January 16, 2008
An audit released by the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General on January 9, 2008 points to problems in financial aid disbursements. Based on audit results, over $1.5 billion in financial aid was awarded to students whose FAFSA responses were either questionable or made them ineligible for aid.
Stated problems included Pell grant overpayments, awards exceeding loan eligibility, citizenship questionability, lack of Selective Service registration and awards offered to students with drug convictions.
Over $812 million was said to be disbursed to 86,246 students who had not resolved their citizenship confirmation problems. More than $447 was offered to males not registered with the Selective Service and over $3 million to students convicted for drug-related matters.
Officials from the Federal Student Aid Department responded by stating that the, “Risk suggested by the report is overstated.” They also claimed the audit had not taken into account additional security measures the department used to minimize errors.
January 15, 2008
In the wake of a student loan scandal that has made families weary of financial aid officials, lenders and the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the financial aid industry is eager to demonstrate a willingness for change--especially NASFAA.
The massive financial aid organization representing students and financial aid officials at more than 3,000 schools across the nation has made it clear that they are reevaluating the way their organization is run. Like numerous colleges, NASFAA has adopted a new code of ethics that will govern the way they work with student lenders and students.
In addition to the code, NASFAA has announced the appointment of a new president and CEO to replace Dallas Martin, the president who, after 32 years of work, retired amidst scrutiny of ill relations with lenders. Newly appointed President Dr. Philip R. Day has previously served as the chancellor of City College of San Francisco. He has also been the president of Beach Community College, Cape Cod Community College and Dundalk Community College. In a NASFAA news report, Dr. Day stated that he was, “committed to advancing NASFAA’s mission.”
January 14, 2008
If you’ve ever curled up with a worn copy of The Scarlet Letter or Great Expectations, you can attest to the fact that there is no cheaper, better way to travel. Now, some students will even be paid for their escapades. That's because Signet Classics, one of the publishers responsible for printing these great books, is sponsoring a scholarship competition for students. Those who participate can share their ideas about Robert Louis’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and hopefully, win money for college in the process.
1. Five $1,000 scholarships. 2. Each winner’s school library (or public library) will also win a collection of Signet Classics books worth an estimated $700.
1. Applicant must be a full-time high school junior or high school senior (or be home schooled) in one of the fifty U.S. states 2. Applicant must be a U.S. resident 3. Applicant must be between the ages of 16 and 18.
Entry must be postmarked by April 15, 2008 and received by April 22, 2008.
1. Three copies of a double-spaced essay discussing one of four proposed topics about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The essay should be between two and three pages in length. 2. The applicant’s English teacher (or parent if home schooled) must send the scholarship essay along with a cover letter on school/parent letterhead that includes: date, student contact (name, grade, address, email, and home phone), name of high school, teacher contact (name, email, and phone), school administration officer contact (name, email, and phone), the number of topic selected, and certification that the essay is the student’s original work.
Further details, including information about applying for the award and contacting the scholarship provider, can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once a student has completed the search, this scholarship will appear in their scholarship list, provided the student is eligible.
January 11, 2008
This year has not been a good one for college financial aid officials. The problems began when New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo spearheaded a seemingly endless number of investigations into whether student lenders and financial aid officials had been teaming up at the expense of students. Then there were the stories about study abroad advisors receiving trips by convincing students to travel, and then there were those of athletic departments allowing lenders to use their logos for profit. If the words “financial” and “college” were in the same sentence, the things in between weren’t good.
But a new year has arrived, and with it, hope for a better financial future in higher education-- which is exactly what’s expected. Based on new reports from Illinois State University’s Grapevine Project, state tax appropriations for higher education are expected to rise and give hope to students worried about high costs and low scruples.
North Dakota is expected to experience the greatest percentage change from last year, increasing their yearly state tax appropriations for higher education by 19.1 percent. Next on the list are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arizona, each of which has raised their higher education appropriations by 14 to 15 percent. California, while not promising a particularly large percentage increase, is the one expected to appropriate most, over $11 million. With the exception of Rhode Island (which plans to lower appropriations), every state is creating this year's budgets with higher education in mind.
