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by Emily

Do you have a great sense of humor?  Do you just love writing essays?  Are you "funny, quirky, and creative?" Can you talk about how great you are without coming off as pretentious?  Do you really really deserve a scholarship?  If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then this week's Scholarship of the Week, the Mental Floss $50,000 Tuition Giveaway scholarship essay contest, is for you.

Mental Floss Magazine has teamed up with Borders and Merriam-Webster to offer five $10,000 scholarships to students who will be enrolled full-time in the fall of 2009.  All you have to do to enter (after you check your scholarship search results to see if you qualify, of course) is head on over to the contest website, fill out a short entry form, compose an essay of 750 words or less that explains why you deserve this scholarship more than anyone, and hit submit.  The hardest part will be getting the tone just right, as the scholarship providers want something written in the style of their magazine (luckily, you can find some of their articles online).  It would be a good idea to brush up on your scholarship essay-writing skills before you apply for scholarships like this one.

Prize:

Five $10,000 grand prizes will be awarded.  The first runner-up will receive a free dinner with a co-founder of Mental Floss Magazine or a $250 cash prize, and four other runners-up will receive a subscription to Mental Floss, a Mental Floss t-shirt, and a Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Eligibility:

To be eligible to win, students must be attending college full-time at a two-year or four-year college or university in the U.S. or Canada in 2009.  Entrants also must be legal residents of the United States or Canada (with the exception of Puerto Rico and Quebec) and must be 18 or older before August 15, 2009.

Deadline:

January 31, 2009

Required Materials:

Completed online scholarship application and an essay of 750 words or less explaining why you should win this scholarship.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.


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by Emily

While the U.S. Presidential debates have wrapped up for 2008, voters interested in hearing more about each candidate's plans for education policy have an opportunity to watch a debate between the candidates' educational advisors on Tuesday.  The debate will take place at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City and will be webcast live by Education Week

Due to the worsening economic situation in the United States, more and more families are having trouble finding money for college.  Lenders leaving the Federal Family Education Loan Program and discontinuing private student loans have required some families to look elsewhere for financial aid, while lost income and tougher credit requirements have made it harder for other families to come up with the funds required to pay for school.  While industrious students certainly can find college scholarships and grants, many voters would like to see schools and the federal government find ways to increase these sources of funding.  Simplifying the financial aid application process and curbing the rising cost of tuition are other issues many would like to see the next administration tackle. 

The quality of public education at the K-12 level also remains a concern for many voters.  With more and more families viewing a college education as essential, adequate college preparation has become increasingly important.  Yet many students require remedial education upon entering college, minorities are still are less likely to go to or finish college, and many voters are disenchanted with standardized testing and No Child Left Behind

This debate will likely provide voters with more complete information on each campaign's education plans.  If education policy is a major issue for you this election, consider tuning in to the webcast at 7 PM on Tuesday, October 21.


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by Emily

Despite the relatively small amount of time spent on issues of higher education in the presidential debates, a survey by the National Education Association shows that many voters, especially college students and their parents, consider college costs to be one of the main issues in the upcoming presidential election.

Thirty-four percent of college students and parents of college students polled consider college affordability the single most important issue of the 2008 election.  70 percent of parents and 65 percent of students said that it was important that the next president making it easier for families to pay for school.  Additionally, the vast majority of those surveyed said that a college education is fast becoming a necessity, yet also espoused a belief that attending college is more of a financial burden now than it was 10 years ago.

Each candidate addressed educational policy directly in last night's debate, after touching on parts of their plans briefly in previous debates.  Senator McCain's proposal for college affordability centers around shoring up the federal student loan system and making it easier for students to borrow what they need from the government, especially through the FFEL program. He also put an emphasis on expanding the role of community colleges in training displaced workers.  Senator Obama, on the other hand, favors a $4,000 higher education tax credit for families to help with tuition costs, as well as efforts to improve college access and reduce students' student loan burdens, stressing the fact that many students alter their career goals due to debt.


