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Report: UChicago’s Local Financial Aid Initiative Shows Promise

December 4, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

In October 2012, the University of Chicago launched UChicago Promise, an initiative aimed at helping high school students in the city of Chicago gain admission, pay for and succeed in college. The cornerstone of the program is the commitment from the university to eliminate loans from financial aid packages of students from Chicago who are admitted.

Recently, the University released a report on the first year of UChicago Promise that shows hundreds of students, parents and high school guidance counselors have benefitted from the initiative. Check out some of the highlights below:

  • Contributed to a 48.8-percent boost in the number of Chicago applicants to the University of Chicago
  • Saved Chicago families a total of $89,475 in application fees through a new automatic waiver
  • Coached 1,100 students and parents through workshops on college interviews, essay writing and financial aid
  • Served more than 250 public school students through academic enrichment programs, including Upward Bound and the Collegiate Scholars Program
  • Brought more than 500 middle school and high school students to the UChicago campus through GEAR UP, a national program aimed at increasing access to postsecondary education

To read more on the first year-in-review report, click here. Share your thoughts on the University of Chicago’s local financial aid initiative. Do you think more universities should follow this trend? Do you know of any that already do? Let us know. And don’t forget that affordable college tuition can be expensive. Try to fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com!

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SOTW: $2,000 No Essay College Scholarship

Niche is Accepting Entries Through December 31st

December 15, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Winning money for college is great but doing so without having to meet astronomical word counts and double-digit page requirements is even better. Lucky for you, the folks at Niche couldn't agree more and have launched the $2,000 No Essay Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to all students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months. The monthly winner will be determined by random drawing and then contacted directly and announced on their Facebook page. One entry per person, but you can come back each month to try again. To apply, please visit Niche or complete a free scholarship search to find additional opportunities.

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SOTW: Anne Frank Outstanding Scholarship Award

December 22, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The Spirit of Anne Frank Awards are given out each year to students, teachers and citizens who have proven themselves exceptional leaders in their communities. This leadership is exhibited in their desire and drive to combat intolerance, prejudice and injustice.

The work and dedication shown by these applicants should be at such a level to enact lasting change, such as: helping to change legislation, starting or running a non-profit, and writing books or creating documentaries to bring awareness to issues in their communities. We offer these awards to those who carry on Anne Frank’s message and legacy of hope, courage, peace, justice and equality.

Students can apply for the Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Awards, which are available to high school seniors who will be attending a four year college in the Fall. One winner will receive The Leah and Edward Frankel $10,000 scholarship, to be evenly divided throughout the four years of their college education. A second winner will receive a one-time $5,000 scholarship from ING. Additional runners up will receive a one-time stipend towards their college education. Applications must be post-marked by February 27th.

To learn more about this scholarship, visit the Anne Frank Center USA's website; additional scholarship opportunities can be found by conducting a free Scholarships.com scholarship search.

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The FAFSA: New Year Means New Application

January 6, 2015

by Alexis Mattera

Though it's a day off from school and work, New Year's Day is also a day to get down to business. While you’re starting in on your New Year's resolutions, opening up a new calendar, and packing up the holiday decorations, there’s one more thing that college students and college-bound high school students should do each January. The Department of Education starts accepting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (more commonly known as "FAFSA") on January 1 each year. State application deadlines fall soon after—as early as February in some cases. So while you might not start classes until August or September, you want to start applying for financial aid as soon as the FAFSA is available each year.

In order to complete a FAFSA, you will need the following:

  • your social security number
  • a driver’s license if you have one
  • bank statements and records of investments (if you have any)
  • records of untaxed income (again, if you have any)
  • your most recent tax return and W2s (2013 for the 2014-2015 FAFSA)
  • all of the above for your parents if you are considered a dependent
  • a PIN to sign electronically (go to pin.ed.gov to get one)

For more information on FAFSA and other daunting financial aid acronyms, head over to our Federal Aid section. And while you’re there, don’t forget to create a free Scholarships.com profile to help you fund your college education.

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SOTW: Design4HerEducation Fashion & Design Scholarship

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 29th

March 23, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

My Social Canvas, a fashion brand that is on a mission to make a difference by jumpstarting the careers of emerging student designers, is proud to join forces with supermodel and philanthropist Dayle Haddon's nonprofit organization, WomenOne, whose goal is to ensure every girl has access to a quality education. To kick off #Design4HerEducation, a design contest, scholarship competition, and awareness campaign MSC and WomenOne invite the next generation of designers to "Educate a Girl and Change the World," by submitting designs representing this powerful message in the hopes of being selected to win a scholarship and the chance to design a new collection from which a portion of proceeds supports girls' education in the developing world.

To participate, design a fashion forward graphic inspired by "Education a Girl. Change the World" – this design must be something you can see being sold in major retailers! The design will be produced on t-shirts, tote bags, makeup bags, and other lifestyle products. If you are interested in learning more about this or other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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Obamas Free College Proposal Raises Questions

January 20, 2015

by Ben Archer

Sure, anything Obama proposes is going to have detractors across the aisle politically. Perhaps due in part to his recent and seemingly more and more frequent use of executive action or just plain old typical partisanship, our president can scarcely do anything these days without intense scrutiny. Naturally, among the chief concerns of Obama’s opponents on the matter is the increase in taxes that would be necessitated by such action. But let’s discuss the other aspect of offering "free" college for all first.

