Archive for the ‘College Financing’ Category

College Guide to Building and Protecting Credit

Monday, March 10th, 2014

With so many things to consider as you make the transition from high school to college, your credit score hardly seems like your most important concern.  The fact is, many college students first come to terms with their own credit status as they look for ways to cover tuition and other expenses associated with post-secondary education. And many are disappointed with what they find in their credit reports.

Young adults are at a disadvantage in the lending industry; primarily because most have not established themselves with long histories of borrowing money and successfully repaying it.  Despite limited exposure, there are ways to move your credit standing in a positive direction – before, during and after college.  The keys to increasing credit worthiness are understanding how financial interactions work and making sure your borrowing relationships always have positive outcomes.

What Matters?

Building a good credit rating doesn’t happen overnight, which is precisely why young people are not in the best position for proving their creditworthiness.  Your credit health is based on a series of evaluations conducted by three primary credit reporting agencies.  By looking at your borrowing and repayment history, credit agencies assign a number to your performance.  The scale tops-out at 850, with scores above 700 representing what would generally be considered “good credit”.

To arrive at the figure, credit evaluation organizations look at the types of borrowing in your past.  The highest scores are assigned to borrowers with long track records of repayment success.  The function of your credit score is to provide assurances to lenders that you are able and willing to pay borrowed money back.  Banks and other lenders want to limit their own risk levels, so they use credit reports to determine whether or not you are a safe prospect.  And it isn’t only the number of credit accounts you’ve successfully managed, but also the types.

Types of Credit

There are essentially two types of credit that show-up on credit histories, influencing how credit scores are assigned.  Revolving credit, on one hand, applies to credit relationships like the ones extended by MasterCard and Visa.  Under the terms of revolving contracts, consumers make purchases and payments on a “revolving” basis, usually tied to calendar months.  Purchases made during this month will typically bill during the following month, influencing the account balance and minimum payment requirements.  Covering the entire cost of a purchase wipes the slate clean, without interest charges being added.  When balances are carried over, however, the issuing creditor adds a few percentage points of interest to the card balance, which borrowers pay above and beyond the cost of items purchased.

Managing revolving credit accounts is a great credit-building opportunity for young people.  Even if you only have one major credit card; making on-time payments and successfully managing revolving balances shows creditors you are responsible enough to meet your financial obligations.

The other class of lending that credit agencies evaluate is called installment credit.  Unlike revolving terms, installment credit involves a single one-time loan, which is set-up for repayment over a designated period of time.  Home mortgages, for example, extend for decades of repayment, requiring borrowers to pay the same amount each month, until the loan balance and interest are fully accounted for.  Because they show long-term credit relationships, installment loans provide important references for creditors, who assign higher credit scores to individuals with proven installment loan repayment successes in their credit histories.

Automobile loans are excellent examples of installment loans undertaken by young people.  While you may not take out a mortgage during college, a successful history paying back your installment car loan is an important credit-building opportunity.  Missing even one payment can have a negative impact on your credit score, so repaying on-time should never be taken lightly.

In addition to credit cards and car loans, utility and phone contracts also furnish ways for college students to build and protect their credit standing.  Staying current on required payments adds fortification to your positive repayment history, furnishing more examples for credit agencies to look at.

Even student loans are part of your credit history, so staying on pace with repayment is another way to shine among creditors.  Never let a student loan default – it has negative impacts on your credit rating.  Instead, use deferments or grace periods to offset payments until you are financial able to cover your commitments.  Working with lenders before you run into problems is a much better strategy than picking up the pieces following student loan default.

While college students don’t always have the lengthy, diverse credit history shared by seasoned borrowers; there are still ways to move credit ratings forward.  Above all else, take care to manage your accounts properly; repaying loans on schedule and keep revolving accounts current.

This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes about free background check for She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Associations, Agencies, and Companies that Provide Scholarships and Awards to Allied Health Students

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Many allied healthcare career fields have excellent employment prospects, including medical assisting, dental assisting, health information technology, pharmacy technology, radiologic technology, and clinical laboratory technology.

Allied health professionals provide a range of technical, diagnostic, therapeutic, and direct patient care and support services vital to other health professionals and the patients they help. Many of the careers only require a two-year degree or less. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that millions of new healthcare jobs will be added through 2018.

