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More Early Filers for 2009-2010 FAFSA

March 12, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

More students are completing the FAFSA early for 2009-2010 according to data collected by the Department of Education.  By the end of February, more than 3 million students had filed their FAFSA for the next academic year, an increase of over 20 percent from the first two months of 2008.  As application deadlines approach, this flood of applications could slow, but right now it looks like there will be more demand for financial aid in the coming school year.

Federal student financial aid is becoming an increasingly attractive means of paying for college.  For starters, federal aid is up for 2009-2010--in the case of Federal Pell Grants, way up.  A combination of factors has boosted maximum grants to $5,350 in 2009-2010, while simultaneously raising the minimum award to $976 and the maximum qualifying Expected Family Contribution to $4,671.  Low interest rates and expanded federal loan cancellation and consolidation options are also making federal student loans more appealing.

Meanwhile, several other payment options aren't doing so well.  Private loans became harder to obtain in 2008, and also saw fairly substantial interest rate increases.  College savings plans, such as 529 plans, took big hits in the stock market, and even some prepaid tuition plans are struggling to guarantee payouts for upcoming years.  College endowments have also been affected by financial troubles, and some endowed scholarships may be reduced or unavailable for the coming academic year.

However, this doesn't mean the FAFSA is the only option for student financial aid.  Most states are maintaining funding for their scholarship programs, many colleges are increasing aid where possible, and scholarship opportunities are still out there--though many deadlines are approaching--for students who are willing and able to take the time to do a scholarship search and complete some scholarship applications.

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The Brower Youth Awards

April 6, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to people and governments worldwide.  Not surprisingly, many scholarship opportunities exist for students committed to improving their environments and the lives of those around them.  One such scholarship is this week's Scholarship of the Week, The Brower Youth Awards.

Since 2000, the Earth Island Institute has been sponsoring the Brower Youth Awards, which recognize young activists for environmental and social justice with $3,000 monetary awards and other resources to further their education and activism.  The awards were created in memory of David Brower, an environmental activist and the founder of the Earth Island Institute.  Students interested in applying should be between the ages of 13 and 22, and should be able to show previous leadership in an activist or community service campaign that has had a demonstrable impact on environmental or social welfare.

Prize:

$3,000 plus a trip to California for the awards ceremony and a wilderness camping trip, and the opportunity to continue working with the Earth Island Institute on future projects

Eligibility:

Students ages 13-22 who reside in North America and are current youth activist leaders 

Deadline:

May 15, 2009

Required Material:

Completed Brower Youth Award scholarship application, which can be requested online through the Brower Youth Award website.  Your application should demonstrate your leadership role in your project, as well as your project's environmental or social impact.

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.

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Dr. Alma Adams Scholarship

April 20, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Students who are passionate about public health and also have a creative side may be interested in applying for this week's Scholarship of the Week, the Dr. Alma Adams Scholarship.  Adams Scholarships are awarded to students for their outstanding community service and use of artistic abilities to increase awareness about the toll of tobacco within underserved communities.  The awards recognize Alma Adams, a professional artist, educator, North Carolina state legislator and former board member of the American Legacy Foundation.

Up to two scholarships will be awarded each year to students who are pursuing a career related to public health and who have placed an emphasis on working with disadvantaged communities or groups that have been particularly targeted by tobacco advertising campaigns.  Adams Scholarships are awarded to students who have shown a commitment to educate members of these communities about tobacco and drug use, especially through creative campaigns.

Prize:

$10,000

Eligibility:

High school seniors and current undergraduate or graduate students planning to pursue a career in public health, health communications, social work, education, or a related field.  Applicants must demonstrate financial need and must have received a GPA of at least 3.0 in the most recent academic year.  Applicants should also have previous experience working with an underserved community, particularly working to prevent tobacco or drug use. 

Deadline:

April 30, 2009

Required Material:

A completed scholarship application, a personal statement of 500-600 words, a copy of your Student Aid Report and most recent transcripts, and samples of your originally developed health communication materials.

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.

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The Akash Kuruvilla Memorial Scholarship

April 27, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

This week's Scholarship of the Week is the Akash Kuruvilla Memorial Scholarship, an award created to keep alive Akash Kuruvilla's legacy of leadership, diversity, integrity and academia by rewarding students who share these same values.  One male and one female undergraduate student will receive a $1,000 scholarship award based on academics, extracurriculars, work and volunteer experience, financial need and a response to the question, "What does the phrase 'the American dream' mean to you, and how do you embody the American dream?"

