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Suburban High School Graduation Rates Low, Urban Ones Lower

Apr 2, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

If you’re a suburbanite used to friends graduating left and right, you’re in the minority. A report released today by America’s Promise Alliance has shown that graduation rates for high school students residing in the suburbs are concerning—until one looks at those of urban students.

According to the findings, only 52 percent of  students attending principal high schools in the 50 largest cities receive their diploma before leaving. At 70 percent, the nation’s overall graduation rate is much higher but still in need of improvement.

The largest discrepancy between urban and suburban districts was found in Baltimore, Maryland and Columbus, Ohio. Of the students residing in the suburbs of Baltimore, 81.5 percent were able to graduate. Only 34.6 percent of those living in urban districts of the city were able to do the same. The respective graduation percentages for students living in Columbus were 82.9 and 40.9. As one might expect, New York City was not far behind, ranking fourth on the list of cities with the largest gaps in urban and suburban graduation rates.

The results were based on school data retrieved from the 2003-2004 school year leading some to wonder whether the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was in part to blame. Many educators feel that the main goals of the NCLB Act---to minimize student achievement gaps and increase overall scholastic performance--- have not been fulfilled. Both the effectiveness and the steps taken to achieve NCLB  aims have been subject to much criticism in past years.

During this year's Scholarships.com scholarship competition, high school seniors from around the country wrote to Scholarships.com to voice their opinions on the NCLB. In doing so, these students were given the opportunity to win $10,000 in scholarship money. 

Check back in a few weeks to read the essays of this year's Resolve to Evolve Scholarship winners. If you missed the deadline, don't despair. You may still be eligible for next year's scholarships. For information about currently available awards, try conducting a free college scholarship search.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Common Scholarship Myths

Apr 1, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Numerous students find themselves doubting whether applying for scholarships is really worth their time.  They assume that competition is tough and that most applicants have an exceptional academic record—not true. It’s in a student’s best interest to maximize his/her financial aid potential by giving scholarships a shot. Check out some common scholarship misconceptions below before passing up valuable options.   1. All scholarship contests are competitive—There is no denying that a few national scholarship competitions can be difficult to win. Certain corporations go out of their way to advertise their philanthropic actions, and they create very minimal eligibility criteria to encourage students to apply. However, millions of scholarships are available, and most are neither well-advertised nor open to every student.

Try searching for awards you are eligible to receive based on strict criteria. If you’re a Chicagoan and you find an award available only to high school seniors residing in Illinois, go for it. Remember, the competitors are just as intimidated by you as you are by them. Don’t give up before you start.   2. Applying for scholarships will reduce federal student aid eligibility— A number of students worry about federal aid reductions resulting from scholarship winnings. Let’s set the record straight. According to Federal Student Aid representatives, Pell Grant awards will not be reduced because of scholarships. It is, however, possible for schools to limit certain loan eligibility or to reduce school scholarship offers. But unless you’re expecting a full ride from Harvard, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you are, the effects will be minimal, if any.   3. It’s easier to work for the money—Yes, you are pretty much guaranteed a paycheck when you work, but working is not the easiest way to find money for college. Student jobs are a great source of supplementary income, but, realistically, a student paycheck is unlikely to cover tuition. Plus, scholarships and jobs are not mutually exclusive. If you have the chance to win $3,000 by spending three or four hours typing away, take advantage of it. You may have to work an entire summer for that money. Even if you don’t win, the few hours won’t destroy your social life.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Joe Foss Institute Memorial Day Scholarship

Mar 31, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The Joes Foss Institute, an organization dedicated to restoring patriotism, integrity and the appreciation of America’s freedoms, will be awarding $5,000 to the winner of their 2008 Memorial Day scholarship. The topic for this year’s competition will be Patrick Henry’s famous: “Give me liberty or give me death,” speech.

If you slept through the Revolutionary War chapter in history, don't worry.  Information about Patrick Henry’s spirited contributions to civilian freedoms has been transcribed in numerous books, newspapers and online articles.  A little research will go a long way.  The student whose essay scholarship application best demonstrates how Patrick Henry’s quote and accomplishments have affected today's society will win a college scholarship and a cash prize for his/her educator.