Those interested in allied healthcare jobs can certainly apply for general scholarships, but of course they’ll have to compete with students from every other discipline. However, there are a number of scholarships out there that are designated specifically for healthcare students.

The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions

This organization sponsors a scholarship program for allied health students enrolled in its member schools. It awards $1,000 scholarships to students achieving excellence in their program and showing significant potential to assume leadership roles in the allied health professions.

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship Program

Scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in healthcare degree programs like medicine, pharmacology, nursing, microbiology, laboratory sciences, physiotherapy, healthcare management, and hospital administration.

The makers of Tylenol provide 10 scholarships worth $10,000 each and 30 scholarships worth $5,000 each. An additional 150 scholarships worth $1,000 each are provided to students who participate in community service activities.

Applicants are judged on academic performance and leadership qualities. The scholarships are provided to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in accredited two-year or four-year colleges or universities, graduate schools, or vocational/technical schools.

Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program

These scholarships are provided by the California Health and Welfare Agency – Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development Health Professional Education Foundation.

Applicants must be enrolled in a California community college or university and they must be taking one of these programs:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical imaging
  • Respiratory care
  • Physical therapy
  • Pharmacy and diagnostic medical sonography
  • Social work
  • Medical laboratory technologist
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Ultrasound technician
  • Surgical technician

Those in other allied health professions may also apply for scholarships, which are worth up to $4,000.

Student who receive the scholarships are required to complete 100 volunteer hours in a medically under served area in California, or they must complete a one-year service contract.

Maxine Williams Scholarship

The American Association of Medical Assistants Endowment, located in Chicago, Illinois, provides this $1,000 award. Students receiving the award also receive a one-year membership in the American Association of Medical Assistants.

The awards are provided based on academic ability and financial need. Students must see their program directors to apply.

Applicants must be enrolled in and have completed a quarter or a semester at an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program. They are required to have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Health Resources and Services Administration – Bureau of Health Professions Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

Applicants must be full-time students with a disadvantaged background, demonstrating financial need, and studying a health field. The Health Resources and Services Administration provides funds to accredited U.S. schools teaching health professions.

The National Hispanic Health Foundation – Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship Program

Applicants must be Hispanic students enrolled in postsecondary degree programs, including those in allied health. Scholarships are provided based on academic achievement, leaderships skills, and a commitment to improving healthcare in the Hispanic community. The scholarships are worth $2,000 to $5,000.

American Respiratory Care Foundation

The American Respiratory Care Foundation provides several awards for undergraduate students enrolled in accredited respiratory care education programs.

Most health care associations provide scholarships to aspiring specialists in their fields. There’s a good chance scholarship opportunities are available for your allied health field!

Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of job-related topics, including careers in radiologic technology, for the Riley Guide.

Finding A Financial Safety School

Monday, August 15th, 2011

I have always felt that the most important school is your safety school. In my mind a safety school isn’t just a school where you know that you will be accepted, since there are over 2,400 colleges in the US everyone will get in to at least one, but it is a school where you know you will be accepted and you will be happy if you have to go there. However, with the current state of the economy, it isn’t enough just to get accepted to a college, you have to be able to pay for it as well. That is where the financial safety comes in. For many students, that has become a state college in their home state or a community college in their home state. Yet, there are still many more options. Many states participate in regional states programs, where you can get reduced tuition at a state school in another state, if the major isn’t offered in your home state. Here is a link to a previous article we had written about regional states programs.

In addition, you can use to help you locate private colleges where you are eligible for merit scholarships that might bring the actual cost of the college below your home state school. We have added features to allow you to search by four of the five factors that we think are critical in making a good college match (the fifth is quality of life, and you need to determine that on your own by visiting and other resources). Here are the other four:

· Academic Profile:  Can I get in to the school? How competitive is the admissions process? In our advanced search, you can sort by the level of competition of admission. You can choose more than one category, or all of them if you would like.

· Academic Program: Does the school have the major I want? Remember, most students end up changing their major, so does the school have enough majors that I am interested in? Again, you can sort by area of study in our advanced search.