Prize:

$1,000

Eligibility:

High school seniors and current undergraduate students who will be enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program in fall 2009.  Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale if high school seniors, or 3.0 on a 4.0 scale if current undergraduates. 

Deadline:

June 1, 2009

Required Material:

Completed scholarship application, copy of most recent academic transcript, Student Aid Report from FAFSA, résumé, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a 750-word scholarship essay on the American dream.

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.

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Scholarships Are Still Available for Students Short on Aid

May 1, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

As prospective college students are making their final decisions and sending in deposits to their schools of choice, many are finding themselves unexpectedly short on financial aid.  The New York Times and Los Angeles Times each ran a story today on California high school seniors struggling to pay for school in the midst of their state's continuing economic woes.  State budget difficulties have caused schools to limit enrollment and stretch institutional aid even thinner, while high unemployment means more students need more aid than before.

Students in Florida are also struggling to make up for an unexpected gap in their financial aid.  According to the Miami Herald, recipients of the state's Bright Futures scholarships will not see an increase in their awards next year, despite projected tuition hikes of 8 to 15 percent across the state.

Other states and university systems are also facing difficulties meeting students' full financial need, so many other students are likely to be in this boat.  If you've completed a FAFSA and applied for institutional and state aid, but are still short of what you need to pay for school, there are still scholarship opportunities out there, even this late in the game.  For example, Scholarships.com is currently accepting applications for our Resolve to Evolve Scholarship, a $1,000 award that can be applied towards your tuition next fall. There are many other college scholarships available. You can find out more by doing a free scholarship search.

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Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarship

May 4, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

This week's Scholarship of the Week is more than just a scholarship award, but a chance to speak out on issues that matter to you and potentially bring about meaningful change.  Scholarships.com is now accepting applications for the annual Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarship.

The Resolve to Evolve Scholarship is about more than just making resolutions—it’s about creating change and furthering our evolution as individuals and a society. We must resolve to proactively and progressively confront challenges, however daunting. The “R2E” essay scholarship is an opportunity to move beyond finger-pointing and offer constructive criticism and workable solutions for problems facing an administration or an organization. Winners will not only receive a $1,000 college scholarship, but will also have their essays forwarded to officials who have the power to potentially act upon each essay’s suggestions.

This year, the themes focus on calls for change and general education requirements in colleges.  Applicants may respond to one of two questions: 1. Do general education requirements add to or detract from the ability to attain a useful and meaningful college degree? How can colleges both prepare students for careers in their intended fields and produce well-rounded graduates? or 2. After an election filled with calls for change, what changes are most important for America to undergo, and what steps must be taken to make these changes?

Prize: Five $1,000 scholarships

Eligibility: The Scholarships.com "Resolve to Evolve" Essay Scholarship is open to all United States citizens who are registered users of the Scholarships.com web site and meet the following criteria: Applicant must be a currently enrolled full-time undergraduate or graduate student or a non-traditional/returning student who will be enrolled at a U.S. Department of Education accredited 2-year or 4-year college, university or vocational school at the time the prize is awarded. Must be age 19 or older to apply. Proof of enrollment required.

Deadline: July 31, 2009

Required Material: Applications require three parts.  The first part is a 300 to 800 word response to one of two essay prompts.  The second is a shorter personal statement, answering the question "What do you feel has been or will be your biggest obstacle in attending college, and how do you think your degree will help you achieve your goals?"  The third part of the application is a letter of recommendation from an individual who knows you well enough to speak authoritatively about your character and abilities.  Applications must be printed (not handwritten) and mailed to the address provided in the scholarship information.

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.

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Bridgestone Safety Scholars Video Contest

May 11, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

College and high school students between the ages of 16 and 21 have the chance to win money for college by making a video promoting safer or more environmentally aware driving in this week's Scholarship of the Week.  The Bridgestone Safety Scholars video contest asks students to create an original public service announcement addressing either automotive safety or automotive environmentalism.

