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by Susan Dutca

Politicians may promise free college tuition one day, but the only way to get a free college education right now is by earning sufficient scholarships and grants. For students wanting to join the cohort of America's future leaders, here are some scholarship opportunities: :

  1. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

    Deadline: February 10
    Maximum Award: $50,000

  2. Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: February 15
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  3. Media Fellows Program

    Deadline: July 14
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  4. James Madison Foundation Graduate Fellowships

    Deadline: March 1
    Maximum Award: $24,000

  5. Matt Fong Asian Americans in Public Finance Scholarship

    Deadline: February 19
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  6. Lim, Ruger & Kim Scholarship

    Deadline: September 1
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  7. Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: February 5
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  8. The California Federation of Republican Women's President Ronald Reagan Scholarship

    Deadline: August 15
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  9. Virginia and Frank Misselhorn Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: July 31
    Maximum Award: 500

  10. Otto M. Stanfield Law Scholarship

    Deadline: February 15
    Maximum Award: Varies

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!

Comments (14)

by Susan Dutca

Not even a day after the FBI announced her "extremely careless" dissemination of sensitive and classified information via a private server, Hillary Clinton proposed a tuition-free college program for roughly 80 percent of American families. Amidst the email traffic scandal, Clinton is moving forward and attempting to handle a new beast: college affordability.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also feels the Bern when it comes to college tuition. But unlike Bernie Sanders - who proposed free public higher education for all - she proposed "debt-free" education for students from families with incomes of up to $125,000. The plan, aimed to entice young voters, would offer free tuition to families earning $85,000 a year at first and gradually increase to a $125,000 threshold by 2021. Furthermore, she pledged to restore year-round Pell grants and impose a three-month moratorium on all repayments for federal student loans, which would allow borrowers to finance their loans or move into income-based repayment options.

Clinton herself cautioned young Bernie supporters in the past saying, "When somebody tells you something is free, ask for the fine print." With a looming national debt exceeding $19T ($1.3T of which is student loan debt), freebies may seem appealing. However, the issue of tuition inflation persists. Incentives such as these are not available to hardworking parents and incentivize families to make a calculated goal to meet the bare minimum requirements, and nothing beyond it. Furthermore, students who have spent years paying off their student loan debt will not be receiving any reimbursement checks. Many taxpayers who wouldn't receive any benefits from the program (those who have already paid college tuition for their progeny or don't have kids) are forced to pay into programs they may not support.

Though Clinton may face consequences as large as losing her security clearance, she made no comments regarding the FBI's address and instead focused on solving one of the nation's largest debt issues.

In your opinion, do you think a free college education program is feasible? Do you think it will help alleviate or solve the student debt issue? Leave your thoughtful opinions below to start a discussion.

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!

Comments (20)

by Susan Dutca

Scholarships and grants are the number one source of funding to pay for college, according to a recent study by Sallie Mae. Check out these scholarships to help fund your college education:

  1. Kelsey's Law Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  2. One Life Makes a Difference

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  3. Up and Comer Scholarship

    Deadline: July 4
    Maximum Award: $500

  4. Camp Counselor Appreciation Scholarship

    Deadline: November 1
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  5. SCTPN Undergraduate Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  6. Gracias Music Foundation Scholarship

    Deadline: June 30
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  7. Animal Compassion Undergraduate Scholarship

    Deadline: December 30
    Maximum Award: $500

  8. The State of the American Mind Essay/Video Contest

    Deadline: December 31
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  9. The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  10. Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans

    Deadline: November 2
    Maximum Award: $10,000

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!

Comments (6)

by Susan Dutca

The class of 2015 had the largest student loan debt in history and while some students may side hustle to cover their tuition bill, one student has opted to skip the grind and instead, hustle the streets to help pay for her college education.

Star student Emily Stutz wasn't offered the necessary financial aid to attend college, even after she appealed to all of the eight schools to which she was accepted. Her parents, who earn a combined $155,000 as special education teachers, aren't able to "come up with $20,000-$30,000 a year," according to Stutz. So she created a GoFundMe account and panhandled outside a local Target over the weekend, holding a sign that read "H.S. Senior. No $ for College. Anything helps." So far, Stutz has raised over $24,000 via her GoFundMe page, which would cover one year's tuition at a private college - so she considered staying home and going to the University of Massachusetts which costs only $13,500 a year.

While she had many sympathizers, some drivers told her to get a job. Though she has a 4.0 GPA, works two jobs, has been accepted to all eight to which she applied, she claims, "even the smaller cost [of attending college] was unattainable." Most importantly, Stutz wanted to relay her message on the issue of student loan debt and college unaffordability, stating "It's such a big issue with the presidential election...people take out these huge loans and have to pay back like a mortgage on their education."