· Size: If I don’t need to go to class, will I still go? Do I want to be more than a number? Do I need more opportunities in case I change my mind? Do I need more individual attention? How do I learn best?

· Geography: Where in the country do I want to study? Do I want to be in a city, suburb, or rural area?

The final sort you can run is to choose to only see schools where you are eligible for money, or all schools that meet your academic criteria. The best way to find your financial safety is to show the schools where you are eligible for money. In minutes you can easily locate your financial safeties. We do charge a $24 fee for a one-year premium membership, however, we give you a free one-day trial so that you can see the value before you decide to pay. We also have a number of other resources that we will highlight in future blog posts.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Avoiding the Summer Daze: Rising Seniors Use Your Summer Wisely

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Now that the school year is wrapping up (or has already been wrapped up), it is easy to just kick back, relax, and allow half the summer to go by without doing anything to get your self ready for college.  The fall of senior year can be a very stressful time, so I recommend you use the summer to get a jump on your college applications.  Here is a list of things that you need to get done this summer.

  • Finalize Your College List
    —Narrow list down to 8 to 10 schools
    —Revisit your original criteria, has anything changed?
    —Check application requirements at your list of schools
    —Have you met testing requirements?
    —Do you have teachers lined up for letters of recommendation?
    —When are the deadlines?
  • Visit Colleges Again
    —This will help you narrow down the list and come up with your own ranking of the schools
    —Demonstrated interest is becoming more important in the admission process. This is one of the best ways to show interest.
    —If possible, interview when on campus.
  • Prepare for Fall Standardized Tests
    Take practice SAT or ACT tests
    Review performance results from your spring tests, and study up on areas where you are weak
    Consider tutoring, a course, or a book to help you improve
  • Start Your Applications!
    —The Common Application accounts open on August 1, but you can print a draft and get started earlier
    —Write a resume
    —Start your essay!
    —The Common Application has reinstated the 500 word limit on the long essay.
    Work on the Common Application short answer
    Make certain you know your school’s policy regarding transcript requests
  • Develop a List of Financial Aid Deadlines
    —When are the filing deadlines?
    —What forms are required?
    —Do you have a financial safety school?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

25 of the Weirdest Scholarships You’ve Never Heard of

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Finding money to fund your college education can be a tough process, but as these scholarships show there’s something available for everyone. If you happen to have an offbeat hobby that not too many people take part in, then one of these may be exactly right for you. While some of these scholarships are only available at certain colleges, I’ve tried to keep the list as broad as possible. Good luck in your academic endeavors!

1. LaFontaine Aquatic Entomology Scholarship

This scholarship is for graduate students seeking advanced degrees in the field of Aquatic Entomology. Sponsored by the Federation of Fly Fishers this award is given out annually, and requires that the student submit a resume, research synopsis, and letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

2. The Fragrance Research Fund

Another scholarship for graduate students, this one is for psychologists working in the field of aromachology. While it may sound funny, the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to a research team studying smells. With scholarships up to $50,000 it certainly isn’t something to turn your nose up at.

3. Potato Industry Scholarship

The National Potato Council rewards up to $5,000 to graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in Agribusiness that directly affect the potato industry. The award is based on your academic achievement, leadership abilities, and the relevancy of your work to the potato industry.

4. The NCTA Help Santa Find the Perfect Real Christmas Tree Scholarship

While a belief in Santa isn’t a requirement for this scholarship, having that festive spirit certainly doesn’t hurt. Sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association, this scholarship rewards up to $5,000 to students between the ages of 6-16 years old.

5. FBI Common Knowledge Challenge

At $250 this scholarship isn’t quite as fruitful as the others we’ve covered so far, but considering the ease with which you can get it there’s really no reason not to. The FBI has a site where you can read up about their organization, and then take a short online quiz about it. The contest is held the third week of October and the money will go directly to your school should you win.

6. Excellence in Predicting the Future Award

This scholarship requires you to register at the website and take part in a contest where you predict the futures of fake stocks. Intended to increase students’ interest in economics, it’s free to apply for and will net you $400 should you win.