Some people (perhaps none more than those who had to work before, during and/or after attending college to pay for the education and experience they received) may feel as though it would be beneficial for anybody who attends college, community or otherwise, to have some "skin in the game". Certainly, there is a certain psychological aspect to consider; the potential subconscious assignment of value to things that are "free" vs. the ones for which one has worked and saved to attain, isn’t there? Definitely a point worth discussing and possible consideration when discussing the cost of college. Naturally, not all prospective beneficiaries of the "free college" plan would respond in the same way. Certainly, there are many who would take full advantage of such a program and benefit greatly from the opportunity, but would they comprise a large enough portion of the qualifying applicants to the program for it to be viable and sustainable?

Of course, there is also the debate about funding of such a plan. We all know that there is no "free" college or anything else in this world, so who ends up paying for the college education that the students in question would receive through such a plan? Should the taxpayers at large, whether they have kids or not, have already paid for their children to attend college, etc. be required to pay for other people and their children to attend college? Is this the only or, more importantly, the best solution to the problem of the rising cost of post-secondary education? Does anybody have a better idea?

Of course, at first glance, the idea of providing everyone with the opportunity for a free post-secondary education is very appealing to those who can't afford college. This would be, at the very least, a "leg-up" for those who don't have the money to pay for college; a chance to prove to themselves and perhaps to a school to which they might later transfer, that they possess the dedication and aptitude to earn a degree. But with the country still in tremendous debt and many college grads being forced to take jobs that don't require a college degree at all, is this a practical solution? Would students who were not paying take the opportunity for granted due to the lack of having invested any of their own money in the endeavor? Is this a solution that will actually accomplish the goal of providing education to those who need but cannot afford it? There are still many questions yet to be answered and, as always, we would love to offer our comments section for you to annotate and contribute to this debate.

So, what do you think? Should community college be free? Do you think students will do as well in such a situation as they would if they were required to pay tuition? How would you propose supporting such a program? C'mon, speak up and tell us your thoughts!

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President Obama Proposes Free Community College

January 13, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

When considering the true cost of a college education, students must remember to factor in not only tuition but mandatory fees, room and board, books, supplies and living expenses. Unless, of course, you’re considering a community college: President Obama recently proposed free community college for all high school graduates for two years! Score!

The concept, according to administration officials, is not to target low-income students explicitly: Anyone will be provided the option of two years of tuition as long as they maintain a 2.5 GPA and attend school at least half-time. In effect, community college would be universal the way high school is. "Two years of college should be free and should be universal and should be of high quality for responsible students, just like high school is today," said Ted Mitchell, under secretary of education, the third-highest ranking official at the U.S. Department of Education. If the initiative is adopted nationally, officials estimate nine million people across the county could each save about $3,800 in college costs.

It's important to note that the President's proposal would involve the federal government and states combining to pay the entire cost of tuition for two years at a community college for any American who wanted it. And relying on taxpayers is where the program is likely to run into objections from Republicans in Congress: The administration estimates the program would cost about $6 billion a year. (For more on this story, click here.)

With the cost of a college education still on the rise, what do you think of President Obama’s proposal? Share your thoughts in the comments section. For more on the pros and cons of community college, head over to our College Prep section. And while you’re there, don’t forget to create a free Scholarships.com profile to help you fund your education.

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The Young Naturalist Awards Scholarships

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 1st

February 2, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The Young Naturalist Awards Program hosted by the American Museum of Natural History, invites students in grades 7 through 12 to conduct original research in the areas of biology, earth science or astronomy. Students work independently to make observations, record data and illustrate findings before documenting their research in a written essay. The 12 finalists (two per grade) receive scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,500 and are flown to New York City to meet museum scientists, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum and attend an awards ceremony.

Winners are further distinguished by having their essays published on the Museum's website. The program is conducted by the American Museum of Natural History and supported by Alcoa Foundation. Entrants must be United States or Canadian citizens or legal residents living within the United States, Canada or U.S. Territories. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of science teachers and by museum scientists.

For more information on finding money for college and how to properly fund your college education, check out Scholarships.com Financial Aid section and conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Win $10K in this Scholarship of the Week!

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 31st

February 9, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Looking for a scholarship that doesn't require an essay? Well, look no further than ScholarshipPoints for your chance to win a $10,000 scholarship. ScholarshipPoints is free to join, fun to participate in, and provides you with the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in scholarships every month. Members earn scholarship points for doing what they already do online: shopping, reading blogs, playing games, searching the web, taking surveys and more! The more you do – the more points you earn – the more chances you have at winning a scholarship. Join today and you could be their next scholarship winner!

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today! By creating a Scholarships.com profile, you'll be matched with funding opportunities that are unique to you. These days you don’t have to be a star athlete or valedictorian to land scholarships. Many are based on characteristics like need, community service and your intended field of study, or if you dig even deeper, you’ll find a wide array of awards based on more specific characteristics. Chances are you qualify for more scholarships than you thought you did, so conduct a free scholarship search or browse through our site to see awards you may be eligible for and start earning money toward college.

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Germans from Russia Heritage Society Youth Essay Contest

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 31st

February 23, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The Germans from Russia Heritage Society Youth Essay Contest encourages students from around the world to learn about the history and culture of the German-Russians, people who emigrated from Germany into Russia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, in the USA, Canada and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, these people have become known as Germans from Russia.

The GRHS Essay Contest is open to all students attending public, private, parochial or home schools and to students attending accredited universities as full-time undergraduate students. The subject of the paper must be directly related to German-Russian history heritage or culture and be the contestant’s original work. A contestant does not need to be ethnic German-Russian to enter the contest. Resubmission of previously judged work is not permitted.

For more on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com for a complete list of scholarships that are personalized to you!

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