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Get Off the Couch with These Alternative Winter Break Plans

December 12, 2011

Get Off the Couch with These Alternative Winter Break Plans

by Angela Andaloro

We powered past midterms, made it through Thanksgiving and are in the home stretch toward finals. That’s right, it’s the end of the semester and before you know it, winter break will be upon us. Many people go home to spend time with their family and friends, eager to veg and enjoy doing nothing.

Not everyone looks to do this with their break, however: If you’re feeling doing something radically different, here are just two awesome ideas...far, far away from your couch and/or reality television.

It’s usually during the coldest months of the year that we’re looking for a little bit of escape. While these options might not be how you were thinking of getting away, they can actually be better than what you had imagined. Spending the holiday season on a path to a better you could be the best gift you give yourself (not to mention those in need) this year!

Angela Andaloro is a junior at Pace University’s New York City campus, where she is double majoring in communication studies and English. Like most things in New York City, her life and college experience is far from typical – she commutes to school from her home in Flushing and took nearly a semester’s worth of classes online – but she still likes to hang out with friends, go to parties and feed her social networking addiction like your “average” college student.

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This Scholarship of the Week from Dr Pepper is Refreshing Indeed!

Hurry - Dr Pepper Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway Deadline is 12/31

December 12, 2011

This Scholarship of the Week from Dr Pepper is Refreshing Indeed!

by Alexis Mattera

If you need to find money for college and know how to create and upload a video file, have we got a scholarship opportunity for you.

The Dr Pepper Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway gives students age 18 and older the chance to earn up to $100,000 to fund their college educations. Thirsty for more details? We bet you are! To enter, all you have to do is submit an original video explaining why you deserve tuition through the Dr Pepper website by December 31st. Hey, it’s easier – not to mention less dangerous – than describing what Dr Pepper tastes like!

Full guidelines for submission and answers to FAQs can be found on Dr Pepper’s website. To learn more about this award as well as additional scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Berkeley Announces Aid Increase for Middle-Class Students

December 15, 2011

Berkeley Announces Aid Increase for Middle-Class Students

by Alexis Mattera

Not-so-breaking news: College is expensive and the costs associated with it show no sign of stopping their steady climb. What’s a college hopeful to do? Consider a school that’s finding ways to bridge the financial gap, like UC Berkeley.

Beginning next fall, Berkeley will amp up its financial aid contributions for middle-class students. School officials reported that while the number of low-income and wealthy students has increased over the last several years, the number from middle-class families has remained flat. Berkeley hopes to regain the interest of middle-class applicants by becoming the first public university to promise families earning between $80,000 and $140,000 a year will contribute no more than 15 percent of their annual incomes toward tuition.

This news – released just one day after Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $2.2 billion budget shortfall and another severe round of cuts to state colleges and universities – has already been dubbed a game changer by Terry W. Hartle: The senior vice president of the American Council on Education also believes other colleges will channel their competitive spirits and do whatever they can to offer similar programs. Learn more about Berkeley’s plan here then tell us what you think.

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Pell Maximum Maintained, Eligibility Tightened

December 16, 2011

Pell Maximum Maintained, Eligibility Tightened

by Alexis Mattera

The Federal Pell Grant program as we know it has been in jeopardy in recent years but an agreement reached last night will keep its funding intact. While college students will still receive the maximum award amount per year, the number of eligible recipients is a quite different (and unfortunate) story.

The Chronicle reported congressional leaders agreed on a spending bill for the remainder of the current fiscal year that would increase funds for the National Institutes of Health by 1 percent, thereby maintaining the maximum Pell Grant amount of $5,550. To make this $300 million increase possible, however, eligibility for the award has been restricted. Under the bill, Pell Grant funding will only be available to each student for six years instead of nine, high school diplomas or GEDs will be required (no more ability-to-benefit tests) and the income cap for receiving an "automatic zero" expected family contribution will be lowered from $30,000 to $23,000. The interest subsidy on undergraduate student loans during the six-month grace period after a student graduates would also temporarily end.

Yes, the changes are significant but they are far less severe than an earlier bill which would have lowered the income cap to $15,000 and reduced the amount of income working students could exclude when applying for financial aid – changes that would have negatively impacted thousands of college students, especially those attending community colleges. We want to know what you think about the news. Is there a way to maintain federal funding without decreasing eligibility or do you think this bill is the best option?

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James "Rhio" O'Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through February 13th

December 27, 2011

James "Rhio" O'Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund

by Suada Kolovic

James "Rhio" O'Connor was a remarkable man. He was diagnosed with a deadly cancer (mesothelioma) and given a year to live. Instead of giving up he found his own path to health and outlived his prognosis by more than six years. This path to health included creating his own treatment protocol which consisted of: vitamins, minerals, vegetables and fruits components, essential fatty acids, amino acids, enzymes, herbs, a healthy (primarily vegetarian) diet and mind-body medicine. This protocol along with Rhio's optimistic spirit, belief in something greater than himself, and the ability to make tough choices helped him beat his prognosis and live with a cancer considered "incurable" for many years.

Undergraduate students at colleges and universities in the United States are invited to honor Rhio's spirit of self-determination and intellectual curiosity by writing an essay about what they would do if they faced the same challenges that Rhio faced. For example, why are alternative therapies used by cancer patients when they are not FDA approved? Should cancer patients and doctors be able to use whatever treatments they like in treating cancer? Should medicinal medicine and folk knowledge have any relevancy in cancer? It is estimated that it costs over $400 million to bring a new cancer drug to market. Does that establish roadblocks for the testing and approval of alternative therapies?