7. Culinary Institute of America’s All-American Apple Pie Recipe Contest

With rewards of up to $25,000 this contest will put your apple pie baking skills to the test. As one of the premier culinary schools in the country, the CIA certainly has one of the best reputations in the industry. This scholarship will require you to share your recipe, take pictures of your pie, and write a 500 word essay on how you got the recipe.

8. National Make It Yourself with Wool Competition

Sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association this scholarship rewards up to $5,000 to students who promote the versatility of wool in fabrics and yarns. If you have involvement in the sheep industry or in fabrics then this is certainly a lucrative opportunity.

9. The Ayn Rand Institute

The Ayn Rand Institute offers a large number of scholarships for essays on several of her works including The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, We Are the Living, and Anthem. One contest winner for each essay is rewarded a $10,000 prize, with $2,000, $1,000, $100, and $50 prizes going out for the subsequent places. If you are interested in Ayn Rand’s works then this is a great opportunity to make some extra money for college.

10. Eileen J. Garret Scholarship from the Parapsychology Foundation

Do you have an interest in studying the paranormal using modern scientific techniques? If so this scholarship may be for you. You will have to provide samples of writings about parapsychology and letters of reference to prove your interest. At $3,000 this is a niche reward that can help quite nicely in your college funding.

11. The OP Loftbed Scholarship

Interestingly enough, OP Loftbed, the makers of the most popular loft bed for college students decides to give back in the form of a $400 scholarship. In order to qualify for the scholarship students need only to fill out a questionnaire on the OP Loftbed website.

12. The School Band and Orchestra Magazine Scholarship

This scholarship for grade school students’ promises $1000 reward for students up to grade 8 and an additional $1000 donation to the school’s music program for students in grades 9-12. Sponsored by the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle store requires the candidate to write a 250 word essay on various musical subjects that changes every year.

13. The Scholarships

This scholarship rewards $300 to the winners of an essay contest on why or why not federal income taxes are fair. Unlike most websites with money in the title, this one is actually for real.

14. The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Award

While The Elks may strike up visualizations of that one scene from the movie Stand By Me, it is a real organization and has an excellent scholarship program. With rewards going out to a total of 500 students every year, it is a competitive national event, but also comes with great rewards. Each candidate is evaluated on scholarship, leadership, and financial need and rewarded with a 4 year scholarship worth $1000 to $15,000 per year.

15. Tylenol Scholarship

While not quite as weird as the other scholarships on this list, Tylenol isn’t the first place I’d look for a scholarship. If you are studying in a healthcare related field, you can apply for this scholarship which will net you up to $10,000. Tylenol gives out 250 of these scholarships every year, which is good news since we all know how much of a headache school can give you.

16. The Discover Card Tribute Award

Wow, a credit card company handing out a scholarship? It’s great to see that at least one of them decides to give something back, and with rewards of up to $25,000 it can certainly put a big dent in your college debt. You will need to demonstrate community service, leadership, and a significant roadblock you have overcome in order to receive this award.

17. Tea Drinking Scholarship

The Calm-A-Sutra of Tea, an American Tea Council offers a scholarship two one student for $20,000 paid directly to the school. It is a video contest where the candidate must submit an original video about the health benefits of drinking tea. $20,000 may be enough to make tea lovers out of all of us, but you can expect some pretty stiff competition as well.

18. Greeting Card Scholarship

While you might be used to making fun of those “Hallmark Moments” there’s nothing funny about the $10,000 this scholarship rewards. In order to qualify you will need to submit original artwork to be used for the front cover of a greeting card. This is an excellent scholarship for art students that you might not readily think of.

19. Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship

Another scholarship for a niche market, you might not expect it but these guys have dished out $70,000 in scholarships so far. If you happen to be in a course of study that involves vacuum coating, then this is certainly a scholarship to look into. In order to apply you will need two references from your professors, and you will be judged based on the relevancy of your program, academic achievement, personal values, and financial need.

20. Collegiate Inventors Competition

For all of you aspiring inventors out there the United States Patents and Trademark Office sponsors a competition rewarding both graduate and undergraduate students with up to $15,000 and $10,000 rewards. Any invention is admissible and entries are judged based on how well articulated the idea is as well as to how beneficial it is to society.