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by Emily

Texas A&M, Boston University, and Vanderbilt University have all recently announced expanded financial aid programs to help lower-and-middle-class students deal with the rising cost of college education and the tough economic situation the country currently faces. 

This news comes as many other colleges are announcing budget cuts and tuition hikes in order to break even in the face of declining state funding. Proposed cuts to higher education funding currently range from a one percent cut in Maryland to a reduction of funding by more than 14 percent in Nevada, according to a recent write-up in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Despite financial concerns, though, more and more schools are digging into their pockets to find additional scholarship and grant money for their students.  Texas A&M will provide free tuition to all freshmen with a family income below $60,000 and a GPA above 2.5.  Boston University plans to meet all financial need for every Boston public school graduate admitted to the university.  Vanderbilt will replace all need-based student loans with grants for its students starting next fall, though it still needs to raise an additional $100 million to fully fund the program.

U.S. News and World Report provides more information on these new financial aid programs.  You can find out more about these and other generous institutions by conducting a college search on Scholarships.com.


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by Emily

I remember sitting around in an English class one day, waiting for the professor to arrive, when one of my classmates mentioned the GRE (graduate record examination) test that we’d all recently taken to apply to graduate programs. She had been worried she wouldn’t even be able to get into English grad programs because of her abysmal standardized math test performance. Everyone chimed in with their GRE scores and application process anecdotes and I spoke up with, “I was surprised that I actually scored higher on the math than the verbal!” It was akin to announcing that I tortured small animals. The air went out of the room and I think some girls actually edged away from me.

 

This social stigma about math certainly doesn’t start with graduate students in English departments. Most students who excel at math, especially girls, have certainly felt it at one point or another. So while some previous research has suggested that girls just aren’t as good as boys at math, a new study published Friday in Notices of the American Mathematical Society suggests something different. Combining two of the facts of life of high school—popularity is important to many girls and math just isn’t cool—the study proposes that girls don’t do as well at math in middle school and high school and don’t pursue math-heavy degrees as undergraduate students because of social pressure.

 

This conclusion comes from looking at the cultural backgrounds of some of the highest-performing college and high school students who participate in math competitions. Most of these students, especially the girls, came from cultures where math is prized as an important and useful skill and a source of prestige. These students or their parents tended to be from Asian or Eastern European countries, either sparing them from or giving them a social counterpoint to American beliefs about math. These countries produce a higher proportion of mathematically gifted women, as well as higher numbers of math superstars overall, suggesting that it’s not that girls aren’t good at math, but that girls in the U.S. are socialized to not make math a priority.

 

So, if you’re a high school math nerd, hang in there. At least one research team believes that you are good at math and you’re not a weirdo for being good at math. If you can stick with math into college, you’ll likely encounter a different attitude. And if the article in Friday’s New York Times is any indication, top colleges want mathematically-inclined students. They might even pony up some scholarship money to woo you.


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by Emily

Outstanding students attending college at a Datatel client college or university are eligible for this week's Scholarship of the Week.  The Datatel Scholars Foundation offers three scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students and graduate students currently enrolled at least half-time at an institution serviced by Datatel (a list of eligible schools is available on the Datatel Scholars Foundation website).  The foundation offers a general award worth up to $2,400, an award for veterans worth $1,700, and a $2,000 award for returning students who have not been enrolled in college for five years or more.

Applicants for all three awards need to submit an online application, an 800-1000 word scholarship essay, information about civic involvement, and two letters of recommendation.  Students apply online, then have their applications reviewed by the Datatel scholarship committee at their institution.  Schools nominate up to five students whose applications are then judged at the national level.

Prize:

Datatel Scholars Foundation Scholarship: $1000-2400 depending on the cost of tuition at your institution.

Datatel Angelfire Scholarship: $1700

Datatel Russ Griffith Memorial Scholarship: $2000

Eligibility:

Datatel Foundation Scholarship: any undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled at least half-time at a Datatel client college.

