October 20, 2008
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.
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.
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.
January 31, 2009
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.
October 27, 2008
Putting in a couple years at a community college can be a great way to save money while still working towards your goal of receiving a bachelor's degree. However, even though your first two years of school might be cheaper, transferring to a four-year college or university can quickly become expensive, especially if you're planning on attending a prestigious private college. Outstanding students transferring from community colleges do have options for financial aid, though. One of the most generous scholarship opportunities available is this week's Scholarship of the Week, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
Up to 50 students will receive awards of up to $30,000 a year for their junior and senior years of college. Award amounts will be calculated based on unmet financial need.
Students must be currently attending college at a two-year community college and planning to transfer to a four-year college or university in the fall of 2009. Students who have received an associate's degree since spring 2004 who are planning to go back to school full-time in 2009 are also eligible. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved sophomore status by December 31, 2008. Students previously nominated for a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship are not eligible. Students are nominated by a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation representative at their community college. Contact information for these representatives can be found on the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation website. Individual community colleges may have additional requirements for nominees.
Completed application packets must be submitted to the Jack Kent Cooke foundation by January 20, 2009, using the online submission system found on the scholarship website. Schools must finish their nomination forms and submit them by 3 PM on January 26, 2009.
Completed online scholarship application, including the student's financial information, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, parent financial information forms, and attached income tax forms for students and parents. Materials must be submitted online as PDF attachments or mailed to the address provided by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Students must be nominated by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation representative at their community college, who must complete and submit a nomination form.
November 3, 2008
History is one of the most popular college majors, and for a good reason. Instead of reading up on interesting cultures and events during their free time, history majors can do so while earning credit hours. If history is your passion (or at least your major), you're in luck. This week's Scholarship of the Week is especially for you. Just concentrate on the past, and we'll take care of your future.
Students who apply for the Scholarships.com History Scholarship will have the chance to earn $1,000 towards their college education-and it couldn't be easier. Just write a 250-350 word scholarship essay 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 history?"
Eligibility: U.S. citizen; 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.); undergraduate student currently enrolled or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming academic year; applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Art History, History, Natural History
Deadline: December 31, 2008
Required Material: A 250-350 word response to the following question: "What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in history?"
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.
November 7, 2008
College students who receive generous scholarship opportunities are relieved of some of the financial burden of paying for school. But to what extent does this benefit translate into other positive outcomes? How, specifically, does winning scholarships help students achieve their college goals? Four studies being presented this week at the Association for the Study of Higher Education's annual conference seek to answer these questions.
Two studies focused on recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, an extremely generous scholarship for minorities offered by Bill and Melinda Gates. A third tracked recipients of the Kalamazoo Promise, the first in a series of large-scale full-tuition local scholarship programs, which provides scholarship funding to all qualifying Kalamazoo, Michigan residents who choose to attend one of Michigan's state colleges. The fourth looks at University of Iowa applicants' responses to financial aid offers.
The study of University of Iowa students reinforces the idea that scholarship money steers students' college plans, especially among certain minority groups. African American and Hispanic students were less likely to attend the university, presumably choosing a more affordable or more generous institution, if they did not receive the amount of financial assistance they had hoped for. These results reinforce the importance of college affordability and will hopefully encourage universities to offer more generous awards to student populations they wish to attract.
While institutional financial aid influences students' college choices, so do other scholarships. Studies showed that Gates Millennium Scholars and Kalamazoo Promise recipients appear more inclined than their peers of similar backgrounds towards applying to and ultimately choosing colleges that are pricier or more competitive.
Gates Millennium Scholars are also more likely to graduate--matching graduation rates of higher-income students--as well as to graduate on time. In fact, 90 percent of these students finished a four-year degree in four years, which is proving to be an increasingly rare accomplishment among students currently attending college.
