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Five Tips for Maximizing Merit Aid

Jul 11, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Figuring out the bottom line when it comes to the cost of your college education is definitely stressful. With everything that goes into determining your financial aid package (your parents’ income, your earnings and your family’s net assets), it’s important to understand that merit aid (aid based on a student’s attributes like (academics, athletics, extracurriculars, etc.) is available to student regardless of their “need.” New federal rules are blurring the distinction between scholarships awarded on merit and grants awarded because of a student’s financial need – for instance, a growing number of colleges now award “need-based” aid to students from families earning six figures! – so we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to maximize your chances for merit aid and increase your overall financial aid package.

  1. Fill out the FAFSA. Federal rules have changed and college aid officials are now allowed to award need-based aid to students whose parents earned decent salaries last year but have recently been laid off; institutions can also make accommodations for a family’s unique circumstances, such as high medical bills.
  2. Apply to schools where you’d rank at the top. While your dream school might be an Ivy League, you should apply to at least a few colleges where your GPA would put you in the top 25 percent of the student body.
  3. Do the research. If you’re interested in a college, find out what it has to offer when it comes to merit aid. You might qualify for more awards than you think!
  4. Before making a final decision, compare net prices. Consider the cost of attendance in its entirety, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and transportation. The school that offers the most in merit aid might not be the best choice; sometimes the college offering the largest merit scholarship might have the highest net price because its tuition is higher.
  5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Believe it or not, you have leverage when it comes to negotiating your merit aid package. If you have received admission letters from two or more universities and your first choice has a higher net price than your second choice, contact your first choice institution (which one is “that institution”...first or second choice?)! Some schools might be willing to match the merit aid offered, which would provide you the opportunity to attend your first choice school for less money!

Can you think of any tips that we might have missed? If so, please add them to our comments section! For more information on finding money for college and how to properly fund your college education, check out Scholarships.com Financial Aid section.

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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Newsflash: University Offers Athletic Scholarship to Gamers

Jun 24, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

An Illinois university is redefining the traditional notion of what it means to be a college athlete: This fall, Robert Morris University will be the first school in the country to offer athletic scholarships to students who play the video game League of Legends. Gamers rejoice!

Citing the "large surge in popularity" of video game competitions, the university announced that it "recognizes the value and legitimacy of eSports and is excited to add eSports to its already rich athletic curriculum." Since news of the scholarships broke last week, the school has received hundreds of inquiries from prospective e-athletes. Interested in the details? Robert Morris will fund about 30 renewable scholarships, some of which will be valued at $19,000! Robert Morris’ team will join the Collegiate Star League, made up of 103 universities, including Arizona State, George Washington and Harvard. Kurt Melcher, Robert Morris University’s associate athletic director, said he's happy to see online athletes included in the school's sports program. "League of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires a significant amount of teamwork to be successful," he said in a statement. "Robert Morris has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for a diverse student population with different interests and skills." (For more on this story, click here.)

Is Robert Morris’ inclusion of eSports the wave of the future? Should other schools begin offering athletic scholarships to gamers? Let us know your thought in the comments section. For additional information on more traditional athletic scholarships, head over to Scholarships.com’s Sports Scholarships section. Be sure to check out our examples of school-based and sports scholarships from outside organizations and don't rule out academic scholarships when applying for funding either!

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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Make a Video. Win a Scholarship. Save a life.

Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship Deadline is March 17th

Mar 11, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition designed to bring about change. As an applicant, you have one clear mission: encourage other teens to develop and embrace safe driving habits. Specifically - don't text and drive. The first-place winner will receive a scholarship in the amount of $2,000. The second-place winner will receive $500 and the third-place winner will receive $200. In addition to a scholarship, the winning video will be turned into an Ad Council PSA and will be distributed nationally to 1,600 TV stations.

People wait their entire lives to impact positive change on the world. Through this project, we are offering you that opportunity now. You can play a key role in spreading this important message because you can speak to your peers in a way that adults cannot. The more lives you can impact, the more lives you can save. We want to see your personal expression come through in your video. You can video yourself, a group of people, make a cartoon, do a music video - just keep it to a minute or less and make sure it's in good taste.