21. Mycological Society of America Scholarships

These scholarships are primarily for graduate students and researchers that are already involved in mycological study. It’s tough to believe that people would have an interest in fungi outside of any academic involvement, which is probably why the only undergraduate rewards are for those involved in mycological research. Still, if you happen to fit into one of these categories they have plenty of different scholarships available ranging from $500 to $2000.

22. Michigan Llama Association (MLA) Scholarship

I can’t say I would have guessed that llama farming would’ve been popular in the state of Michigan, but apparently there are over 200 farms and 2500 llamas in the state. Who knew? Well, even if you aren’t a llama farmer you can join their organization and show your interest in llamas and farming to qualify for their $500 scholarship.

23. National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFAH) Health at Every Size Scholarship

While it is tempting to describe this as a scholarship for fatties, you don’t actually need to be obese to qualify for this scholarship. Instead, you need to be actively involved in research surrounding the effects of obesity on health. You will need to submit a 750 word essay on your research and can expect a $1000 check in return.

24. International Boar Semen Scholarship

Not only is this a weird one, but it’s also quite gross. Still, animal husbandry is an important aspect of agribusiness so it is not surprising to see a scholarship for it. Having grown up in a small town myself, I can attest to the validity of this subject. Although this is probably the scholarship on this list that is easiest to make fun of, the people involved in this business do make a good bit of money. If you happen to be pursuing this line of work then this is a scholarship well worth looking into.

25. American Nudist Research Library Scholarship

If you happen to find the idea of spending 3 years living in a nudist colony to be your thing, then the American Nudist Research Library will reward you with a $1000 scholarship. While I can’t imagine many people would want to live as a nudist for 3 years for $1000, if you already happen to be a part of this fringe culture, then why not take advantage of what they have to offer?


Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching molecular biology scholarships as well as scholarships for anthropoplogy students. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Proposed Pell Grant Cuts: Will They Seriously Affect College Students?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives levied a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant program, which provides aid to low and moderate income students. The changes, if passed, would take effect in the 2011-2012 school year. The amount of aid for the most needy students would decrease from $5,500 to $4,705, a difference of $845.

If the bill becomes law, over 9 million students will have a reduction in their federal funds. Also, approximately 1.7 million students who receive small Pell Grants will likely be made ineligible. Approximately 27 percent of U.S. college students currently receive Pell Grants. The primary cut to the Pell Grant program would be the year-round provision which allows recipients of the grant to receive more than one per year.

In general, the most needy students are barely able to pay their bills, and losing $845 a year would be a significant loss to them. These students will be forced to take out bigger loans. Pell Grants have allowed many part-time students to attend college on a full-time basis. A reduction in the Pell Grant may force some of these students to return to their part-time status.

Many students will be forced to work longer hours, which may decrease their study time and affect their grades. Other students may decide to pass on a bachelor’s degree and instead go for a less expensive associate’s degree from a community college. Pell Grants are also provided to working low-income adults who want to go back to school to specialize in something. These folks may decide to skip college altogether.

Some colleges and universities will find ways to make up for the loss in Pell Grant funding. For example, Thomas McWhorter, the Executive Director of Financial Aid at the University of Southern California, said his office would use other university need-based aid to fill gaps caused but cutting Pell Grants.

An article at the Chronicle of Higher Education website stated that the spending bill for the 2011 fiscal year, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, would not only slash Pell Grants in the short term, but would also reduce funding of the program by $64 billion over the next decade (according to the Congressional Budget Office).

Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, said, “It’s hardly a devastating cut when you are cutting such a small amount.” However, according to a report from the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA), the cut in Pell Grant funding will reduce the number of low income students obtaining bachelor’s degrees each year by approximately 61,000.

If this bill is passed, there will be a lot less money available for college students in need. This would make looking for scholarships and other sources of funding all the more important.

Wes Harrison writes helpful articles about a variety of college topics for New Jersey Colleges.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to File the 2011-12 FAFSA

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Useful Tips for Financing A Graduate School Education

Monday, December 27th, 2010

There is plenty of financial aid available for worthy graduate students, as long as they apply for it as early as possible. Graduate students taking out loans need to be realistic about the job opportunities and additional income generated by obtaining a graduate degree.

