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by Scholarships.com Staff

We've said it before and I'm sure we'll say it again.  Despite the economy, money for college is still available.  A scholarship search, a visit to your college's student financial aid office, and a quick perusal of recent college news should all confirm this.  But if you're someone who needs additional empirical evidence, a survey conducted by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, a group representing private colleges (whose students typically rely more on institutional aid than state college students) also supports this conclusion. The results, which were published Thursday, show that only 8.4 percent of institutions surveyed have frozen or cut student aid for either this academic year or the next.

While not fantastic news, when taken in context with the rest of the survey's results, it is encouraging.  Nearly 68 percent of colleges reported a significant decline in their endowments and many colleges reported concerns over fundraising, tuition, and other sources of revenue.  Despite this, though, colleges seem to be putting their students' interests first when dealing with budget concerns.  For example, 31 percent of colleges surveyed don't yet have plans to increase tuition for 2009-2010, and at least two respondents specifically mentioned increasing student financial aid in their comments.  The most popular cost-cutting measures have been freezing hiring, restricting travel, and slowing construction.  Cutting student services, campus-based aid programs, and academic programs have been the least popular moves.

To find out more about how small private colleges are weathering the economic downturn, you can visit NAICU's news room.  To scope out private colleges near you, conduct a free college search on Scholarships.com.


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by Scholarships.com Staff

As you've probably noticed, the current student loan market is not so great.  Between lenders backing out of the Federal Family Education Loan Program and temporarily or permanently suspending private loan operations, finding a loan has gotten tougher.  Family financial troubles and lenders' increased credit requirements for private student loans have made qualifying for a loan more challenging, as well.  While scholarship opportunities remain available, and many colleges and universities are even implementing new plans to help students cover college costs, many students and families are still coming up short on their tuition bills.

New models for student lending have surfaced in recent years, but have gained media attention as the troubles with student loans have continued throughout 2008.  One idea, which we've blogged about previously, is peer-to-peer lending, where students set up deals with friends, family members, or other interested parties to borrow money for college.  These deals are brokered through a lending company, and since the parties involved typically know each other, interest rates and default rates are expected to be low.

Another lending model that has succeeded in other countries and is now being tested in the United States, is more akin to investing than lending.  Investors, such as individuals or companies, agree to pay for a student's college education.  In return, the student agrees to repay a portion of their income to the investor for an agreed upon period of time.  In some ways, this resembles the income-contingent repayment plans available for federalconsolidation loans.  These contracts are also meeting criticism, including comparisons to indentured servitude.  Others worry that students with prospects for high income will not be interested and that few people will want to invest in humanities students, who are likely to provide low returns on their investments.  Nevertheless, such "human capital" contracts are expected to be well-received by many students and investors.  As reported by The Boston Globe, one company is already piloting a human capital contract program with a handful of business school students pursuing MBA degrees.

While human capital contracts and peer-to-peer lending are unlikely to wholly replace private student loans, they may provide students with more alternatives to the current forms of "alternative loans."  While college scholarships, institutional aid, and federal student financial aid should always come first, some families do need to borrow significantly to pay for school, and many are likely to welcome a wider range of options for doing so.

Posted Under:

Financial Aid , Student Loans


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by Scholarships.com Staff

Participating in extracurricular activities has many benefits for high school students. Joining high school clubs is a great way to meet people who share your interests and enhance your skills. Active participation in organizations such as your high school drama club, high school science club and high school computer club can also be very beneficial when you are searching for scholarship opportunities to help pay for college.

Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

  • Club advisors can be excellent resources for letters of recommendation.
  • Many academic and non-academic scholarship programs consider involvement in extracurricular activities in the selection process.
  • Many school-based scholarship programs consider extracurricular activities, because schools want to recruit students likely to become active members of the student body.
  • Many scholarship programs reward leadership experience, and holding offices in high school clubs is an excellent way to demonstrate leadership.
  • Some subject-specific scholarships require, or look very favorably upon, related extracurricular activities. (For example, many drama scholarships are limited to individuals who were involved in their high school drama club.)
  • Many scholarship programs require students to write essays demonstrating their interest in a particular field. What better way to demonstrate that you are dedicated to pursuing a career in computer science than to discuss your membership in your high school computer club?

The advisor for each of the high school clubs in which you hold a membership may be able to help you identify scholarship opportunities based on your extracurricular activities. A scholarship search service that matches students with scholarship programs based on their activities can be an excellent resource for locating hard-to-find scholarships based on extracurricular activity participation.


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by Scholarships.com Staff

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.

Prize:

Three winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship

Eligibility:

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

Deadline:

February 1, 2008

Required Material:

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.


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by Scholarships.com Staff

Complicated student loan legal jargon is an unfortunate component of the borrowing process. Two words  all students should be familiar with before borrowing are "subsidized” and “unsubsidized”. Let's break these down:

Subsidized Loans Students who borrow subsidized loans through the Federal Direct or the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) programs will receive government-backed college money. Because the government agrees to compensate FFEL lenders for loan defaults, student lenders agree to offer low-interest loans. They do not charge students for the interest that accumulates during the college years and post-graduation six-month grace period as the government takes care of these costs. Unfortunately, not all students are eligible for federal subsidized loans because finances are among the eligibility criteria. Students whose FAFSA results suggest financial need and those whose parents applied for but were denied a PLUS Loan may take out subsidized loans.