January 10, 2008
When word spread that Harvard would increase financial aid to both the middle and upper classes, tensions boiled at schools across the country. It was bad enough that Harvard attracted the best and the brightest from every nook and cranny—now they would be inexpensive too. Some guys have all the luck.
To be fair, Duke did beat Harvard in the financial aid race by being the first to announce their plan to pour an extra $13 million into the financial aid program, but their promise was simply not as impressive as the one offered by Harvard. When Duke capped their student loans to prevent debt, Harvard eliminated loans altogether—and replaced them with scholarships.
After Duke announced that parental contributions would no longer be expected from families who made less than $60,000, Harvard (which had already established that policy in 2006), announced that families making between $60,000 and $120,000 would only be required to contribute 0-10 percent of their income. Those making between $120,000 and $180,000 would only have to pay 10 percent of it.
Shortly thereafter, Stanford jumped on the bandwagon by saying that they too would do more to make their school affordable. According to The Stafford Daily, the school made plans to increase their need-based aid by 15.2 percent. The change would save the average parent $2,000 each year.
The trickle down effect also influenced other schools. Among those with New Year’s resolutions involving financial aid boosts are the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts, Haverford and Swarthmore.
Of course, not everyone gets to benefit. It’s easy to be a philanthropist when you have large endowments in the bank, which not all schools can boast. Students at colleges and universities with less money or larger student bodies were not as satisfied with their financial aid offices. According to The Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor would not only leave their policies as they are, they would continue—like many other colleges—to raise their prices. So much for that financial aid revolution we've all been waiting for.
January 9, 2008
Gossiping doesn’t cause that warm, “I’m so sweet” feeling you get by helping someone—except this time. It’s true, by gossiping, you can help yourself and your friends. When you tell your pals about Scholarships.com, you will get the chance to pocket $1,000. When they register, they too will get the chance to win.
It really is that easy. Just refer up to ten friends, and every time one of them registers, your name will be entered in our drawing. You will have until March 3, 2008 to get your entry in and to make your friends register. They will thank you for it.
If you haven’t registered yet, give it a try. The process is both free and easy. Scholarships.com members will have access to a database with information about more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion.
Those who win the giveaway won’t have to stop there, and neither will those who don’t. Many scholarship and grant opportunities are available to students in need of financial aid. Students can find scholarships based on major, age, school … talent, interest, location … job, gender …. Let’s just say that there are many awards to choose from. Check out the official rules for additional information about the Scholarships.com "Tell A Friend" Sweepstakes, and conduct a free college search today.
January 8, 2008
With the Iowa election safely behind us, U.S. citizens will soon come to realize that the rest of the country also gets to vote. Yes, it’s true. Citizens in the other forty-nine states can also voice their opinions on key issues. And if Bill Gates has it his way (and he’s been doing well so far), education will be one of those issues.
By donating $30 million to the bipartisan group Strong American Schools, the billionaire is hoping to make education a central matter in the 2008 election. With Bill’s $30 million and another $30 million to its name, the Strong American Schools “Ed in ‘08” effort is hoping to draw some attention, regardless of victorious party.
"Ed in ’08 " hopes that the future president will work to increase teacher salaries, extend school days (I probably lost some of you there) and decrease dropout rates. In addition to helping primary and secondary school students and educators, "Ed in '08 " will help students complete a college education. A total of $50,000 in college scholarships will be given away by Strong American Schools to help students in need of financial aid.
This is not the first donation Gates has made to educational efforts. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given away more than $3.6 billion in education grants. That doesn't take into account the billions it contributed to global development and health improvement efforts. Bill Gates scholarships have provided students across the nation with the money they needed to receive a postsecondary education.
For additional information about scholarships offered by Bill Gates and other providers, you can conduct a free college scholarship at Scholarships.com.