You can typically save thousands of dollars by enrolling in a graduate degree program at a public university in the state where you’re a legal resident. Also, some states have reciprocal agreements with neighboring states which lets each state’s residents attend their colleges and universities at state tuition rates. For more information contact your state department of education or some schools of interest. Some states consider out-of-state students as residents after they have attended the school for one year.

Government Assistance

  • Federal Perkins Loans: Need-based program.
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans: Students must have financial need as determined by their school.
  • Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans: Not based on financial need.
  • Cooperative Education: Combines education with an off-campus job related to the student’s program.
  • Work-Study: Need-based program in which the college finds jobs for students. Salary is usually close to minimum wage.

Graduate Stafford Loans

Graduate Stafford Loans are fixed rate loans for graduate students attending a college or university on at least a half-time basis. These loans are one of the lowest-cost ways to pay for graduate school. Graduate students using Subsidized Stafford Loans are not charged interest before they begin repayment or during periods of deferment.

Graduate PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a non-need credit based loan, guaranteed by the Federal Government. Students can borrow the total cost of graduate school, including tuition, supplies, room and board, travel, and lab expenses. It’s a fixed rate student loan and payment can be deferred while students are attending college.

School Financial Assistance

Many colleges and universities offer teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and administrative fellowships. These positions typically include tuition waivers and some of them offer health insurance.

The recipients of departmental fellowships and scholarships are often determined by the departmental chair and not the financial aid office. Prospective graduate students should talk to a department staff member who’s knowledgeable about financial aid opportunities.

Perhaps the best type of college based financial aid is the fellowship. It’s a cash reward that doesn’t need to be repaid and typically doesn’t require the student to work. Most are based on an excellent academic record, however some are based on financial need. Fellowships usually include a stipend.


Many companies sponsor tuition assistance programs. According to IRS regulations, employers can provide up to $5,250 for each employee per year on a tax-free basis. Additional employer tuition assistance is taxed. Employers may restrict the choice of a major to a subject related to the employee’s current or future position at the company. Some employers stipulate that the employee work for the company for a specific length of time after obtaining the degree.


The Foundation Center in New York City publishes a reference book about graduate study financial aid. Grants provided in different fields are included in Grant Guides, a fee-based databank.

The National Research Council provides hundreds of fellowships of up to $14,000 per year for students in the natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Mellon Fellowships cover tuition and provide stipends for graduates students in the humanities.

Medical School

Some of the loans available for Medical School are MedSHARE-Nellie Mae, AAMC Medloans-Alternative Loan Program, and Medical Access Loans-Access Group.

Business School Loans

Some of the loans available for business school are MBADHARE-New England Loan Marketing Association-Nellie Mae, Business Access Loan Program-Access Group, and M.B.A. Loans/Tuition Loan Plan.

Online Resources

There are numerous online resources that help students find graduate education funding, and these include the following:

  • National Association of Graduate and Professional Studies
  • FastWEB
  • Thomson Peterson’s Graduate School Planning
  • The Foundation Center
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs
  • Education World
  • FinAid!
  • Education World

Putting together the best financial aid package requires a lot of research. However, taking the time to do this research could save you a lot of money on your graduate education.

Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of education topics for BrainTrack, including financial aid opportunities for college students.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tips for Winning Local Scholarships

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Applying for scholarships can be intimidating, and time consuming. However, if you do a little research at the

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts.  Click the image for your chance to win a $1,000 Spotlight Scholarship to Nichols!

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts. Click the image for your chance to win a $1,000 Spotlight Scholarship to Nichols!

beginning of the process, it can be very financially rewarding as well. In writing and speaking, it is always important to know your audience. That same goes when applying for scholarships. If you take the time to know who will be reading your application ahead of time, you can tailor your application to the reader.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You always have your best chance at winning local scholarships. The money being given away has been raised by fellow members of your community and they want to see it go to deserving students from their home town. Since these are very geographically targeted, there are often less applicants for the scholarships and that means less competition. I am the chair of my local Rotary club’s scholarship committee, and I have also helped review applications for my local Chamber of Commerce, and now I am going to share some tips with you on how to tailor your application to the mission of the organization.