Merit scholarships at private institutions aren't enough to lessen the burden of the tuition price tag, according to Stutz. While we were unable to discover to which schools Miss Lutz applied, perhaps a community college would be an affordable option. The money she has raised via GoFundMe so far would likely pay for all or most of her undergraduate studies if she spent the first two years at one of the dozens of community colleges in Massachusetts, most of which are around $4,000 per year. There are also ample opportunities out there for students who take the time to search and apply for scholarships. Many high school students start searching for scholarships when they are a sophomore or junior in high school, which is a great idea as well, rather than relying on the colleges to which you apply for all of your financial aid. Applying for more than one scholarship also increases your chances of earning more money towards your college education. Just read the Success Stories of some of our users and see how they made their post-secondary education affordable and occasionally even free.

In your opinion, do you think panhandling for college funds is the best option? Would you do it? What other options would you consider pursuing? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

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!

Comments (8)

by Susan Dutca

What happens when half a million students are forced to take zero credit, remedial college courses? Parents and students must pay roughly $1.5 million and borrow $350 billion extra a year - even if 74 percent of those students end up delaying college or dropping out. Not only does it break the bank for low-income families, but yes, the affluent families as well. Who's to blame for college unpreparedness?

According to a new report by researchers at Education Reform Now, "American families across all income levels are spending billions each year in extra college costs." Though the common perception is that remedial courses are only available for low-income students or community colleges, it extends to middle, upper-middle, high-income, and many colleges of well. In particular, some of the most affluent students at private nonprofit four-year colleges (the top 20 percent) are taking more remedial courses than students from the bottom 20 percent of national family incomes. Statistics show that over $12,000 extra has been spent by unprepared students from the top income quintile (incomes over $113,440) attending private nonprofit institutions. On average, about $3,000 is paid extra, and $1,000 borrowed to complete remedial courses. Additionally, unprepared students are more likely to delay completing college - or simply drop out. The issue of college unpreparedness is not limited to minority or low-income students, but it penetrates all income levels.

But who's to blame? Researchers point to the "expansive failure of our K-12 education system" and recommend giving secondary assessment when accessing college readiness. Some believe that we are focusing on the wrong topics and should, for example, teach statistics and not algebra since it will be more practical and useful post-college. Others blame the way in which students are evaluated through the "traditional method of scoring." Proponents of the Common Core State Standards, including President Obama and even some conservative allies believe that the "common-sense logic" is premised on the skills necessary to successfully participate and compete in the 21st-century economy and global market. Some schools have already addressed the issue by implementing a "corequisite remediation" model which allows students to take for-credit courses while being enrolled in a "learning support class to help them master the material."

Should both high schools and students be held accountable for their college readiness? Remedial courses are depleting students' financial aid and savings, and have them asking professors whether they know of any scholarships that are intended to help students who have run out of financial aid. You can count on ample scholarship opportunities here at Scholarships.com to leave you financially prepared for college costs. From easy scholarships where you hardly have to do anything to essay scholarships, you have the chance to help fund your higher education dreams.

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!

Comments (2)

by Susan Dutca

Beginning this fall, Northwestern University will offer grant and scholarships to combat student debt for qualifying students. As is the case with many colleges and universities, Northwestern's tuition hikes over the past several years have not helped the issue of crippling student debt. Based on their endowment and continued contributions from alums, it would certainly seem that Northwestern could offer considerably more financial assistance than they are at present. While Northwestern is about to start offering more free money to incoming students, capping the potential loans at $20K, we believe there is a solution to keep students from burying themselves in student loan debt: scholarships.

It took six years of student organizing and meeting with administrators to begin the process of reviewing and changing the financial aid policy to a no-loan program that grants 100 percent coverage of student financial aid; implements a cap for loans on current students whose debt is at $20,000; and offers full university financial aid for undocumented students. Students who reach $20,000 in loans will have additional aid covered in grants, but there's a catch. If you are at $30,000, you're not getting a check, according to Northwestern Vice President of Media Relations, Alan Cubbage. The new program will start 10 new initiatives for both undergraduate and graduate students, with a special emphasis on undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools, low-income, and first-generation students, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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!

Comments (1)

by Susan Dutca

Student loans made the list for the Top 10 Consumer Scams in Illinois, ranking 7th with 1,500 of the 25,094 complaints that are seen by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office. As if the 40 million Americans who hold $1.2 trillion in debt wasn't bad enough, student loan scams joined the list of scams including abusive debt collection practices, mortgage lending, and payday loans, according to Gail MarksJarvis.