Datatel Angelfire Scholarship: students attending a Datatel client college who have served in the military in a combat situation.

Datatel Russ Griffith Memorial Scholarship: students attending a Datatel client college who are returning to college after an absence of five years or more.

Deadline:

January 30, 2009

Required Materials:

Completed scholarship application, available on the Datatel Scholars website, two letters of recommendation submitted online, an essay of 800-1000 words responding to the appropriate prompt for the scholarship for which you're applying, and information about your civic involvement.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.


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by Emily

American higher education has just experienced something it hasn't seen since before World War II: a break in the constant increase of degree completion, including a decline in the percentage of minority students attaining a degree.  This has some higher education officials worried that colleges are not doing an adequate job of recruiting and retaining members of disadvantaged groups.

Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 are only slightly more likely to have attained an associate's degree or higher than Americans ages 30 and up, according to the report released today  by the American Council on Education.  The report, which is already receiving a fair amount of press coverage, including a thorough piece in Inside Higher Ed today, shows that overall degree attainment has held almost steady, with 34.9 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 holding degrees, compared to 34.3 percent of those over 30.

While more white and Asian American students have received an associate's degree or higher among the current generation, degree attainment has actually fallen for African American, Hispanic, and American Indian students.  Asian Americans continue to have the highest rate of degree attainment at 66.2 percent (up from 54.1 percent), while only 16 percent of Latinos in the younger age group have completed a degree (down from 17.8 percent of those 30 and over).  However, the current generation of black and Latino women have outperformed previous generations, which is part of an overall trend of women being more likely than men to attend college and complete a degree.

The report also shows that total enrollment of minorities in college has increased by 50 percent over the last ten years, with white enrollment increasing by 8 percent.  Like degree attainment, enrollment gains have been uneven, with 61 percent of Asian Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 enrolled in college, compared to 44 percent of whites, 32 percent of African Americans, and 25 percent of Hispanics and American Indians.

Posted Under:

College Culture , College News


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by Emily

While a report released Tuesday by the Department of Education shows relatively low rates of tuition increase over the last two years, other data and expert opinions suggest that the same will not hold true next year.  Between the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 academic years, tuition at four-year public and private colleges for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students showed increases of 3.4 to 6.7 percent, adjusted for inflation. 

Out-of-state tuition at public state universities stayed relatively low, increasing 3.4 percent to $13,630.  In-state tuition at public universities went up 5.3 percent over two years to $5,749.  Non-profit private universities saw a 6.7 percent tuition increase, bringing the total amount of tuition and fees to $19,337, while for-profit private universities increased tuition 5.2 percent to $14,782.

However, the economic downturn of 2008 is likely to spur much larger tuition increases as states lose tax revenue.  A report from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government warns that state tax collections may fall sharply this year, with revenues from sales taxes, corporate income taxes, and fuel taxes already falling in the second quarter of 2008.  Some states are already cutting budgets to deal with potential revenue shortfalls and increasing inflation, and the trend is likely to spread. 

This could hurt higher education funding and force universities to increase tuition, especially since they also must contend with inflation, with providing financial aid to students in tougher financial situations, and with other potential drops in funding caused by the credit crunch.  Announcements of tuition increases likely won't happen for months, but for high school seniors and other students in the process of choosing a college, potential tuition hikes are definitely something to keep in mind during the college application process.

Posted Under:

College Costs , College News


Comments

by Emily

Many community college students who appear to be eligible for federal student financial aid don't apply, according to a report released Monday by the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

The report indicated three major reasons for not applying for aid, with 20 percent of students reporting other reasons.  The main reasons students didn't apply for aid were:

  • They thought they were not eligible (39 percent)

  • They had sufficient funds to pay for college expenses (35 percent)

  • They found the FAFSA too complicated (6 percent)


Additionally, many community college students, including 28 percent of students with family incomes below $10,000 worked more than 30 hours a week.  The report cites previous research that has indicated that students who work more than 15-20 hours a week while attending college full-time see a negative impact on their academic performance.  This stresses the importance of these students learning of their financial aid eligibility, namely their increased Federal Pell Grant eligibility under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.