In some ways, these studies reinforce things many students already knew. Scholarships influence students' college choices. Scholarship winners go to better schools, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to graduate sooner--and the studies suggest this because they won a scholarship, not just because they're smart and motivated. Even if none of this is news to you, it should still be a powerful motivator for you to start your own scholarship search. It does appear to be the formula for college success.
November 10, 2008
Are you addicted to the History Channel and HGTV? Do you love old buildings and local history? Do you want to learn more about or get involved in preservation efforts in your community? If you're a high school junior or senior and this describes you, be sure to check out this week's Scholarship of the Week, the American Planning Association High School Essay Contest.
Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to high school students who come up with the best historic preservation plans for their communities. Your scholarship essay should be between 1200 and 1500 words and should closely follow the instructions provided on the APA scholarship website. Not only can you learn about your community, earn scholarship money, and explore a potential career, but if you win, you will also receive a stipend of up to $1,000 to travel to an APA conference sometime during your college career to learn more about community planning.
Prize: Two $5,000 grand prize scholarship awards
Eligibility: High school students who are U.S. residents and are juniors or seniors during the 2008-2009 school year.
Deadline: January 15, 2009
Required Materials: Completed online scholarship application, following the instructions outlined by the American Planning Association on their contest website.
November 11, 2008
November has been designated as National Scholarship Month for 2008. The purpose of National Scholarship Month is to raise awareness of the scholarship opportunities available to high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students, as well as the numerous benefits of winning scholarships.
November is also an ideal month to start finding scholarships, if you haven't done so already. Many scholarship competitions start or end in November, including our own College Health Scholarship (deadline: November 30) and our College History Scholarship (deadline: December 31). By applying for scholarships now, you're sure to stay on top of those scholarship application deadlines.
Check out our article on National Scholarship Month, which highlights many of the reasons to apply for scholarships. You might also want to browse the Scholarships category on our blog, where you'll find tons of information about scholarships and the benefits they provide. Convinced that scholarships are worthwhile, but not convinced you can win? Head over to our resources section, where you will find tons of advice on scholarship applications. We dispel scholarship myths, show you how to detect scholarship scams, and even offer advice on how to write a scholarship-worthy essay--complete with tips from scholarship reviewers.
So, do you believe that you can win a scholarship? (Because you can!) Then celebrate National Scholarship Month with us and start your scholarship search today. A scholarship search on Scholarships.com is fast, free, and easy, instantly generating a list of scholarship awards that are directly relevant to the information you provide in your profile. We have scholarships in our database for all sorts of people! Find out about athletic scholarships, green scholarships, unusual scholarships, corporate scholarships, women's scholarships, scholarships for minorities, and many more. After all, with 2.7 million scholarships and grants to choose from, we're bound to have something that fits you. And free money for college is always cause for celebration.
November 17, 2008
Are you a college student? Do you have a blog? Are you concerned about your credit or the dangers of identity theft? Do you want to win $2,000? If so, this week's Scholarship of the Week is for you. The SPENDonLIFE Credit Blogging Scholarship offers a $2,000 college scholarship to a student blogger who posts an entry on his or her blog about either credit or identity theft before December 1.
Blog entries should be original, interesting, and informative, using your creativity and research skills to address a topic within the broad categories of identity theft and credit. Entries should be 400 words or less and should also inform readers of the contest and how they can participate.
Eligibility: Students aged 18 or over currently attending college full-time or part-time at an accredited college or university
Deadline: December 1, 2008
Required Materials: Completed online scholarship application, found on the SPENDonLIFE contest website. Be sure to provide a link to your blog entry about credit or identity theft.
November 18, 2008
Are you considering a career in public service, such as working for the government or a non-profit organization, but more than slightly overwhelmed by the thought of repaying your student loans with an often minuscule salary? Realizing that you may actually be taking a pay cut to transition from your summer job to your "grown up" career can be demoralizing, and dealing with debt on top of that certainly doesn't help. While many noble individuals certainly make this sacrifice, perhaps you were hoping to forget where the grocery store kept its "manager's special" items after you graduated. And who can blame you? The college budget diet, and the accompanying lifestyle of cramming half a dozen people into one run-down apartment, eventually does get old. Luckily, there are forms of financial aid out there to minimize or relieve your debt and help you stretch that public servant salary a little further.
