms.

You may reach a representative by calling 800-4-FED-AID. The sooner you take care of this important aspect of applying for financial aid, the earlier you will understand your financial aid options. Once you submit your FAFSA, it will be processed and you will find out what types of Federal Financial Aid you can receive.

Posted Under:

College Costs , FAFSA , Financial Aid


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by Scholarships.com Staff

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a fraternal organization with over one million members, assists students in funding their education by sponsoring an annual scholarship program. This being a benevolent order, community service and leadership are taken into consideration. That means that students who don’t excel academically could make up points by helping out in the community. A total of $2,296,000 in prize money will be awarded, so don’t pass this chance up. For more information on this and other scholarships, including contact information, you may conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Prizes:

Five hundred awards ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 per year. This means that the first-prize winner will be awarded $60,000 over the course of four years!

Eligibility:

Applicants must be U.S. citizens

Applicants must be high-school seniors who plan to enroll, full time, in an accredited 2 or 4 year U.S. college or university

Deadline:

January 11, 2008

Required Materials:

  • A completed application brochure that includes information on employment, community service, outside activities, school performance and financial standing.
  • An essay of no more than 500 words about one of three proposed subjects.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Counselor report (counselor must fill out provided questionnaire).

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by Kevin Ladd

Worrying about the application process is hard enough. When you add tuition costs, necessary savings, and loan interest rates into the equation, the numbers equal a headache. Don’t worry; we’ll give you a hand. Take advantage of the free financial aid calculators provided by Scholarships.com, and take things one day at a time—we’ll crunch the numbers for you.

College Cost Worksheet Calculator

Before accepting college offers, you should know how much an education at your school of choice will cost you. Not everyone has unlimited funds, and assuming that loan payments will take care of themselves after graduation is not the greatest policy. To help you estimate the costs of a college education, we have created a college cost worksheet. Just type in some estimates and find out what you should expect. To search for a college and find the cost estimates by school, you can also use our free college search.

Savings Planner Calculator

To secure a sound financial future, students should search for scholarships and set money aside for college. By using our savings planner calculator, you can find out where you will stand by the time freshman year rolls around. If you are still far behind, you may want to scrooge up, get a head start on scholarship applications and consider a part-time job.

Future College Cost & Savings Calculator

College is expensive, and even those who save are likely to encounter big school costs. Most students will need to make large contributions while attending school. With the help of our Future Cost Savings Calculator, you can estimate just how large your yearly contributions will have to be. We have already taken into account the estimated yearly increases in tuition.

Monthly Loan Payment Calculator

Sometimes loans are unavoidable. If you plan to borrow for an education, you should at least know what to expect when your bill arrives. Having to give up your career of choice in favor (or disfavor) of one that’s less desirable but higher paid can be disappointing. To avoid any problems, figure out how much you can afford to pay each month, and use our calculator to help you do it.


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by Paulina Mis

Why should I care about voting?

Whether you're new to it or not, you’ve got to make like “Diddy” and “Rock the Vote”. Even if you’re not a huge fan, he’s got it right this time. There is something at stake for student voters: financial aid. This year has been a tumultuous one as far as college financial aid is concerned, and a collective student voice is needed to convince candidates that students mean business.

It all began when an investigation headed by New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo revealed that some, actually many, financial aid officials were receiving money from student lenders in exchange for promotions. Findings showed that certain lenders were paying schools to place them on preferred lender lists, offering gifts and money to financial aid officials in exchange for loan promotion, conducting seemingly unbiased loan exit sessions, and giving athletic departments money for each lead sold.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that third-party lender advertisers were using tactics such as imitating government websites to make students feel as if they were getting unbiased information or that some study abroad advisors were receiving money and free trips from study abroad companies for every student they convinced to travel with them. Sigh… I’m a bit out of breath.

Some, not many, successful efforts have been made to fix the financial aid system. The recently passed College Cost Reduction and Access Act has increased Pell Grants and decreased student lender subsidies. Unfortunately, these changes don't apply to all students. Those who are still in need of college funding should conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com.  And to convince politicians that they need to hold up their end of the deal, students need to vote.