If you are interested in learning more about this or other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search 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!

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Like Scholarships.com? Tell a Friend to Win $1,000 in This SOTW!

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 31st

Feb 24, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

As a Scholarships.com member, you have free access to a customized scholarship search, detailed financial aid information, an organized college search, standardized test study guides and much more. Like what you see? Spread the word about Scholarships.com to your friends through our “Tell A Friend” Scholarship and you'll have a chance to win money for college - $1,000 for you and $500 for one of your buddies.

To enter, simply copy your personalized TAF referral link and blog it, tweet it, email it, IM it or Facebook it. For every one of your friends who creates a profile on our site by clicking your link, you will be entered to win a $1,000 award; there’s no limit as to how many people you can send your link to and if you win, one of your friends who created a Scholarships.com profile using your link will be chosen at random to win $500.

For more information, visit our Tell a Friend Scholarship page and for additional scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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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Win $10K in this Scholarship of the Week!

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through March 1st

Feb 17, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Looking for a scholarship that doesn’t require an essay? Well, look no further than ScholarshipPoints for your chance to win a $10,000 scholarship. ScholarshipPoints is free to join, fun to participate in, and provides you with the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in scholarships every month. Members earn scholarship points for doing what they already do online: shopping, reading blogs, playing games, searching the web, taking surveys and more! The more you do – the more points you earn – the more chances you have at winning a scholarship. They gave away over $145,000 in scholarships in 2013 and are hoping to give away even more in 2014! Join today and you could be their next scholarship winner!

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search 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!

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Rapper Juicy J Awards Student $50,000 College Scholarship

Jan 16, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

While it may come to no surprise that Michele Obama is urging young students to pursue a higher education, she’s not the only one who understands its value. Take for instance Rapper Juicy J: He recently awarded a young woman a $50,000 “twerking” scholarship! Did we mention that her winning entry involved no twerking at all?

Last August, the Oscar-winning rapper launched the Juicy J Scholarship Foundation and tweeted that he would award the scholarship “to the best chick that can twerk.” He later admitted that entrants were not required to do the popular dance move and that he would give the funds to the college-bound recipient who needed it most. And that individual was Zaire Holmes, a 19-year-old student at the State College of Florida. Holmes, a full-time mother and student, said in her video submission that her aspirations of becoming a doctor would require 11 years of schooling and that financial aid alone would not cover her expenses. Touched by her story, Juicy J announced her as the winner and said, “You remind me of myself. When I was 19, I was like really, really working hard.” After her big win, the South Florida native shared her hopes of transferring from the State College of Florida to either the University of Florida or the University of South Florida to study medicine. (For more on this story, click here.)

What do you think of the rapper’s take on giving back to the community? Let us know in the comments section.

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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Register and Win $500 from Scholarships.com

New Winner Selected Every Month!

Jan 2, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Looking for a way to pay for your college education that includes free money? Well, you’re in luck! Here at Scholarships.com, we provide users with the most relevant scholarships and educational information out there.

By registering at Scholarships.com, you’ll have access to more than 2.7 million local, state and national college scholarships and grants worth $1.9 billion...and did we mention that you’ll be eligible to win $500 automatically just for registering? That’s right: Filling out a complete profile will enter you into our monthly drawing for $500. No lengthy essay or massive application packet required – it doesn't get any easier than that. Complete your profile, get entered to win $500 and start exploring additional scholarship options today!

For the complete rules, click here.

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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SOTW: Girls Impact the World Film Festival Scholarship

Deadline Quickly Approaching

Dec 23, 2013

by Suada Kolovic

The Girls Impact the World Film Festival, presented by the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative (SIC) and Connecther, is a film festival and scholarship program in which high school and undergraduate college students submit 3-5 minute short films that focus on a variety of global women's issues, including maternal health, microfinance initiatives, child-marriage, sex-trafficking, poverty alleviation, etc.