Some of the most well-known career-based assistance programs are designed for teachers. The TEACH grant contributes $4000 a year towards the tuition of students who agree to teach a high-need subject at a low-income school for four years. Other programs such as Teach for America offer teaching certification, a stipend, and assistance with student loan repayment to individuals agreeing to teach in certain schools.
Teachers and other public servants can also qualify to have their Federal Perkins Loans canceled, saving up to $16,000. Nursing students and other medical students can get in on this program, as well. The federal government also launched a public service loan repayment program a year ago that will forgive qualifying federal student loan debt for those who commit ten years to public service. In addition, a variety of government scholarships provide incentives for students in various majors to consider federal work.
An article appearing in USA Today this week also mentions some university-specific programs to help steer students towards public service careers. Harvard Law School will waive tuition for one year for students who commit to five years in government or non-profit fields, and Princeton University will provide free master's degrees to eight 2008 graduates who first put in two years in federal jobs. Tufts University is also helping its undergraduate students pay down debt or pursue graduate degrees if they commit a few years to public service work.
If you're leaning towards a career with a government agency or non-profit organization, be aware of the scholarships, grants, fellowships, internships, and loan repayment programs out there. Include a free college scholarship search in your research to find out about many of your options for funding your education and minimizing your debt.
November 20, 2008
Amid news of tightening budgets and declining endowments, several colleges and universities are putting a greater focus on shoring up financial aid programs and helping their students find money for college. While reports of hiring freezes and halted construction plans has come from numerous institutions, keeping students in school has remained a priority.
This focus on student financial aid is reflected in recent fund raising shifts, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Several schools are introducing or ramping up fund raising efforts directed at providing college scholarships and grants for their students. Among the private colleges increasing fund raising efforts are Cornell University and Barnard College. State universities, such as the University of Texas at Austin, are also increasing effort to meet students' growing financial needs.
College presidents at multiple institutions are even dipping into their own salaries and savings to help their schools. A recent news post in the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis has taken a voluntary 10% pay cut to help reduce operating costs, and the president of the University of Pennsylvania has donated $100,000 to help fund undergraduate research at her university.
All of this goes to show that despite economic trouble, scholarship opportunities are still out there. Keep plugging away at your scholarship search and you can still afford a college education.
August 20, 2008
The results of a poll conducted by Sallie Mae and Gallup were released today, painting a picture of where Americans across income levels find money for college. The study found that sources of funding varied, with parent borrowing (16%), student borrowing (23%), and parent income and savings (32%) taking care of the majority of college costs. Scholarships and grants followed closely behind, making up 15 percent of college funding.
The average grant and scholarship awards and student loan amounts were roughly the same for low income families (families making below $50,000 a year), while middle income families relied most heavily on parent income and student loans, and high income families (families making above $100,000 a year) predominantly used parent income and savings to pay for school.
While more students than parents were likely to rule out a school at some point in their college search based on cost (63% vs. 54%), two in five families said that cost was not a consideration in choosing the right college for them, and 70 percent of students and parents said that future income was not a factor when determining how much to borrow.
Additionally, 20 percent of families reported using either a second mortgage or a credit card to pay some portion of tuition, while only 9 percent of families reported using a college savings plan, such as a 529 plan, to pay for part of tuition (though those who did were able to cover nearly $8,000 of the cost of college with one). The study also found that only 76 percent of students whose families made between $35,000 and $50,000 per year, many of whom may be eligible for state and federal grant programs, did not complete the FAFSA. Only 73 percent of familes making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year completed a FAFSA, despite many families' reliance on loans to pay for college.
The full text of the report is available on the Sallie Mae website.
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