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university. High school students are ineligible unless they are 18 year of age or older and are also attending a college or university. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Dealing With Your Admissions Decision

December 19, 2011

Dealing With Your Admissions Decision

by Kara Coleman

So you’re a high school senior and you’ve just applied early to the school of your dreams. With those decision letters starting to roll in, all sorts of questions are probably running through your mind. What happens if you're accepted, deferred or – horror of horrors – rejected?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. If you receive a rejection letter, remember that it’s not the end of the world. Politely try to find out why you were denied admission and begin working on improvements. You’ve got a whole semester of high school left to study hard and enroll in challenging courses that show you’re a dedicated student. Don’t give up on your dream school, even if it means you must attend another college first. If you reapply after you have some college classes under your belt, admissions officers will see you are capable of doing college-level work. It’s also a really good idea to apply to more than one college in case you are not accepted into your dream school.

The same principles apply if your admission is deferred until a later date but the good news here is that you still have a shot at being accepted! Most likely, admissions officers just wants to review the entire pool of applicants before they make their decision. What you need to do now is update your resume as you win new awards or enroll in new clubs or activities and have someone write a new letter of recommendation. It will strengthen your chances of getting in!

If you do get accepted to the college of your dreams, don’t relax and get comfortable just yet! Take advantage of any AP or college-level courses available to you during this last semester of your senior year or over the summer. Explore your financial aid options to ensure you can afford to attend – new scholarships are announced every day! It’s also important to establish connections with the college by talking to your adviser and meeting your RA as soon as possible. If you plan on getting involved with student groups or clubs, contact the faculty advisers and let them know you are interested. That way, you will already have an edge your first day on campus!

This summer, Kara Coleman graduated from Gadsden State Community College with an Associate of Arts degree. She is currently studying communications with concentration in print journalism at Jacksonville State University Kara's writing has been featured in Teen Ink magazine and she is a children's author through Big Dif Books.

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“When you’re here, you’re family” in this Scholarship of the Week

December 19, 2011

“When you’re here, you’re family” in this Scholarship of the Week

by Suada Kolovic

Now through Sunday, Jan. 29, Olive Garden is asking writers in first through 12th-grade in the U.S. and Canada to submit an essay of 50 to 250 words answering the question:

"If you were given $5,000 to support education in your local community, how would you use it and why?"

The grand prize winner of Olive Garden’s Pasta Tales essay writing contest will receive a three-day trip to New York City that includes dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. In addition, Olive Garden will provide a $5,000 grant to support education in the winner’s local community, which will bring his/her essay to life. The winners in each grade category will be awarded a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant.

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

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And the Least Indebted Graduates Are...

U.S. News Lists Schools with Lowest Average Debt for 2010 Grads

December 28, 2011

And the Least Indebted Graduates Are...

by Alexis Mattera

If you are a recent college graduate, those student loans you haven’t thought about in four or more years are about to come calling...and collecting. While some students’ debt tallies are quite large, the amounts owed by others are much more manageable.

U.S. News & World Report has reported that the average amount of student loan debt (defined as money loaned to students from colleges, financial institutions and the government, not including parent loans) for a 2010 college graduate was about $25,000 but this number truly varies depending on what school a student calls his or her alma mater: For example, 2010 graduates of Alice Lloyd College have an average total indebtedness of only $3,108 and those from Princeton owe just $4,385, due in large part to more grants, scholarships and work study that do not require repayment. Here are all of the schools that made the top 10 and the average amount of student loan debt 2010 graduates incurred:

Does this information have you reevaluating your college plans or financial aid choices?

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Is College Still Worthwhile?

December 30, 2011

Is College Still Worthwhile?

by Alexis Mattera

There’s been much debate about the true value of a college degree. This isn’t surprising given rising tuition costs and lower employment rates but a new study by a 2011 Trinity College graduate reveals spending the time and money to obtain a college degree is still very much worthwhile.

That graduate – Sarah Millar – came to this conclusion by examining data from government and private sources as well as her own personal experience as a college student. She found that although college costs have climbed an average of 6.4 percent each year since 1981 and annual income has only risen 0.4 percent in that time, the average take-home pay of college graduates is $38,950 versus $21,500 of students who only graduated high school. Unemployment rates of the two groups are also in favor or college degree holders – as of last month, 4.4 percent to 9.6 percent – and earnings of college grads exceed high school grads by more than $1 million over 40 years. Millar does note that all colleges and majors are not created equal, though, as average starting salaries of recent grads in specific fields of study from well-known or prestigious schools are more than those from state universities or smaller private colleges.

Check out more information from the study here then tell us: What do you think of Millar’s findings?

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The Short and Tweet Twitter Scholarship is Back!

Your School-Related Resolution for 2012 Could Earn You $1,000

January 4, 2012

The Short and Tweet Twitter Scholarship is Back!

by Suada Kolovic

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 2012? 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 2012 *AND* how will you stick to it?” Once you do this, you are entered to win a $1,000 scholarship or one of two Kindles.

Step 3: You may enter as many times as you want from January 4th through February 10th but please limit your tweets to five 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 February 10th deadline will not be considered. From there, the Scholarships.com Team will determine which comments are most deserving of the awards.

  • Starts: January 4th
  • Ends: February 10th
  • Number Available: 3
  • Amount: $1,000 for one first-place winner; one Kindle 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.

For official rules, please click here.

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