  1. If possible, determine the criteria being used to evaluate the scholarship applications. Not all organizations offer complete transparency, but most will give you the general means of evaluating the application. Typically they will look at academics, service, need, and an essay.
  2. Look at the organizations website and see if they have a mission statement. Determine how they raise the money they are giving away and also seek out the other types of charitable works they do throughout the year. Service organizations like to give money to students who are very involved in community service. A kind of pay it forward mentality. If you are involved with any service work that is similar to work that the organization is doing, mention it. That will help you to create a connection with the reader.
  3. Read the application carefully. If they ask for three copies of your application, make certain to submit 3 copies of your application. In my Rotary Club, we also evaluate students by how they follow directions. Finally, if there is an essay question that is specific to that scholarship, don’t try to make another essay fit. Write an essay that answers that specific question. Most importantly, make sure to meet the deadline, and if a transcript is required from your high school, make sure you give them enough time to get the transcript for you.
Students enjoying the beautiful campus of Mitchell College. Click for your chance to win a $1,000 scholarship to Mitchell!

Students enjoying the beautiful campus of Mitchell College. Click for your chance to win a $1,000 scholarship to Mitchell!

It is important to remember that most of the people who are reading these applications are volunteers, and they work hard all year to raise the money that they are giving away. Show appreciation in your application without becoming too obsequious (good SAT word. It means excessive fawning. It has a similar meaning to a sycophant, or kissing up). Finally, take the time in the end to proofread your application before sending it and make sending the write essay to the write organization. Attention to detail is very important. Follow these tips and you will increase your chances of winning some local scholarships.

James Maroney, the author of this article, is the founder of First Choice College Placement LLC,, and  He is also a contributor to  He has toured over 100 different college campuses across the country and worked with students from all over the world to help them make their college dream a reality.  He is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association, NACAC, the Education Industry Association, and the chair of the Devon Rotary Scholarship Committee.  You can contact him at

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Ways Private Colleges Offer More Tuition Discounts than Public Colleges

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

College is the hope of all young people who want to get ahead in life and obtain a better job with higher pay in the future. A mix of today’s economy and rising tuition prices make it hard for everyone who wants to go to college to be able to attend. But it is not impossible. Public colleges generally have lower tuition than private schools, but often lack the prestige of their private counterparts. However, one of the advantages of attending a private college is that they generally offer more tuition discounts than public schools.

Income-based discounts

First of all, most private and public colleges offer some type of needs-based financial assistance. However, because public colleges often have lower tuition to begin with, they tend to offer less dollar amounts than private colleges. One of the reasons public schools can offer lower tuition is that they are subsidized by taxpayers. Private schools, on the other hand, don’t rely on taxes for support. Rather they generate income through alumni, donors, and the prestige of their faculty, as well as the tuition of students. So, in general, private college tuition is higher, but those colleges are more likely to offer large amounts of financial assistance to promising students who otherwise might not be able to afford the cost. For example, Ivy League colleges, like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, offer needs-based tuition assistance to smart, yet underprivileged, students.

Religious and group affiliation

Private colleges can also offer more tuition discounts because they are able to offer discounts based on religious or group affiliation. Public institutions cannot offer tuition discounts for religious or group affiliation, but because private intuitions are not funded by public money, they have much greater discretion in offering tuition discounts. For example, Brigham Young University offers discounted tuition to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many other religious-based and bible colleges offer discounts to students who are members of a certain faith. Private colleges can also offer discounts to members of certain professional or social organizations.

Special incentives

Lastly, private colleges are much more likely to offer tuition discounts as special incentives to specific students. Public institutions often have policies regarding tuition discounts that outline specific requirements that they cannot deviate from and still receive tax funding. On the other hand, private institutions can offer tuition discounts to any student they feel is valuable, desirable, or brings certain skills or prestige to the school. For example, if a student has been accepted to multiple colleges and universities, a private college may offer a tuition discount as an incentive to that student, if they feel the student would be a valuable asset to their school. These types of tuition discounts are offered on an individual basis and are not generally offered to large groups of students.

If you are contemplating going to college but are worried about the cost, it might be worth it to check out the extra assistance that private colleges may be able to offer you.

Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and online classes.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,