June 11, 2008
Affording a college education is becoming increasingly difficult, but help is available. Students who demonstrate financial need can look to numerous sources for assistance in paying for tuition and living expenses. Even those who do not demonstrate exceptional merit can qualify. Below is a list of financial aid resources students may be eligible to receive based on financial need. Additional need-based awards may be found by conducting a free college scholarship search.
Federal Grants The Federal Student Aid office oversees programs that comprise the nation’s largest source of student aid. Each year, billions in aid are awarded to college students across the country. The best of these, federal grants, do not have to be repaid. Students can look to federally-run need-based grants such as the Pell and the FSEOG to help pay for college expenses. Grants that are based on both merit and financial need—the SMART and the Academic Competitiveness Grant—are also a good option.
Federal LoansThough less attractive than grants, federal loans tend to have lower interest rates and better, more flexible, repayment options than private loans. This holds particularly true for need-based subsidized Stafford Loans and need-based Perkins Loans. Students interested in taking out a federal loan will first have to submit a FAFSA.
Sallie Mae Scholarships The Sallie Mae Fund is one of the largest sources of non-federal college aid. All awards offered by the organization have a need-based component. Since 2001, the Sallie Mae Fund has given away $12.7 million in scholarships to more than 5,000 college students.
College Scholarships Students may be eligible for need-based aid offered by their college or university. Elite colleges such as Harvard, Northwestern and Stanford have been particularly gracious with their awards—Harvard students whose parents make less than $60,00 do not have to pay for tuition, room and board or expenses—but others are following in their footsteps.
June 10, 2008
Who wants to waste their senior year analyzing the deeper message behind The Scarlet Letter, differentiating between cations and anions (cations are “paw”sitive), or charting calculus equations? Obviously, few of us want to make high school more difficult than it already is. That being said, the advantages of enrolling oneself—when possible—in challenging Advanced Placement (AP) courses can extend beyond the twelfth grade. Below are just a few reasons why you should consider college-level classes.
Sooner of later, you will have to take them. Unpleasant core subject requirements won’t go away when you get to college. Sure, more classes will be relevant to your major, but some headaches will still exist. Instead of taking the standard versions now and the advanced versions later, knock out two birds with one stone.
Save money. On average, college prices are rising at rates that outpace inflation. If you want to save money, don’t stay in school longer than you have to. Within reason, challenge yourself by completing extra credits, and finish school on time.
Make your college years a bit easier. Many students are taken aback by the increased expectations of college instructors. According to the St. Petersburg Times, about a quarter of first-year college students do not return the following year. By taking AP classes, students can become acquainted with the increasingly difficult college curriculum and nip workload problems before they arise.
Impress College Admissions Officials. Most of us are aware of the advantages, both social and financial, of college graduates. But before you reach for that diploma, you must first be accepted. Advanced Placement classes will show admissions officials that you are taking initiative and working hard. In other words, you are the kind of candidates who deserves the chance (and possibly the scholarship) needed to attend their school.
June 9, 2008
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May 30, 2008
Summer and school didn’t couple well in middle school, but now, well, they may not be the worst choice. With the exception of some lucky individuals, most college students spend at least a part of their summer working. Adding a class or two to one’s schedule won’t ruin what wasn’t paradise in the first place. While summer classes do require additional work, they are a sensible option for many. Here are some reasons why off-season classes may be worth the effort:
May 29, 2008
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a form of federal student aid that does not need to be repaid. It is awarded to students by colleges and universities, and a mixture of federal and school funds is used to pay for the program. As FSEOG awards are based on financial need, students interested in obtaining this form of financial aid will have to complete a FAFSA and have their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated. A standard federal formula will be used to determine a student’s financial need, but schools will have a large degree of leverage over how much each student will receive.
To obtain the FSEOG, a student must attend one of the approximately 4,000 colleges and universities that participate in the federal program. Schools that take part in the FSEOG program receive grant money from the government but must still contribute 25 percent of the funds.
Individual colleges and universities determine how much grant money each student will receives based on fund availability, the time a student submits their FAFSA (earlier is better) and the student’s level of need. The yearly awards may vary from $100 to $4,000 per year, and those who were eligible for Pell Grants will be considered first.
If a student is awarded an FSEOG, the school may pay them directly, credit their school account or both. Depending on the school’s term system, students may be paid each semester, trimester or quarter. Regardless of the institutions set course timeline, the money must be paid in at least two installments.
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