This is just the latest report stressing the need for students attending community colleges, especially those planning to transfer to four-year schools to complete a bachelor's degree, to investigate financial aid options thoroughly.  With lower rates of degree completion, higher rates of student loan defaults, and lower likelihood of applying for college scholarships and grants, community college students can easily find themselves in an unnecessarily difficult financial situation.

Hard work, perseverence, and a commitment to exploring all options for financial aid can keep community college students on the path to success.  If you're attending or planning to attend a community college, start by completing the FAFSA on the web, conducting a scholarship search, and meeting with a financial aid advisor to minimize student loans, avoid working yourself to death, and find money for college.

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by Emily

As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarship awards for high school students and undergraduate students. The Scholarships.com Area of Study College Scholarship competition consists of thirteen $1,000 prizes to be granted to students pursuing a college education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors.

Among them is the Scholarships.com College Health Scholarship, an award for students who are pursuing or planning to pursue a degree in a health-related field. To ensure that current and future medical students, nursing students, and others planning to use their education to promote health and wellness receive the funds they need to afford a quality education, we have created a scholarship opportunity especially for them.

If you’re interested in applying for the Scholarships.com College Health Scholarship, read the scholarship information below or check your scholarship search results to see if your major qualifies. Then complete the online scholarship application and submit an essay of 250 to 350 words in response to the following question (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified):

“What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in health care/medicine?”

Prize:

$1,000

Eligibility: 
     
  1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge.  After you have created an account, conduct a free scholarship search to view and apply for this award.
  2.  
  3. Applicant must be a US citizen.
  4.  
  5. Applicant must be a current undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university by fall 2009.
  6.  
  7. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors:  
       
    • Allopathic
    •  
    • Ambulatory Health Care
    •  
    • Audiology
    •  
    • Biology
    •  
    • Biomedicine
    •  
    • Chemistry
    •  
    • Chiropractic
    •  
    • Dental Assistant
    •  
    • Dentistry
    •  
    • Family Practice
    •  
    • Forensics(Medical)
    •  
    • Genetics
    •  
    • Health Care Administration
    •  
    • Health Education
    •  
    • Internal Medicine
    •  
    • Maxillofacial Radiology
    •  
    • Medical Assistant
    •  
    • Medical Lab Technician
    •  
    • Medical Office Specialist
    •  
    • Medical Technologist
    •  
    • Medicine
    •  
    • Microbiology
    •  
    • Neural and Behavioral Science
    •  
    • Neurosciences
    •  
    • Nursing/Nurse Practitioner
    •  
    • Nutrition Studies
    •  
    • Obstetrics/Gynecology
    •  
    • Occupational Therapy
    •  
    • Oncology
    •  
    • Ophthalmology
    •  
    • Optics
    •  
    • Optometry
    •  
    • Oral Radiology
    •  
    • Orthopedics
    •  
    • Orthotics/Prosthetics
    •  
    • Osteopathic
    •  
    • Pediatrics
    •  
    • Pharmacology
    •  
    • Pharmacy Technician
    •  
    • Physical Fitness
    •  
    • Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation
    •  
    • Physician’s Assistant
    •  
    • Podiatry
    •  
    • Psychiatry
    •  
    • Psychology/Counseling
    •  
    • Public Health
    •  
    • Radiology
    •  
    • Respiratory Care
    •  
    • Science (Health)
    •  
    • Speech/Language Pathology
    •  
    • Sports Medicine
    •  
    • Therapeutic Health Technician
    •  
    • Veterinary
    •  
    • Vision Rehabilitation
    •  
      

  8.  
 Deadline:

November 30, 2008

Required Material:

A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in health care/medicine?”

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.

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