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More Students Receiving Financial Aid

April 15, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

As college costs continue to rise, the percentage of students receiving financial aid also continues to grow.  As of the 2007-2008 academic year, a full two-thirds of undergraduate students received some form of student financial aid, with 47 percent receiving federal aid. This is according to the "First Look" report on the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study published by the National Center for Education Statistics yesterday.

The First Look report shows that the percentage of students receiving aid has continued to increase, from 63 percent in 2003-2004, and 55 percent in 1999-2000.  It also provides a breakdown of the percentage of students receiving different forms of financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, federal student loans, federal work-study, and federal PLUS loans.  According to the report, 52 percent of students received college scholarships and grants, while 38 percent of students borrowed federal student loans.  Relatively few students took advantage of work-study and PLUS loans.

NCES collects and publishes data on financial aid every three years and the First Look report is typically followed by a more in-depth analysis.  The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study draws from a sizable sample of students:  114,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduates at 1,600 colleges and universities. Additional information is available on the NCES website.

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College Students' Credit Card Debt Increasing

April 16, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

While an increasing number of college students received financial aid in the 2007-2008 academic year, that calendar year students also ran up more credit card debt.  The average college student owed $3,173 on credit cards in March 2008, compared to $2,169 in 2004.  This information comes from the student lender Sallie Mae, which has been tracking students' credit card debt since 1998.

The study also found that student credit card debt increases with grade level.  The average freshman owed $2,038 on credit cards, while the average senior owed $4,138.  The money is not just being spent on beer and pizza, either.  According to a supplemental survey by Sallie Mae, the vast majority of students (92 percent) report charging at least one educational expense, such as books, to a credit card.  This figure is also higher than in 2004, as is the percentage of students charging tuition to a credit card, which now stands at nearly 30 percent.  Students reported charging an average of $2,000 in educational expenses to credit cards.

Higher tuition, a poor economy, and difficulty finding private loans may have already pushed these numbers higher for 2009.  With high interest rates and the need to begin repayment immediately, credit cards are one of the worst ways to pay for school.  Scholarship opportunities and federal student financial aid should definitely be explored before students resort to charging tuition to a card.  A variety of grants and scholarships, as well as low interest student loans, can help students avoid credit card debt while in college, and keep their debt from consuming their entire salary when they graduate.  Before you reach for the plastic to pay your campus bills, spend a few minutes doing a free scholarship search.  You may be very glad you did.

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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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Anonymous Donations Fund Scholarships at Several Universities

April 21, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

In the past few weeks, at least nine universities have received donations of at least $1 million, with instructions that the money be used primarily to fund scholarship programs. The donations, which total at least $45 million, have been given to colleges across the country since March, according to the Associated Press.

While anonymous donations happen from time to time, this circumstance is still highly unusual, since no college officials know who provided the gifts.  Typically, the college knows the donor's identity but agrees not to reveal it.  However, schools benefiting from this wave of anonymous donations have been contacted by representatives of banks or law firms, rather than by the donors themselves, and have been asked not to attempt to ascertain the donor's identity.

The donations have largely been met with gratitude. They are well-timed, given the state of the economy and many colleges' current attempts to meet the increased financial need of students.  Families are experiencing greater need for financial aid, and colleges' endowment funds, including endowed scholarships, have lost large amounts of money, giving them fewer resources to use.

For students at these colleges, as well as other schools that have recently benefited from generous donations, the scholarship opportunities they provide could mean the difference between attending college and staying home.  However, these anonymous donors are not the only people out there dedicated to making a college education possible for students in tough times.  You can do a free scholarship search for information on more scholarship awards.

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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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SpendonLife Credit Challenged Scholarship

May 18, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

The current state of the economy has made it increasingly difficult for students with poor or average credit to borrow money for college.  With many student loan companies announcing plans to cease or greatly scale back lending, and other companies drastically increasing credit requirements, student borrowers may feel like they have nowhere to turn.  College scholarships, such as this week's Scholarship of the Week, can help bridge this gap, however.  The SpendonLife Credit Challenged Scholarship offers awards of up to $5,000 to students struggling to pay for school after being denied student loans based on credit.

Prize: Up to 10 scholarship awards in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000

Eligibility: High school students and college students ages 17-25 who will be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the 2009-2010 academic year or who are currently enrolled in college.  Applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. and must have been rejected for a private student loan based on credit.

Deadline: June 15, 2009

Required Material: A completed scholarship application and an essay of 500 words or less answering the question, "How has the slowed economy personally affected you, either financially or emotionally?"

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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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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