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TRIO Financial Aid and College Assistance Programs

November 27, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

The government funds a number of financial aid and mentoring programs, and you are probably—no offense—unaware of most. It’s not your fault. Most students are not well-versed in matters of federal aid because they have not been informed about their options.  Aside from the best-known federal grant, the Pell Grant, most students know little about available federal aid.

The TRIO program (no, this is not an acronym) is one of the lesser-known federal financial aid and counseling programs. It was created to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those facing circumstances that hinder their academic pursuits. The TRIO program is made up of six different student programs and a training program for TRIO program staff. It not only addresses financial obstacles caused by affording an undergraduate education but also those caused by affording graduate school.

To be considered disadvantaged, students must have an maximum annual income of $15,315 for a one-person family unit, $20,530 for a two-person family unit, $25,750 for a three-person family unit and $5,220 for each additional person. (The income cutoff is higher in Hawaii and Alaska.)

The student programs offered through TRIO include:

Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program- This program was created to increase the number of underrepresented students who obtain graduate and doctorate degrees.  Eligible students who demonstrate strong academic potential are assisted in their preparation for graduate studies with counselor support, financial aid, research and internship opportunities as well as tutoring programs.

Student Support Services (SSS) Program- The SSS program assists students in meeting their basic college requirements. The goal of the program is to increase student graduation rates and the number of students who continue their education. Eligible students will receive help in securing admission and financial aid to four-year colleges and universities, personal counseling, tutoring assistance, career planning and college scholarship information.

Talent Search- Students eligible for the talent search aid are assisted in completing their high school education and attending a college or university. Eligible disadvantaged students will be offered tutoring, career search aid, college information, counseling and mentoring services.

Upward Bound- The Upward Bound program assists high school students in preparing for college.  It awards aid to financially disadvantaged students, students whose parents did not obtain a bachelor’s education and low-income first-generation veterans pursing a college education. Upward Bound projects include tutoring in math, science, composition, literature and foreign languages. Students are also offering counseling, cultural enrichment programs and work-study programs.

The Upward Bound Math-Science Program- This program was created to improve the math and science skills of students and to encourage them to pursue a degree in the math and sciences. Participating students will receive aid with the help of summer programs, counseling, computer lessons and the opportunity to work with college faculty and graduate students on science research projects.

The Educational Opportunity Centers Program- The Educational Opportunity Centers Program is an assistance service for adults who need help in their pursuit of a postsecondary education. Eligible adults will receive personal counseling, information on college financial aid and tutoring aid.

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Anne Frank Outstanding Youth Scholarship Award

November 26, 2007

by Administrator

If "The Diary of Anne Frank" was not in your grade or high school curriculum, you probably just missed a curriculum change. But don’t worry, even students who haven’t read the book can learn about Anne and apply for this scholarship. In commemoration of the courage and perseverance demonstrated by Anne Frank during WWII, The Anne Frank Center is offering a scholarship to students in need of financial aid for college. The Anne Frank Center is committed to promoting tolerance and education, and their scholarship rewards students who work to dispel discrimination of all sorts. To find additional information about this or other scholarships please visit Scholarships.com and conduct a free scholarship search.

Prize: 1. A $10,000 scholarship to be distributed over a four-year period

Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a high school senior 2. Applicant must have been admitted to a four-year college or university 3. Applicant must be able to attend the June 12, 2008 ceremony at “The Pierre Hotel” in New York City (if they win). If necessary, the Anne Frank Center will provide for travel and overnight stay.

Deadline: January 31, 2008

Required Material: 1. A nomination form from someone who recommends the applicant for the award 2. Two signed and dated letters of recommendation from sponsors 3. A one page personal essay written by the nominee explaining why they deserve the award 4. A completed application form

Additional information about this scholarship, including application forms, can be found by conducting a free scholarship search. Once a student has completed a search, this scholarship will appear in their scholarship list, provided the student is eligible.

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Don't Borrow More Than You Need

November 21, 2007

by Administrator

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.

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House Passes Higher Education Act Renewal

November 20, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

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.

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Sam Walton Community Scholarship

November 19, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

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.

Prize:

1. Each Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club store may award up to two $1,000 scholarships.

Eligibility:

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

Deadline:

January 14, 2008

Required Material:

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.

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Extracurricular Activities Can Translate Into Scholarship Opportunities

November 16, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

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

  • Club advisors can be excellent resources for letters of recommendation.
  • Many academic and non-academic scholarship programs consider involvement in extracurricular activities in the selection process.
  • Many school-based scholarship programs consider extracurricular activities, because schools want to recruit students likely to become active members of the student body.
  • Many scholarship programs reward leadership experience, and holding offices in high school clubs is an excellent way to demonstrate leadership.
  • Some subject-specific scholarships require, or look very favorably upon, related extracurricular activities. (For example, many drama scholarships are limited to individuals who were involved in their high school drama club.)
  • Many scholarship programs require students to write essays demonstrating their interest in a particular field. What better way to demonstrate that you are dedicated to pursuing a career in computer science than to discuss your membership in your high school computer club?

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.

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How an Accredited Online Degree Can Help Your Career

November 14, 2007

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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FAFSA is Key to Applying for Financial Aid

November 13, 2007

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.

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College Costs , FAFSA , Financial Aid



Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship

November 12, 2007

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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Scholarships.com Financial Aid Calculators

November 9, 2007

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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