December 21, 2007
Wind, rain or shine, college tuition bills always safely make it to your mailbox, or the inbox. Even if you’re struggling financially, there’s no need to give up. Whether you’re having trouble keeping your spending in check or are hindered by college bills, things can be better. The new year is coming up, and you deserve a new chance, a minty fresh start. Students looking for a way to save should follow this advice to get things right in '08.
1. Look for scholarships. Applying for scholarships is a great way to save for college. It doesn’t cost to apply—don’t listen to anyone who suggests you should pay—and the rewards tend to be large. Try conducting a free scholarship search to find scholarships and grants you may be eligible to receive.
2. Avoid magazines and websites with appealing products. Oftentimes students will be unaware they’re in need of something until they see it in a magazine. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Marketers have a way of making whatever it is that catches your eye look more amazing and necessary than it really is. The best way to avoid their evil traps is to stay out of their way.
3. Skip the details at restaurants. I can’t tell you to skip the restaurant thing. Going out for dinner is just part of the student culture, and if you can’t eliminate it, be smart about it. If you skip the appetizers, lose the dessert and trade in water for a soft drink, you can cut your bill in half. Those that go out to eat for the company more than the food can also go straight for the appetizer and stop there. They tend to be oversized anyway.
4. Watch your phone plans. For some reason, students always seem shocked when an insane phone bill comes in the mail. If you know you’re a chatterbox, you should plan accordingly. Get the same plan as the people you chat with most, start a family plan and watch the texting.
December 19, 2007
The whole “college graduates earn $1 million more than non graduates over their lifetime” stat is getting a bit trite. I’ll give you a few more if you’re not convinced that college is a worthwhile investment.
College graduates enjoy greater career security
College graduates can offer their children a more secure financial future
College graduates are healthier
College graduates are more likely to contribute to society
Anyway, you get the picture. The problem isn’t that the whole “follow your dreams” thing makes no sense. The problem is affording those dreams and affording the time and preparation it takes to follow them. Most of us don’t make enough money to loll around devoting our days to perfecting our sculpting skills and sharpening our 3 point shots. Even those with less risky dreams can’t always afford to test the waters, especially if the schooling required to get those jobs is too expensive and time consuming. That’s why so many students find themselves having to compromise their initial career goals after realizing their dream jobs won’t allow them to pay off student loans. Let’s just say that the need for qualified teachers isn’t caused by a disinterested public.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to be gloomy. I swear there’s a silver lining. Financial aid in the form of government grants and outside scholarships is readily available to students in difficult situations. Without a cloud of college debt hanging over your head, “The Road Not Taken” may suddenly become an option. The financial aid information found at Scholarships.com will help you familiarize yourself with the FAFSA, government grants, corporate scholarships, private scholarships, the ins and outs of student loans and myriad other financial aid opportunities. Whether you’re interested in preliminary information or ready to get down to business by finding scholarships, we can help you do it.
If you’re not convinced, you can take a tour of our site. Visit our homepage, and take a sort of “Tour de Scholarships.com” if you will. We can help you see how conducting a free college scholarship search will help you find scholarships and grants that, based on the information you provide, you're eligible to receive. Find New York scholarships, scholarships for graduate students, scholarships for minorities, poetry scholarships, music scholarships—you name it, we’ve got it. With information about more than 2.7 million scholarships and grants, Scholarships.com offers more than you’ll know what to do with. If you’re not convinced yet, just take the tour. Like the search, it’s free. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a world of financial aid opportunities to gain.
December 18, 2007
December 17, 2007
The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), an association representing U.S. Foreign Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service and the International Broadcasting Bureau employees, is awarding a scholarship to students who are willing to do some thinking. This annual contest is a bit more advanced than your typical “Why was George Washington a great leader” essay, and it will probably take some research. Not everyone will be up for that, all the better for those who are. The topic for this year’s competition is “The challenges facing the American Foreign Service in the 21st Century,” and, based on the award description, Condoleezza Rice wants to know what you think. Before answering, you may want to read up on the Foreign Service, a group of employees who work at U.S. embassies around the world. Once you’ve done that, let Condoleezza know what it is that you think. For further information about the registration form (there is no application form), please conduct a free scholarship search.
1. A $2,500 college scholarship for the winner and a $500 award for the winner's school 2. A paid trip to Washington D.C. for the winner and his/her parents
1. Applicant must be a student in grades 9 through 12 attending a public, private, parochial or home school OR must participate in a high school correspondence program in the U.S., its territories or overseas as a U.S. citizen. 2. Students whose parents belong to the U.S. Service or who have served on the Advisory Committee are not eligible for the award.
