November 21, 2007
Limiting the amount of money you borrow is a basic principle of good money management. College students who are able to finance their education through federal student loans, are fortunate to have access to low interest rate educational funding that puts earning a degree within their reach.
However, just because money is available to borrow does not necessarily mean that you should borrow it. If you are eligible for more student loan money than you really need, you may want to limit the amount you borrow. After all, even though the interest on a federal student loan tends to be lower than on other types of debt, it is still debt.
Additionally, you shouldn’t stop looking for scholarship resources just because you are able to access student loans. If you can get a scholarship to cover some of your expenses, you can reduce the amount of money you need to borrow and will ultimately have to repay. Many scholarship programs are available only to upper division students, so you should definitely keep your eyes open for funding opportunities even after you enroll in college.
November 20, 2007
Last Thursday, the House of Representatives approved a renewed and altered version of the recently expired Higher Education Act. A similar renewal act was passed by the Senate in July, and it was also unanimous. Before the bill is sent to the president, it will have to be reviewed again, and one version must be created. The amended portion, otherwise known as the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, addresses financial aid hardships faced by students attempting to afford a college education. Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney stated that, "Access for all Americans to a college education is a roadmap to a strong middle class."
Based on information provided by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act will:
1. Encourage colleges to lower or maintain costs by making sure that states provide them with sufficient funding. Schools that choose to increase tuition will have to provide reasoning for the change as well as plans to again decrease costs.
2. Lower the chance that lenders and schools will engage in inappropriate relations (such as the use of biased preferred lender lists) by requiring that lenders and schools abide by codes of conduct and by making more loan information available to student borrowers.
3. Simplify the FAFSA application process by creating a more straightforward FAFSA-EZ form for low-income families and by allowing families more time to create plans for tuition saving.
4. Assist students in affording textbooks by providing information about the costs of books in advance.
5. Improve education by creating programs that encourage students to act on their interests in the sciences and by providing financial assistance to graduates who work in the public sector.
6. Help low income, minority and disabled students afford an education by improving the effectiveness of the TRIO grant for low-income students, by helping colleges recruit and retain students with disabilities and by allowing students to receive Pell Grant scholarships aid year round.
7. Increase financial and social support for veterans and military families interested in receiving a postsecondary education.
8. Improve safety by helping colleges create emergency systems and by establishing disaster relief loan programs in case of disaster.
November 19, 2007
You may not know who Sam Walton is, but you have probably heard of his stores, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. There are 4,000 Wal-Mart stores in the US and more than 2,900 abroad. The store has encountered plenty of controversy about employee treatment, but it has decided to give something back. Through the Sam Walton Community Scholarship, students across the nation will be assisted in their search for financial aid. Interested students can not be employees or relatives of store employees, but those who are may be eligible for larger Wal-Mart scholarships. Applicants will be judged on their ACT/SAT scores, community service, leadership, cumulative GPA and financial need. For additional information about this scholarship (including contact information) please conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
1. Each Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club store may award up to two $1,000 scholarships.
1. Applicant must be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S 2. Neither the student nor the parent may be employed by Wal-Mart 3. Applicant must be a high school or home school graduate (or must receive their GED) between August 1, 2007 and July 31, 2008 4. Applicant must meet the minimum 2.5 GPA criteria
January 14, 2008
Requirements outlined in Wal-Mart application
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.
November 16, 2007
Participating in extracurricular activities has many benefits for high school students. Joining high school clubs is a great way to meet people who share your interests and enhance your skills. Active participation in organizations such as your high school drama club, high school science club and high school computer club can also be very beneficial when you are searching for scholarship opportunities to help pay for college.
Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
The advisor for each of the high school clubs in which you hold a membership may be able to help you identify scholarship opportunities based on your extracurricular activities. A scholarship search service that matches students with scholarship programs based on their activities can be an excellent resource for locating hard-to-find scholarships based on extracurricular activity participation.
November 14, 2007
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.
November 13, 2007
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.
November 12, 2007
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.
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!
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
January 11, 2008
November 9, 2007
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.
November 8, 2007
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.
November 7, 2007
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.
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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