Videos must be either 25 or 55 seconds in length, must be the creator's original work, and cannot incorporate content or locations the creator does not have legal permission to use in a film.  Entries can be submitted online between May 27 and June 17, and on June 25 the top ten videos selected by Bridgestone Americas will be posted online.  Three grand prize winners will then be chosen from the top ten by popular voting.  Winners will receive both $5,000 in scholarship money and a trip to the 2010 Chicago auto show.

Prize: $5,000

Eligibility: Students ages 16 to 21 who are United States citizens or permanent residents and are currently enrolled in either high school or an accredited college or trade school.

Deadline: June 17, 2009

Required Material: An original video, 25 or 55 seconds in length, that addresses issues of either automotive safety or automotive environmentalism.  Videos must be uploaded to the Safety Scholars website between May 27 and June 17 along with a completed registration form.

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.

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Incentive for Unemployed to Attend College

May 12, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

The Obama administration recently announced steps that will be taken to make it easier for unemployed Americans to return to college and pay for school. Through a national effort to revise unemployment benefits and financial aid packaging, the administration hopes to make it possible for more displaced workers to return to school.

Currently, many states reduce or cancel unemployment benefits for students who are enrolled in college part-time or full-time, removing the possibility of a financial cushion that could enable more people to afford to enroll in school. In addition, financial aid is calculated based on previous year income, so lost wages are still included when estimating a student’s ability to pay. Even after financial aid is adjusted to reflect a job loss, income from earlier that year is still included and can disqualify a student from receiving a Pell Grant or other need-based aid their first year of school. In some cases, unemployment benefits also are currently counted as income, further compounding the problem.

To help alleviate these problems and encourage the unemployed to enroll in college, financial aid administrators are being given more leeway in using professional judgment to determine unemployed students’ ability to pay, and states are being encouraged to revise their policies to encourage college as an option. In addition, many community colleges nationwide are offering financial incentive to unemployed students who enroll, such as free or reduced tuition. If you’re unemployed and thinking of college, complete the FAFSA, talk to schools in your area, and finally, do a scholarship search to find additional money for college.

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Claricode Medical Software Essay Scholarship

May 26, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Healthcare is constantly growing and changing in many ways, making it one of the most interesting fields to enter as a career.  Even people who don't plan to devote their lives to health professions often find themselves following medical advances with interest.  A major step in the evolution of healthcare in coming years will be the adoption of medical software that will allow for more universal recordkeeping and hopefully better patient care. This week's Scholarship of the Week gives current college students an opportunity to research this topic in depth for the chance to win $2,500.

To encourage college students in all disciplines to think and write about this topic, Claricode is sponsoring a scholarship essay contest asking students to discuss the potential of medical software in essays of 500 to 1,000 words.  Essays will be judged on the following criteria: idea development, clarity of vision, creativity, practicality, and spelling and grammar.

Prize: First place: $2,500; Second place: $1,500; Third place: $1,000

Eligibility: Any U.S. citizen or resident age 18 and up who is currently enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program and will remain enrolled full-time when the scholarship is awarded in January 2010. Applications are welcome from students in all areas of study.

Deadline: October 31, 2009

Required Material: Completed scholarship application and scholarship essay of 500-1000 words addressing the question, "How will medical software improve the future?"

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.

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The Lincoln Forum Scholarship Essay Contest

June 1, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

This week's Scholarship of the Week is an essay scholarship that should appeal to fans of political science and U.S. history, though it's open to students of every major.  The Lincoln Forum's Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest offers a top prize of $1,000 for student essays on one of America's most influential presidents.

The 2008 elections brought a renewed interest in Abraham Lincoln, with frequent comparisons made between him and President Obama.  Building on this theme, The Lincoln Forum is inviting current undergraduate students to submit essays on the topic, "Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln: Getting Right with Lincoln." The scholarship essay contest asks students to discuss which other presidents, in addition to Obama, have been inspired by Lincoln, and to also explore what lessons can be learned from Lincoln's presidency by the Obama administration.

Prize: 

     
  • First prize: $1,000
  •  
  • Second prize: $500
  •  
  • Third prize: $250
  •  
 Eligibility:

Undergraduate students who were enrolled full-time in the spring semester of 2009 at an American college or university.  U.S. citizenship is not required. 

Deadline:

July 31, 2009

Required Material:

A completed scholarship essay addressing this year's theme in 1,500 to 5,000 words. Essays must be typed and submitted via postal mail or e-mail and must include a works cited page or bibliography.

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.

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