April 15, 2008
1. A completed student registration form signed by the student and their teacher. 2. Four copies of an essay on the topic, including four copies of sources used. The essay must be double-spaced, written in 12 point Times New Roman font, have one-inch margins.
Further details, including information about applying, can be found by conducting a free scholarship search. Once a student has completed the search, this scholarship will appear in their scholarship list, provided the student is eligible to apply.
December 14, 2007
In a move that’s both impressive and grossly irritating to poor students across the nation, Harvard University announced on Tuesday its intent to improve the financial aid packages of well-off students. Of course that’s not how they announced it. According to the Harvard Crimson (the university newspaper), the Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons proudly declared that the aid would allow students to pursue careers in public service without fear of outstanding debt--as if that's the ultimate goal of most Harvard graduates.
In 2006, Harvard eliminated contribution requirements for students whose families made less than $60,000 per year. It has taken things one step further this year by increasing the amount of financial aid offered to students whose household income was greater than that. Mr. Fitzsimmons stated that families making between $60,000 and $200,000 were in a state of “crisis” when it came to finding money for college.
Hmmm…Crisis eh? That’s quite a hyperbole, especially when one considers the rising number of students who leave school with debt that exceeds $100,000. I somehow don’t feel bad for people making $200,000 each year, and I definitely don’t subscribe to the fact that they are going through a crisis. According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau, the median (not average) income in the U.S. is $48,201 and only 19 percent of households make over $100,000. Double that and the word crisis does not apply.
Under Harvard's new plan, families with incomes between $60,000 and $120,000 per year will soon be expected to pay 0-10 percent of their income for an education. Those making between $120,000 and $180,000 will be expected to pay 10 percent of that amount. To put things in perspective, the sticker price for the Harvard package is $45,620, and a family making $180,000 will pay 39 percent of that.
After reading the article, Harvard graduate Andrew Kalloch offered his thoughts on the news in a letter to the editors, “I wear old T-shirts, and they suit me just fine. Others wear designer clothing and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is asking alumni to contribute to the embarrassment of riches already bestowed upon the American upper class.”
I'm not saying we should begrudge any students their financial aid, popped collars or not. After all, low or nonexistent tuition would be a deserved dream come true for most hard working students. It's just a bit disconcerting that myriad students with incomes far below those acknowledged by Harvard are burdened by student loans, and no one is giving them a reasonable piece of the pie.
December 13, 2007
Hey high school seniors (and superstar juniors), how would you like to have your school pay for your AP exams? I’m assuming there are no jeers in the crowd, at least not from students who know that College Board, the administrator of AP tests, charges students $84 for each exam.
Students lucky enough to belong to the numerous high schools in major North Virginia districts no longer have to worry about these rates. Since 1998, numerous counties in the state have been adopting the idea of helping students get an inexpensive head start on a college education. By paying for the students’ tests, these schools have been able to save students hundreds.
Those who take an AP class don’t always stop with one. Many students are taking on increasingly large loads, enrolling in two, three, four, even five college-level classes per year. There are students who begin earlier than that, building up their resume during their junior year. The money they dish out for these tests adds up. Some students take advantage of the discount prices offered to low-income students, but most can't count on them.
Many North Virginia schools take care of this problem by entirely covering the cost of the exam. The testing fee policies do vary by school, and not all students can expect the same assistance. In return for the coverage, some schools require that all students take the exams. Others do not. Some cover the whole cost, and others only pay a portion of the fee. Regardless, these schools deserve props for helping students meet their financial needs. It would be nice if the word spread to other states.
December 12, 2007
Yesterday New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced his settlement with student loan consolidation company Student Financial Services Inc. (SFS) over offers of kickbacks to athletic departments. The lender had given money to school athletic departments in exchange for the right to use their official symbols on forms and advertisements. The school contracts allowed for the use of school and team names, colors, mascots and logos, thereby creating the impression that SFS was the official lender of the school. According to the settlement, SFS agreed to break ties with these colleges and universities, most of which were Division 1 NCAA schools.
“Student loan companies incorporate school insignia and colors into advertisements because they know students are more likely to trust a lender if its loan appears to be approved by their college,” stated Cuomo. “We cannot allow lenders to exploit this trust with deceptive, co-branded marketing.”
Under the new code, SFS agreed to end its loan-related contracts with 63 schools, including Georgetown University, Florida State University and the University of Kansas, as well as with five sports marketers, including ESPN Regional Television, Inc. The lender also agreed to tout the importance of informed loan decision making by organizing campaigns to be featured in the schools’ leading newspapers. The lender would no longer be able to pay for student referrals nor could it organize contests with financial prizes for students.