Most people know that one of the top consumers scams out there is identity theft. What's not as well-known is the large number of students who fall victim to student loan scams. Though they may be promised debt relief by making upfront payments of hundreds of dollars, with no relief to ever come, according to MarksJarvis. The scammers who once defrauded people with mortgage relief scams, according to MarksJarvis, now ventured into new territory: student loans. Madigan has targeted one of the scamming businesses based in Lombard, National Student Loan Rescue, and filed suit against them on Monday. They reportedly "advertised it would get student loans out of default, remove wage garnishments, lower monthly payments and secure loan forgiveness, but didn't deliver after accepting upfront fees."

What happens when government, income-based repayment programs aren't doing enough to help students with their debt? Borrowers turn to alternate options and fall victim to scam artists. Madigan blames the inefficient of such federal loan services for "keeping people in debt" and disabling them from contributing to the economy through purchases such as car-buying. Furthermore, she criticizes the quick relief forbearance which provides temporal relief with added interest charges to be paid later. This only perpetuates the cycle of debt, according to Madigan.

To "relieve" student loans, private companies are actually just filing paperwork to consolidate borrower's federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. That means they're charging more than $1,000 for services that the Department pf Education offers free of charge. Some fraudulent businesses will advertise on the radio, using titles such as "federal" or "national," even though they are private businesses. If they promise to relieve student debt outright or get you out of default, they're most likely scamming you. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. For the complete list of top Illinois scam complaints, as well as options for helping borrowers on repayment options, read here.

Word of advice from Madigan: borrowers should never have to pay for information on paying back loans. A way to spot scams is "noting requests for upfront payments." Likewise at Scholarships.com., where we believe that no scholarship search or scholarship should ever cost a penny, as those are only the practices of sharks and scammers when it comes to the business of awarding money, not taking it.

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!

Comments (3)

by Susan Dutca

What do you get when you combine Nike Co-Founder and Stanford alumni Phillip Knight with one of the world's most prestigious universities? A big name school with an additional $400 million donated graduate scholarships. As a gift to Stanford University on his 78th birthday, the endowment is intended to attract some of the world's brightest graduate and professional students looking to solve major global challenges.

The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is one of the largest scholarships to have ever been donated from an individual university. Stanford also claims that the program represented the "largest single increase in student financial aid in Stanford's history," and it will provide aid for a minimum of three years of graduate-level study, with 100 scholars admitted annually. The Stanford Daily reports that it "will be analogous to the Rhodes and Shwarzman scholarships." According to the press release, scholars will be nominated by their universities based on high academic achievement, leadership, and civic commitment. Nominees will be from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities.

John Hennessey, Stanford's President of 16 years who is stepping down this year to run the new scholars program, claims that the program "will be the largest graduate scholarship program focused on all disciplines at any university in the world." The graduate and professional schools in which it will enroll scholars are law, business, medicine, engineering, humanities and sciences, education, Earth, energy, and environmental sciences. There is also an option for extended funding for scholars pursuing PhD or MD degrees. Leadership training and development, residential experiences, immersive educational opportunities, and additional degree opportunities focused on public policy and problem-solving will be incorporated into the program. More than 80% of the endowment will cover students' living expenses and education.

While the generous endowment would help educate some of the world's prospective leaders, some criticize the "megagifts" given to prestigious universities, claiming that "they are more about prestige and ego than academic excellence," as reported by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times. Could this really just be an "arms race between the top schools with no connection to reality," as stated by New York writer and author Malcolm Gladwell?

Knight has supported Stanford since 2006, when he contributed a large gift to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is actually Knight's second largest donation to a college or university, the largest being a 2013 donation of $500 million to the University of Oregon in which he challenged the university to raise $500M by offering to match the amount. Stanford will start accepting applications beginning in the summer of 2017 and admit its first brigade of scholars for fall of 2018. Knight and Hennessey "dream of a future 20, 30, or 50 years from now, when thousands of graduates - who can think outside the box as skilled problem-solvers - will be working together for a more peaceful, habitable world."

Would you apply for the scholarship program? Keep an eye out for more information to come on the scholarship and in meantime, see what other scholarship opportunities you are eligible for.

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!

Comments (12)

Talk is Cheap. College Isn't.

New Policy to Eliminate Pell Grants, Federal Loans, Tuition Tax Credits

Feb 23, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Talk is cheap when it comes to politicians' promises, but one thing that remains expensive is a college education. From vetoing a scholarships bill that would free up $721 million for community colleges and scholarships for low-income students, to killing the Senate Bill 180 which would require the New Mexico Lottery to provide $41 million to a college scholarships fund there has been no resolution to the budget stalemate since July 1, 2015. New America Higher Education has one resolution: out with the old, in with the new. That means removing federal loans, federal tuition vouchers, Pell grants, and tuition tax credits.