How do I register?

Votes won’t cast themselves. (Florida votes are a rare exception; they do what they want.) To participate in next year’s elections held on November 4, 2008, you have to be a registered voter. Under the Motor Voter law, states need to make registration available in numerous public agencies. Local departments of motor vehicles are common ones. Many cities also set up voting facilities in state buildings, libraries and schools.

Check your city hall or their online site for voting areas in your city. Most states also allow citizens to register by filling out a mail-in form available online at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) . States have different deadlines for registration (usually about 30 days prior to Election Day), so don’t wait too long.  When you're ready to register, bring proof of state residency e.g., driver’s license, ID or utility bill. If you are sending your registration via mail, you will need to photo copy these items.

Students who move to college must update their address before registering. Contact your local city hall to find out how this works for students living in college dorms. Once you’ve done that, you will have to pay a $750 voting fee. Just kidding, you're registering to vote, not for college classes.

Posted Under:

College Culture , College News , Tips


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Athletic Scholarships

November 7, 2007

by Paulina Mis

Whether you’re serious about sports or just having a good time (or both), your interest may help you find scholarships. Inhuman ability is not even required—most of the time. A bit of talent and a lot of fun may be all it takes. So flex your fingers, and dust off that keyboard; you may be a scholarship essay away from landing a lucrative college scholarship.  For more information on the scholarships below, including contact details, conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com

Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY)

Now in its 10th year, the scholarship program responsible for producing Santa’s drink of choice is affording students an education. And the SAMMY award will probably give student athletes more than Santa ever did.  Each year, the National Milk Mustache’s “Got Milk?” campaign gives away $7,500 scholarships to 25 high school seniors. Winning athletes will also be commemorated with a spot in the SAMMY Hall of Fame at the Disney World Milk House and will have the chance to appear in a Milk Mustache USA Today ad.  Scholarship applications for the 2008 award will be accepted between November 5, 2007 and March 7, 2008. Interested students will be required to write an essay of no more than 250 words about “How Milk Has Helped In My Academics and/or Athletics”.

Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship

Evans Scholars won't be the only ones receiving golf scholarships this year. So far, the Women’s Western Golf Foundation has awarded more than $3.1 million in college golf scholarships, and they’re ready to award more.  This scholarship is available to, of course, women who play golf. Thankfully, applicants don’t need to be pros to win; excellence in the sport is not even a criterion. Winners will be awarded $2,000 grants renewable for four years under the condition that they continue to demonstrate financial need and maintain a 3.0 GPA.  If you are a female, a high school senior and you play golf, you can get this application thing down to a tee.

NCAA Scholarships

Are you looking for baseball scholarships? Basketball scholarships? College sport scholarships in general? The NCAA is the place to search. Of course, to receive a lucrative scholarship from the National Collegiate Athletic Association you have to be good. The NCAA and its cosponsors award over 126,000 scholarships worth more than $1 billion each year to exceptional athletes. Interested student athletes should contact their colleges of choice for more information.

The Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship

So maybe your baseball swings would be better categorized as swats. So what? If you can rattle off sports stats like a champ, you may still have a shot at winning sports scholarships. Each year, the Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship program awards a $1,000 grant to an undergraduate (sophomore or older) pursuing a career in TV or radio sports reporting.  If you have good writing skills, a breathtaking voice and killer teeth (the last two are not required but won’t hurt) you may be one step closer to winning a scholarship.


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Federal Student Loans

November 6, 2007

by Kevin Ladd

Loans don’t incite pleasant feelings in students, in anyone on the borrowing side. It doesn’t help that the media has made it a point to discuss, extensively, what appears to be the newest trend… mortgage loan defaulting. Student loans aren't as large as mortgages, but for a growing number, they are catching up.