Winners will receive a monetary prize, film distribution channels via SIC, Connecther and Creative Visions networks, as well as an internship opportunity at Creative Visions in Los Angeles. An official screening and red carpet will take place at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, MA on February 22. The film festival has marketing partners in college campuses across the nation.

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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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The Short and Tweet Twitter Scholarship is Back!

Your School-Related Resolution for 2014 Could Earn You $1,000

Dec 16, 2013

by Alexis Mattera

Every January, we all make resolutions for the year ahead – resolutions that are, unfortunately, usually forgotten by February. Want to make a vow you’ll actually keep and earn money for college at the same time this year? Then enter our newest Short & Tweet Scholarship!

What’s on your educational to-do list in 2014? Whether it’s getting into your dream school, decoding the FAFSA or simply setting two alarms so you don’t miss your morning classes, we want to know! Follow us on Twitter and mention us (@Scholarshipscom) in a tweet detailing your school-related resolution and how you plan to keep it. Here’s how to enter:

Step 1: Follow @Scholarshipscom on Twitter.

Step 2: Mention us (@Scholarshipscom) in a tweet answering the question “What’s your school-related resolution for 2014 *AND* how will you stick to it?” Once you do this, you are entered to win a $1,000 scholarship or one of two Kindle Fires.

Step 3: You may enter as many times as you want from December 16th through January 31st but please limit your tweets to one per day. Each tweet will be a stand-alone entry and tweets that are submitted by non-followers, exceed 140 characters, do not include @Scholarshipscom, do not answer the entire question or are submitted after the January 31st deadline will not be considered. From there, the Scholarships.com Team will determine which comments are most deserving of the awards.

  • Starts: December 16th
  • Ends: January 31st
  • Number Available: 3
  • Amount: $1,000 for one first-place winner; one Kindle Fire each for second- and third-place winners

This scholarship competition is offered by Scholarships.com and is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter.

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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Scholarship Displacement Explained

Dec 13, 2013

by Suada Kolovic

Here at Scholarships.com, we make a point to advocate the importance of funding your college education the right way – for free! – and while financing your higher education solely from scholarships is an amazing feat, there is a factor to consider: scholarship displacement.

If you don’t know what scholarship displacement is, you’re not alone. Believe it or not, winning a scholarship may not be the end-all be-all when it comes to paying for school because they can complicate the financial aid package offered by your intended university. Why? When a student wins a scholarship, the college may reduce the student’s need-based financial aid package to compensate. For example, say a university offers a student a $15,000 grant and an additional $15,000 loan to cover the cost of attending. If the student were then to win a scholarship for $15,000, the college could retract its $15,000 grant. Colleges call this an over-award and the scholarship providers call it displacement.

Although this may seem discouraging, it shouldn’t dissuade you from applying to scholarships altogether. Instead, do your homework, speak with your admissions counselor and know where your intended college stands when it comes to their scholarship policies. If you’re brining a lot of scholarship dollars to the table, you have options. Every college is different and has their own guidelines when it comes to outside scholarships. If one university doesn’t allow you to put those scholarship dollars to other costs – loans, books, room and board, etc. – enroll at one that does. You could also enlist the help of the scholarship sponsor: Some scholarship providers may have a lot of clout with the college, especially if their scholars make up millions of dollars of funding to the college.

If you have any additional questions about scholarship displacement, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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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This Scholarship of the Week? You're Lovin’ It

Ronald McDonald House Charities U.S. Scholarship Program Deadline is January 21st

Nov 11, 2013

by Suada Kolovic

Next time you pass a McDonald’s restaurant and begin playing one of the chain’s many jingles in your head, remember this: Behind the all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed buns is some serious scholarship money.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities U.S. Scholarship Program offers offer aid to students in financial need who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership and community involvement. Scholarships are for students in the United States living in areas where there are participating local RMHC Chapters. (To view a complete list of participating RMHC Chapters, their respective counties and the scholarships they offer, please click here.) Graduating high school seniors may only apply for one of the four scholarships available and applicants will be notified of scholarship award status in May or June.

The deadline for the current academic year is January 21st! For more information on this award and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today.

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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