Cuomo’s settlement is part of an ongoing investigation aimed at ridding financial aid offices of illegal and immoral lender marketing tactics. So far, the attorney general has settled with twelve student lenders for such relations and collected $13.7 million in lender money to go to the National Education Fund, a fund dedicated to educating students about their financial aid options.
December 11, 2007
Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe Company, inventor of the factory outlet store and longtime philanthropist has arranged for every child born in central Maine to have a college savings account established in their name upon birth. Eventually, this program will include all children born anywhere in the state.
Alfond died last month at age 93 and, over the course of his life, had donated over $100 million dollars to hospitals, colleges and numerous other charitable causes in Maine. This latest philanthropic act, presumably the last in a long line of generous efforts, will begin with a pilot program on January 1, 2008 at Maine General Health hospitals. Every newborn at the Augusta and Waterville Maine General hospitals will have an account set up in their name with a beginning balance of $500 and it will spread statewide the following year, possibly sooner if it does well. Under the program, each newborn's $500 will be invested in a college tuition account through Maine's NextGen program.
Mr. Alfond, who's wife died in 2005, is survived by a brother, a sister, a daughter, three sons, 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
December 10, 2007
Each year, Scholarships.com offers seven students a total of $10,000 to be applied toward their education. The scholarship essay topics are meant to evoke thought and to challenge participants to proactively respond to controversial issues. Students applying for this year’s award will be able to choose between writing about the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act and about the rising cost of higher education. Students may write about either topic, provided their ideas are original. Scholarships.com looks for essays that demonstrate critical thought and highlight the student's ability to analyze and find solutions to potential problems. A winning essay will be worth up to $3,000 and will be forwarded to the appropriate public official in the hope that Scholarships.com can be part of the solution. Award winners will be notified by May 30, 2008 and announced on June 30, 2008. Their essays will be made available to the public on the Scholarships.com Winners page soon thereafter.
For more information about this and other scholarship opportunities (including contact and application details) you can conduct a free scholarship search.
1. One $3,000 grand prize 2. One $2,000 prize 3. Five $1,000 prizes
1. Applicants must be U.S. citizens 2. Applicants must be high school seniors during the time of submission 3. Applicants must be 18 years of age by the time the prize is awarded on July 31, 2008 4. Applicants must plant to attend a U.S. Department of Education accredited 2 or 4 year college, university or trade school in the fall semester following their entry. 5. Only one entry per person
March 31, 2008
1. An essay of no more than 1,000 words answering one of the following questions:
A. Has the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 been successful in fulfilling its purpose? Why or why not? B. How has the rising cost of a college education affected students and families? What can the government do to offset any adverse effects or related financial pressures?
2. A short, informal response that demonstrates why attending college is important to the applicant as well as an outline of the applicant’s academic and career goals. The response should include an answer to the following question:
What do you feel will be your biggest obstacle in attending college, and, if able to attend, how do you think your degree will help you achieve your goals?
3. A letter of reference that addresses applicant potential and provides support for receipt of scholarship assistance. The letter should be from an adult who knows the student well enough to speak authoritatively about their character and abilities e.g., teacher, counselor or other school faculty. If none of the aforementioned is able to assist the applicant, a parent or other adult relative will suffice.
Further details, including information about applying, can be found by conducting a free scholarship search. Once a student has completed the search, this scholarship will appear in their scholarship list, provided the student is eligible.
December 7, 2007
The QuestBridge organization has been turning heads lately for its ability to match talented, underprivileged students with excellent schools across the country. It's something of a dating service for students and colleges. QuestBridge has sought after and found numerous exceptional high school students and paired them with some of the nation’s most prestigious, and expensive, colleges and universities. By participating, schools can diversify their campus, and eventually, the demographic of the nation's leading scholars. QuestBridge makes finding gifted and oftentimes overlooked teens look easy.
High school seniors who are nominated, or who nominate themselves, fill out one application that can then be sent to all participating schools. Their fee is waived, and an essay about the student's ability to overcome obstacles is also included. When selecting finalists, QuestBridge considers academics, finances, eligibility requirements and personal circumstances.
From there, applications are sent to schools which make the final decision. Accepted students are offered full four-year scholarships to attend one of the twenty participating colleges and universities. Among these are Notre Dame University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago and Amherst College. There were 103 QuestBridge students who received scholarships to leading schools last year, and the number is expected to increase this year.
Students who may not have otherwise considered expensive schools suddenly find opportunity within reach. A featured QuestBridge student who won a scholarship to Stanford stated, “I didn’t feel like I could get in to a top college. I filled out my application and lost my nerve to hit the ‘submit’ button. I will never forget receiving a call at my home from a Quest counselor, encouraging me to go ahead and apply.”
For more information about the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship, you can conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
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