Regardless of cost, there are a lot of dedicated students out there, and until the college-financing system undergoes a major overhaul (cross your fingers but don't hold your breath), loans may be inevitable. Before taking out loans, students should complete a FAFSA and conduct a free scholarship search. Those who still need money should apply for federal loans. Only after exhausting government loans should one consider private student loans

As a result of the recently passed College Cost Reduction and Access Act, there will be a decrease in interest rates on federal college student loans. That's great news for students with large financial aid needs, but loan rates have not yet been changed. Even before government rates become less expensive, it is in a student's best interest to see what the government has to offer before looking elsewhere. Below are the federal student loan options available to those in need.

Stafford Loans- Students who are interested in taking out a Stafford Loan (or other types of federal student loans) will need to fill out a FAFSA. The amount that a student can borrow will depend on a student’s year in school as well as on whether the Stafford Loan is subsidized or unsubsidized (only a portion of the amount may be subsidized). Stafford Loans disbursed after July 1, 2006 are fixed at a 6.8 % interest rate, but lower rates are in the works.

  • For the 2007-2008 school year, dependent undergraduate students attending college full time may borrow between $3,500 and $5,500 (borrowing limit increases after each completed year).
  • Independent undergraduates or dependents whose parents were denied a PLUS Loan may borrow between $7,500 and $10,500 (again, freshmen may take out less than seniors).
  • The maximum amount of a professional or graduate student loan is a bit larger—as is graduate tuition. This year, students may borrow up to $20,500, regardless of their year in graduate school.

PLUS Loans- The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students or PLUS Loan is offered to, as the name suggests, parents of undergraduate students. Recently, the loan has also been made available to graduate school students. PLUS Loan amounts may not exceed the total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. If the student’s estimated cost of attendance (amount determined by each school) is $6,000 and the student receives $4,000 in aid, only $2,000 may be borrowed. To take advantage of this loan, students must max out their Stafford Loans, and doing so is in a student’s best interest anyway. PLUS Loans have higher interest rates than Stafford Loans; those disbursed on or after July 1, 2006 are fixed at 7.9% for Direct PLUS Loans and at 8.5% for FFEL PLUS Loans.

Perkins Loans- Although Perkins Loans are made with government money, they are normally classified as campus-based aid because they are administered by schools. Perkins Loans are offered to students with exceptional need, and only a limited amount is available. Once a school runs low on Perkins Loan funds, students will not receive as much (the same holds true for federal-work study opportunities). This is why students are generally advised to submit their FAFSA early. The earlier they apply, the greater their chance of receiving some forms of aid. The loan amount received through the Perkins Loan program depends on the amount a school has, on already-received aid and on the financial needs of the student. Students who qualify can borrow up to $4,000 each year and pay it off at a 5% student loan rate.

Posted Under:

FAFSA , Financial Aid , Student Loans


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by Scholarships.com Staff

The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE), a network providing information, interaction and support for private enterprise systems, is giving away a number of scholarships. Interested students will need to write a 1000 to 2000 word essay answering one of three questions:

1. What Causes Prosperity? 2. What is the Role of Ethical Behavior in a Free Market? 3. Can Free Markets Protect the Environment?

The APEE even offers a discussion and articles on the mentioned topics to assist students in their preparation. This one is worth a shot. If you win, the prosperity question will answer itself. To find more information about this and other scholarships (including contact information), you may conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Prizes:

1. One $2,500 cash prize 2. One $2,000 cash prize 3. One $1,500 cash prize 4. An undetermined number of honorable mentions worth $250 each. (Ten were offered last year.)

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be full-time students 2. Applicants must be 25 years and younger

Deadline:

December 1, 2007

Required Material:

1. Typed essay sent as an attachment. (In case you forget, the APEE wants to remind you to write in English.) 2. Contact information 3. Finalists will have to prove that they are students under the age of 25. (A photocopy of your student ID will need to be sent.)


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by Paulina Mis

After months of investigations into the legality of practices within the student loan industry, new regulations have been approved by the Department of Education. The guidelines came shortly after the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act which increased financial aid and decreased lender subsidies. The new rules, however, are more targeted at the behavior of student lenders and financial aid officials.