In their policy paper, "Starting from Scratch: A New Federal and State Partnership in Higher Education," New America Higher Education expressed their vision to reconstruct and repair the "broken system of financing higher education." The team plans to scrap the archaic system and replace it with a "federal-state financial partnership" where the government would dole money to states, which would go to colleges and universities - taking into account important factors such as enrolled low-income students. Students would only have to pay their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the state would be held accountable for student outcomes such graduation rates and securing employment. In addition to lowering tuition, the cost of living expenses such as room and board, transportation, and childcare costs would be lowered.

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States would have to maintain their current funding as provided in their individual budgets, match federal funding by 25 percent, and be responsible for performance and costs. There would be a bonus to states that contribute more than expected and also, a bonus for colleges who enroll more than 25 percent of low-income students. What's the catch? The plan would cost roughly $38 billion annually, and states would have to contribute an additional $17.9 billion. The existing system has left about 7 million borrowers in default with their student loans and the report claims that "going to college has left them in a much worse position than if they had never enrolled."

The partisanship disaster continues as colleges and universities haven't received "operating money from the state since July 1," according to Celeste Bott of the Chicago Tribune. The MAP grant provides up to $5,000 in financial aid to students who demonstrate need, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Some claim the scholarships bill would snag money from social service providers who provide care for the state's "most vulnerable residents," or that states simply do not have the money to spend. Governor Rauner agrees that the school funding formula needs to be changed.

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Do you support New America's Higher Education proposal? Leave your thoughtful comments below. Don't wait another day - take advantage of the available scholarships and learn more about grants and financial aid today.

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!

Comments (27)

by Susan Dutca

Between her coursework and political activism, Bernarda Elizabet Garcia actively fights for immigrants' rights, especially when it comes to funding higher education. As a scholarship recipient of the Mario Savio Lecture Fund's Young Activist Award, Garcia is a powerful and influential voice in her community through her advocacy for extending federal financial aid to undocumented college students by "improving the quality of life through immigration reform and education." Though there currently are not many government policies that give financial assistance to undocumented students for higher education, there are other organizations that are dedicated to helping those students pay for a college education.

There are roughly 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, with 2.1 million potentially eligible for the most recently proposed federal DREAM Act. Only 7,000-13,000 undocumented students are enrolled in college in the United States. According to College Board, college tuition and fees for full-time students at a public four-year institution (in-state) was roughly $19,548 per year in 2015-2016. For out-of-state tuition at a public school, the cost was $34,031 and tuition at a private nonprofit cost, on average, $43,921 in the same year. Without financial aid, it is nearly impossible to afford a college education, especially when many undocumented students come from low-income households.

Though there is no federal or state law that prohibits undocumented students from being admitted or attending U.S. colleges, government policies pose a barrier, as undocumented students do not have access to federal financial aid or Pell grants. However, Georgia, along with Alabama and South Carolina, plan to implement a policy that would ban illegal students from being admitted to their colleges. Just earlier this month, Georgia's Supreme Court rejected an appeal for lowering the in-state tuition for undocumented students. According to Education Reporter Lauren Foreman, following Georgia's decision, eight students from Georgia State University were arrested after refusing to leave a protest. The DREAM Act, a bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in 2001, failed to pass even after countless reintroductions and a big push in 2010. The goal of the act was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children who grew up in the US. However, all state DREAM Acts are different and are not synonymous with DACA, which is a policy that was created in 2012 by President Obama to grant deferred deportation to those under 31 years of age who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16.

Another controversial topic is whether or not undocumented students should be eligible for lower tuition - tuition that state residents pay when attending in-state universities and colleges. Currently, the majority of schools charge undocumented students out-of-state tuition. According to the National Immigration Law Center, at least twenty states have passed tuition equity bills that allow undocumented students to pay the same tuition as their classmates, regardless of their immigration status (certain criteria must be met to qualify). Based on the laws passed by these states, there is a general consensus that the state does not "lose revenue from the number of students who would otherwise pay out-of-state tuition," but rather, "it raises the percentage of high school graduates who pursue a college degree."

Organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and TheDream.US are dedicated to helping undocumented students earn scholarships to pay for college, regardless of immigration status. Be sure to check with your current or prospective university or college to see what funding opportunities you are eligible for, if you are an undocumented student. Check out our scholarships for undocumented students and scholarships for which you qualify today to help fund your college education.

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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