 

Prize:

1. $5,000 2. $250 for the winning applicant’s class 3. $500 for the winning applicant’s school.

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be middle or high school (grades 7-12) students studying in the US. 2. Applicants must not have received a past scholarship from the institute.

Deadline:

May 31, 2008 (postmarked or electronically received by this date)

Required Material:

1. An essay of original work that is at least 1500 words in length 2. A cover sheet with the applicant’s full name, address, phone number, date of birth, grade in school, school name, total word count and the statement: “I have read and understand the guidelines, the essay submitted is original and of my own creation.” 3. The essay must be typewritten in English. If it is submitted electronically, it must be sent in as an MS Word attachment.

Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider 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. 

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Department of Education Issues Overview, Requests Plans for Lender of Last Resort

Mar 28, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Just two weeks ago, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings addressed the US House Committee on Education and Labor about its fear of a federal lending program meltdown. To the best of her ability, she tried to qualm the legislators' fears and to convince them that negative speculations were exaggerated. “More than 2,000 originating lenders participate in FFEL,” she said. “A small number of these lenders have reduced their participation or stopped originating new loans.”

However, the Department of Education’s request for Lender of Last Resort (LLR) preparation painted a somewhat different picture. In a letter sent to 35 guarantee agencies, the Financial Student Aid’s Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Warder laid out the basic LLR provisions and asked that the guarantee agencies quickly respond with plans for enacting the emergency program, should the need arise.

With lenders leaving the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program at increasing rates, both legislators and families have been feeling uneasy about college loan options. And while the department maintained that things were largely under control, the letters spoke for themselves.

The LLR provisions state that when a student eligible for federal aid is denied by at least two lenders, guarantee agencies and lenders who have signed agreements with them are responsible for awarding the loan. Being nonprofit entities, the guaranty agencies would use government funding to repay lenders for any student defaults.

To be certain that individuals have quick access to student loans, regardless of decisions made by cautious lenders, the department has asked that guaranty agencies submit their plans to put the LLR program in place.  Among other things, they were asked to prepare a timeline for issuing LLR loans to students, provide a method for informing students about LLR eligibility and plan for meeting the increased administrative requirements. Recipients of the letter were given up to 30 days to respond with a new outline for their LLR program.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Chelsea Clinton Talks Financial Aid With College Students

Mar 27, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The Republican candidates may have settled down, but there is no ceasefire in sight for Hillary and Barack.  Both candidates have been campaigning around the clock, scribbling in their calendars, visiting every nook and cranny.  When they couldn’t make an appearance, their families did. On Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton took her turn at the podium when she spoke to a group of students at Indiana’s Ball State University.

According to the Ball State Daily News, Chelsea took time to describe her mother’s plans for decreasing the costs of a college education. “My mother plans to double the Pell Grant to $10,800, expand the eligibility for a tax credit and develop Americare, and organization developed by my father to help college be more affordable,” she told the crowd.

For about an hour, Chelsea answered questions about Hillary’s plans for the presidency. She covered health care, the No Child Left Behind Act, the strengthening of hate crime laws and the war in Iraq. With the exception of a few poster-carrying Obama backers, most of the estimated 1,000 attendees appeared supportive.

If, as Chelsea suggested, Hillary were to increase Pell Grant awards, dangerous college lending habits could decrease dramatically. Currently, only $4,310 in Pell Grant money is available to eligible students each year. Even after Pell Grants reach their peak during the 2012-2013 school year (as mandated by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act), only $5,400 will be made available.

Students who do not receive sufficient money in the form of Pell Grants can still turn to scholarships for college funding assistance. For additional information about college scholarships and grants, students may conduct a free scholarship search.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Conflicting Provisions Hurt No Child Left Behind

Mar 26, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The recipe for the No Child Left Behind Act seems simple: identify ineffective schools, and improve their student performance. Sprinkle in a dash of funds, a threatening environment for underperforming teachers, and melt away problems at 365°.