Department regulations now state that colleges offering preferred-lender lists must suggest at least three different lenders. In the past, some schools mentioned only one lender, the one they had an exclusive contract with. The investigation also found that certain schools listed a number of lenders, but the choice was illusory. Because some lenders sold their loans to others on the list, the options were smaller than they appeared.

Approved mandates also cleared up some ambiguities between state and government laws regulating lender and school relationships. Lenders are generally pleased that the Department of Education has made clear their rules, when discrepancies arise, supersede rules laid down by the state. (Not that this wasn't already the legal rule of thumb.

Numerous schools and lenders have already agreed to abide by a new code of ethics and have donated millions to loan-education funds—even some who denied wrongdoing—after being accused of misdeeds by Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General spearheading the investigation.  Citibank and Sallie Mae each agreed to pay $2 million while Education Finance Partners agreed to pay $2.5 million in settlements. New York University, Syracuse University and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, also settled and agreed to return some money to student borrowers. Knowing that Mr. Cuomo is not the loan king, although he sure has proven himself, will assuage some lender and college frustrations, but not by much.

Posted Under:

College News , Student Loans


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Minority Scholarships

November 1, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

As you can tell by the quantity of information about scholarships and grants that can be found at Scholarships.com, there are plenty of awards out there…and plenty of competition. Thankfully, there are ways of whittling down the opposition. By applying for scholarships restricted to a certain pool of applicants, you can greatly increase your chances of winning an excellent prize. Scholarships for minorities are pretty common, and some of them get really specific when it comes to requirements. Here are a few minority scholarships that will knock out some applicants without knocking you out in the process. For additional information (including sources of contact) about these and other scholarships, you may conduct a free college scholarship search.

General Motors Minority Dealers Association Scholarship

The General Motors Minority Dealers Association (GMMDA) annually offers $2,500 scholarships to ethnic minority students pursuing an education. GMMDA has so far given $1 million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Winners are chosen based on academics, volunteer and work experience, future goals and personal statements. To be eligible applicants must be African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian/Pacific Islander high school seniors or full-time college students attending a U.S. accredited school. Applicants must also possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, be U.S. citizens or have the eligibility to work in the U.S.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Camino al Éxito Scholarship

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers numerous scholarships that assist students of Hispanic descent in reaching their educational goals. Their Camino al Éxito (walk to success) Hispanic scholarship offers financial aid to students who meet the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement and who are U.S. Citizens or legal permanent residents. Applicants must be either high school seniors soon to enroll in a full-time U.S. accredited college or college freshmen, sophomores or juniors. To be considered, students must have submitted a FAFSA. Winners receive awards that typically range between $2,500 and $5,000.

Sallie Mae Fund American Dream Scholarship

The Sallie Mae Fund is a charitable organization that annually offers numerous scholarships for students trying to receive a college education. In conjunction with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Sallie Mae is offering an African American scholarship open to African Americans with financial needs. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must meet the minimum 2.5 GPA requirement. They must also meet Pell Grant eligibility criteria and be enrolled full-time at an accredited undergraduate institution. Winners may receive between $500 and $5,000 in scholarship money.

SALEF "Fulfilling Our Dreams" Scholarship

The Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund (SALEF) offers four scholarships through its “Fulfilling Our Dreams” Fund. Unlike many scholarship programs, this one offers high school, undergraduate and graduate school scholarships. To be eligible for the awards, students must be of Central American or other Latino ethnicity, demonstrate financial need, demonstrate community involvement, meet the 2.5 minimum GPA requirement, be a high school senior or college student and pledge to help other students through community service. The scholarships are offered annually, and winners will receive an award raging from $500 to $2500. The catch? Applicants must also reside and study in California.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Higher Education Scholarships

To provide quality education opportunities for American Indians, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is offering numerous Higher Education Grants to eligible students. To apply, students must be at least one-quarter Indian descendents of an American Indian tribe that is eligible for special U.S. programs and services based on its Indian status. Applicants must also be accepted to a nationally accredited two-or- four-year college or university and must demonstrate financial need.

Posted Under:

Scholarships

Tags: Minority Scholarships

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