Unsubsidized Loans While federally unsubsidized loans boast fewer benefits than subsidized ones, their interest rates still tend to be lower than those offered by private lenders.  Students are responsible for all interest that accrues during their years in school, deferment, and grace periods. As long as students don’t exceed their annual loan borrowing limits, they may take out both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Because unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need, students who are not deemed needy by the government may still take out these loans. The borrowing limit on these loans will vary based on year in school and dependency status, but the sum may not exceed the estimated cost of attendance for each school minus other financial aid a student receives. Students may borrow both subsidized and unsubsidized loans during the same period as long as the limits for each are not surpassed.

Posted Under:

FAFSA , Financial Aid , Student Loans


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by Scholarships.com Staff

As expected, President Bush signed into law the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008. After receiving bipartisan support from the House and the Senate, the bill aimed at ensuring student loan availability was approved by the president.

Worried that the departure of student lenders from the FFEL Program could make student loans more difficult to obtain, legislators hurried to secure a backup plan. According to House Representative George Miller, “The bill carries no new cost for taxpayers.”

The Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 indicates that:

o The limit on federal loans will soon increase. Students will be able to borrow $2,000 more to cover tuition and other costs.

o Parents will have more time to save for PLUS Loans. Rather than having to pay as soon as money is disbursed, they will have until six months after the child graduates before initial payments are due.

o Families slightly behind on their mortgages or medical bills may still be eligible for PLUS Loans.

o The Secretary of Education has the authority to advance federal funds to student lenders and guaranty agencies acting as lenders of last resort if the lenders run out of capital.

o Shall a lender of last resort plan be put into practice, guaranty agencies acting as lenders will have to abide by rules and restrictions similar to those governing FFEL lenders.

o Congress may call on the Federal Financing Bank to consider injecting money into the student loan market at no cost to the taxpayers.


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by Scholarships.com Staff

As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” area of study scholarship consists of thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors. Included is the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the culinary arts.

The way to someone’s heart may be through their stomach, but that's not the reason so many students pursue a culinary arts degree. Whether you dream of opening your own restaurant or joining the future cast of the Food Network, culinary arts classes can help you accomplish your goals. If you have the drive, Scholarships.com will help you buy the gas. By applying for the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, you may find yourself $1,000 closer to becoming a chef.

If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified):"What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?"

Prize: $1,000

Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge. 2. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen 3. Applicant must be undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall 4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Culinary Arts or Food Science/Food Industry

Deadline: June 30, 2008

Required Material: A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?”

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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by Scholarships.com Staff

Numerous companies compensate their employees for returning to school, but some take things a step further by also helping their families. If you’re one of the lucky students whose parents work for the companies or industries listed below, you may be eligible for numerous college scholarships. Check out the awards below to see if you qualify.

The Two Ten Footwear Foundation If you or one of your parents works in the footwear or leather industry, you may be eligible to win a $3,000 scholarship renewable for up to 4 years of undergraduate study. Winners are selected based on academic record, personal promise, character and financial need. One Super Scholar will win a $15,000 award renewable for up to four years.

Butler Manufacturing Company Foundation Scholarship Program High school seniors who are children of full-time Butler Manufacturing Company employees can apply for the Butler Manufacturing Company $2,500 scholarship. Students must visit a plant and/or office location to obtain an application.

H.O. West Foundation Scholarship Program A scholarship of up to $2,500 is available to high school seniors who are dependents of individuals working for West Pharmaceutical Services. Students must enter a college or university the fall after graduating to meet eligibility criteria.

Joseph R Stone Scholarship Students whose parent or parents work in the travel industry (hotel, car rental, airlines, travel agency etc.) may be eligible for one of three $2,400 scholarships. Applicants must be pursuing a degree at an undergraduate college or university.

Alcoa Foundation Sons & Daughters Scholarship The Alcoa Foundation Sons and Daughters Scholarship Program provides financial aid to students whose parents work for Alcoa Inc. The $1,500 award can be renewed for either one or three years. Applicants must apply as high school seniors and must meet the established academic criteria.


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by Scholarships.com Staff

On Thursday, the House passed a bill increasing the amount of federal aid awarded to college students who were veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though approved, the process was anything but smooth.

When it was introduced to the House, the tuition-benefits measure was just one part of a bill calling for additional war funding and a new troop withdrawal timeline. To avoid having to choose between appropriating additional war funds and aiding returning veterans, House Democrats split the bill up into three parts, only voting against the new war funding measure. After angry Republicans sat the vote out, the war-spending amendment was defeated. The provisions for a troop-withdrawal timeline and college and unemployment benefits, however, were passed.

The veteran education amendment would cover the tuition of eligible veterans as long as it did not exceed the most expensive public state university tuition in the veteran's area of residence. Those who decided to attend a private college where tuition surpassed that limit would receive the maximum public tuition as well as a dollar-for-dollar match for any additional aid provided to the student by that university.

As promising as the bill sounds to veterans, the odds are stacked against the probability of presidential and Senate approval. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, numerous senators disagree with the idea that federal student aid funds should be raised through taxes on the wealthy, and President Bush is at odds with the timeline and expensive domestic-spending provisions.


Comments

by Scholarships.com Staff

As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” area of study scholarship consists of thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors.

Included is the Scholarships.com Design Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the design and related majors. Whether it’s interior design, clothing design or web design that inspires you, this award can help you pay for the classes. If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified): “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in design?”

Prize: $1,000

Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge. 2. Applicant must be a US citizen. 3. Applicant must be an undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall. 4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Advertising, Architecture, Art,Commercial Arts, Design, Drafting/Computer Aided Design, Fashion, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Design, New Media, Surveying, Web Design

Deadline: July 31, 2008

Required Material: A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the design?”

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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