Unfortunately, most successful plans call for more than a dash of funds. And as was demonstrated by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the No Child Left Behind progress, funding problems have been leaving states struggling to comply with the program’s requirements. Of particular concern were two NCLB provisions responsible for regulating the allocation of federal education funds.

As mandated by the No Child Left Behind, states are required to set aside 4 percent of the federal assistance they receive to help low-income students and use that money to improve schools that have failed to meet state academic expectations. No problem there. Because most poorly-scoring schools are low income, the 4 percent used to improve schools would indirectly help the low-income students.

The problem arises when another provision comes into the picture. According to the “hold-harmless” rule, states are not allowed to set aside more money for a poorly-performing school if it means having to cut back on other school district grants, reports the Washington Post. Because of this stipulation, numerous states have been finding it difficult to come up with sufficient money to help poorly performing schools while maintaining previous assistance levels to other school districts.

According to the GAO report, the “hold-harmless” provision has prevented 22 states from setting aside the required NCLB funds. Some states have made up differences by taking advantage of other federal and state funds, but not all have been able to do so successfully.

Insufficient funding is just one of many concerns cited by NCLB critics. Others have included a diminished focus on untested material and a decrease in attention paid to advanced students. High school seniors interested in voicing their opinions on the NCLB, both positive and negative, may do so by applying for the Scholarships.com 2008 Resolve to Evolve Scholarship. Seven applicants who submit the most thought-out and well-crafted responses will be awarded with scholarships ranging between $1,000 and $3,000. For additional information about this and other college scholarship and grants, students may conduct a free scholarship search.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Brazos Leaves Student Loan Market

Mar 25, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Joining the growing number of student lenders that have chosen to opt out of the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp has announced that it too would discontinue their participation. The combination of a troublesome lending market and the passage of an act reducing federal subsidies to FFEL lenders have left students and parents worried about their college funding options.

Brazos is just one of the 26 lenders that have already stopped providing FFEL loans to students, reports The Wall Street Journal. Because Brazos is one of the largest student lenders, the news is particularly disconcerting to families already fearful of less-than-promising student loan options.

More than eighty percent of all federal student loans are provided by federally-subsidized lenders that participate in college FFEL programs. The remaining federal loans are disbursed through the less-popular Direct Loan program which allows students to borrow directly from the government.

Speaking to the US House Committee on Education and Labor, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently proposed that more schools simply adopt the federal Direct Loan program. The suggestion sounds promising, but administrative setbacks and budget availability may prove to be a problem.

Though only a small percentage of the estimated 2,000 student lenders have pulled out of the FFEL program, the market is dominated by the top fifty lenders, a number of which have already left the FFEL program. Included in NASFAA's list of lenders that have either ended or suspended their FFEL services are the large originators NextStudent, Goal Financial, College Loan Corporation and College Board.

Before turning to loans for their financial aid needs, students should search for college scholarships and grants that may provide them with cost-free college funds. By conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com, student will receive access to more than 2.7 million scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Holocaust Remembrance Project Scholarship

Mar 24, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Numerous people have worked hard to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive. Despite their efforts, many students know little about the World War II years. By encouraging them to inquire about the stories and to research the violent acts that occurred during the Holocaust, the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation hopes to help students learn from the past and to change the future.

This year, thirty high school scholarships will be awarded to students who write the best, most-researched Holocaust essays. Those who participate will be asked to write a paper of no more than 1,200 words analyzing why the remembrance, history and lessons of the Holocaust must be passed on to a new generation. They must then suggest ways in which students can fight future prejudice and violence. Students whose essays show the greatest promise will be awarded scholarships ranging from $300 to $10,000.

Prize:

1. Ten first-place winners will receive scholarships ranging between $2,500 and $10,000. They will also be awarded an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. 2. Ten second-place winners will receive scholarships of $500. 3. Ten third-place winners will receive scholarships of $300.

Eligibility:

1. Applicant must be 19 years old or younger. 2. Applicant must be enrolled as high school student in grades 9-12. 3. Applicant must be a resident of the U.S. or Mexico or must be a U.S. citizen living abroad. 4. First-place winners must agree to participate in the Washington, D.C. trip.