January 7, 2008
The U.S. public cannot help but worry about the future of our environment. The reduction in available energy resources affects us all—regardless of age. By applying for this scholarship, students have a chance to be a part of the solution and to find money for college. To apply for The Presidential Forum on Renewable Energy Scholarship, students will have to create a plan for renewable energy in the U.S. The plan should consist of four to six points that describe the approach this country should take to reduce its dependence on nonrenewable energy resources. Winning scholarship candidates will present a feasible, creative solution and take into account the challenges that may be encountered along the way.
For more information about this and other college scholarships and grants, you may conduct a free college scholarship search. If you are eligible to receive this scholarship, you will find the application and contact details in the “My Scholarships” section.
Three winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship
1. Applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 24 as of January 1, 2008 2. Applicant must be enrolled full-time or part-time in an undergraduate college program 3. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen
February 1, 2008
1. An essay between four and six pages in length (no more than 2,500 words) 2. Verification of college enrollment and U.S. citizenship.
January 3, 2008
Legislators are often willing to rearrange the budget in favor of students, but the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) may be an exception. President Bush’s plan for improving school standards through regular standardized testing has not received positive feedback from a large portion of teachers across the country. The bill signed into law in 2002 is expiring and will need to be reenacted, or done away with, in the near future.
As far as Minnesota legislators are concerned, the second option is better than the first. Both Republicans and Democrats in the state have been loudly voicing their concerns about the effectiveness of the bill, so much so that they are considering pulling out altogether.
The NCLB mandates that students partake in standardized testing to demonstrate their ability to meet established academic standards, ones that differ from state to state. Teachers whose students don’t meet the grade are held accountable, and schools with poor results may be forced to reassign students to other schools. This is a problem for many educators who feel they can only do so much to whip their students into shape, especially teachers who work in low-income urban areas. The problem has become so great that some schools have been accused of fishing for reasons to expel students whose scores contribute to lowered averages, and in doing so, completely leave students behind.
If it chooses to pull out of the program, Minnesota would be forced to give up some of its funds. According to estimates, Minnesota schools could lose as much as $250 million per year if they choose not to participate. However, legislators claim the state can make up for much of the losses with the money it saves on test preparation. The choice is not an easy one, and more research is needed to clarify the possible repercussions of leaving the program.
Like legislators, Scholarships.com recognizes the influx of passionate responses, both positive and negative, to the No Child Left Behind Act. In an effort to raise awareness and assist students in their search for college scholarships and grants, we have set up the 2008 Scholarships.com Resolve to Evolve $10,000 scholarship. By responding to the question, “Has the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 been successful in fulfilling its purpose,” seven high school seniors will have the chance to win money for college. Another option is to write about the affect rising costs of a postsecondary education have had on students and families and to propose possible solutions for offsetting adverse results. For additional information about this and other scholarships, students can conduct a free college scholarship search.
January 2, 2008
Do you love to skateboard? Even thought you aren’t likely to find a college with an officially sanctioned skateboarding team, your appreciation for skateboarding can help you pay for college. The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship program is open to all graduating US high school seniors who are skateboarders and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher (4.0 scale).
A total of four scholarships are awarded each year, with one valued at $5,000 and the others valued at $1,000 each. The deadline for the 2008/2009 scholarship program is April 20, 2008. Applicants must submit a complete application package by the deadline. Required documentation includes letters of recommendation, an official high school transcript, information about how the applicant has promoted the sport of skateboarding in his or her community, an essay about how skateboarding has had a positive impact on the applicant’s life and other information. Complete application details are available at www.skateboardscholarship.org.
The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship fund was established by a group of mothers of young skateboarders, in memory of Patrick Kerr, an honor student and skateboarding activist from Philadelphia. The board of trustees for the scholarship program includes several professional skateboarders, including Tony Hawk, Jen O’Brien, Ricky Oyola and Mike Vallely.
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