Deadline:

April 30, 2008 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Required Material:

1. An essay of 1,200 words or less submitted online. 2. A works cited, reference page or bibliography

Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider 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.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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TEACH Grants

Mar 21, 2008

by Administrator

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is one of the most anticipated federal student aid programs for current and future teachers. Passed as a part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, the TEACH Grant will provide financial assistance to students who agree to spend time teaching in low-income areas.

The new program will go into affect during the 2008-2009 school year, and, as with other federal aid programs, the exact details and award sums may change in the future. For now, students who are eligible for the program may receive a grant of up to $4,000 per year. Like other teaching scholarships and grants, the TEACH Grant will encourage qualified students to spend time teaching in areas that are frequently underfunded and understaffed. The eligibility criteria and additional details are as follows:

Eligibility: 1. Students who receive a TEACH Grant must agree to work full-time at low-income elementary or secondary schools for at least four years. 2. TEACH Grant recipients must agree to teach a high-need subject. 3. Recipients must be US citizens or eligible non-citizens. 4. Although the TEACH Grant is not a need-based award, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 5. The TEACH Grant recipient must be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate student in a college or university participating in the TEACH program. 6. To continue receiving the award, a student must remain in good academic standing. This will usually mean either scoring in the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.25. 7. The recipient must sign a TEACH Grant service agreement.

Before applying for this grant, students should be aware that the TEACH Grant is only awarded to students who complete the service requirement. If the student does not comply with the teaching agreement, the TEACH Grant will be turned into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The loan charge will include both the grant sum and the interest the student would have accumulated had they been charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Disability Scholarships

Mar 20, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

For many disabled individuals, completing school can be a struggle.  Such students may have to consider not only their scholastic aspirations but also their health and wellbeing when making important college decisions. Whether additional efforts must be applied to maintaining a proper diet, lowering stress, completing assignments in a timely matter or any number of other priorities, dealing with both disabilities and classes can prove to be a challenge.

Insufficient college funds are a common setback for many disabled students, for any students. To help with this aspect of college, numerous disability scholarships have been created for those with financial needs. Take a look at the disability scholarships listed below for awards you may be eligible to receive. For additional information about scholarships, grants, internships and fellowships, try conducting a free college scholarship search.

The Association of Blind Citizens Reggie Johnson Scholarship

The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) will be awarding this disability scholarship to a number of legally blind students. One $2,000 scholarship and eight $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to winners. Applicants will have to submit a 300 to 500 word autobiographical essay explaining how the award could assist them in achieving their college or vocational program goals.

Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired

Each year, the Travelers Protection Agency (TPA) provides students who are deaf or near deaf with scholarship awards. The number of recipients and award sizes may vary based on Trust Executive Committee recommendations.

disABLEdperson Inc. College Scholarship Competition

Students eligible for this disability scholarship will have the chance to earn $750 to be used towards their college education. Applicants will have to answer the annual essay question and fully complete an online scholarship form. Students must be attending a 2 or 4 year US college or university and must have a disadvantage or deficiency that interferes or prevents normal achievement in a certain area.

Scholarship for People with Disabilities

The Scholarship for People with Disabilities annually provides students with scholarships of up to $1,000. To be eligible applicants must have a physical or sensory disability and must demonstrate scholarship need. This award is limited to students who are Minnesota residents or who have received Courage Center services.

1-800-Wheelchair Scholarship Fund

High school and undergraduate college students who apply for the 1-800-Wheelchair Scholarship will have the opportunity to win $500 for college. Students must be at least 16 years old and must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to applicants with a mobility disability, but disability is not a requirement.

Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Scholarship

With the help of the Ethel Louse Armstrong Foundation (ELA), female graduate students with physical disabilities may win up to $2,000. Applicants must be active in a disability organization and must be willing to provide ELA with scholastic and career updates. To apply, students must submit an essay of 1,000 words or less explaining, “How I will change the face of disability on the Planet”.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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