Scholarship Mom Alert: Buick Achievers College Scholarship

Gain financial speed with a renewable scholarship Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Gain financial speed with a renewable scholarship Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

When most students think about winning a college scholarship, they expect a one-time award. However, some scholarships are renewable. That means the award is a gift that keeps on giving!

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews did the research and found a renewable scholarship called the Buick Achievers College Scholarship. All winners have to do is maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (GPA on a 4.0 scale), full-time enrollment and continue to major in an eligible field of study, and their scholarship will be renewed up to 4 years plus one additional year if entering a qualified five-year engineering program.

For scholarship details, including a list of eligible fields of study, and Monica’s exclusive “Winning Tips” read her post ASAP:

Buick Achievers College Scholarship

Have fun using Monica’s suggestions when applying and

Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Nurse Journal College Scholarship

Scholarships for those interested in medical field. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships for those interested in medical field. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Enrolled in a medical program and looking to win a scholarship to help pay for college? College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has found a great choice. The Nurse Journal College Scholarship is merit not income based. That means there is no income requirement students have to meet but a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) is necessary.

Monica describes the application process and her excellent “Winning Tips” in her post:

Nurse Journal College Scholarship

Read Monica’s post and apply!

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 4 strings attached to FREE financial aid

Strings attached to FREE financial aid. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Strings attached to FREE financial aid. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College-bound families looking for help in paying for college are on the hunt for financial aid but even free money grants and scholarships can have strings attached like loans that must be paid back. Grants and scholarships can come from federal or state governments, colleges, and private outside scholarship sources. Students must be prepared to check out the terms of any awards as carefully as if they are student loans.

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid released every January 1 for the following school year. If your student is attending college for the 2015-2016 school year, now is the time to file FAFSA. Although income and other tax information is required, estimate now and go back to update after submitting tax returns. You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool that automatically fills in the numbers from the returns.

When the FAFSA is processed, the federal government applies certain complicated formulas to determine the student and his family’s need for financial aid and the programs they qualify for. The student and the colleges the student selects receive a numerical result called the Expected Family Contribution or EFC. Colleges use this figure and any other financial aid forms they require to calculate awards to admitted students from their own institutional funds. States and private outside scholarship sponsors have their own method of award calculations.

No matter the donor, there can be strings attached to financial aid gifts. Before accepting, students should discover if their awards have conditions and the penalties for failure to meet them. The punitive action may be minor or harsh like forfeiture of future aid or having to pay back financial aid money given.

Here are four string examples:

  1. Make the grade. Students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) In order to continue receiving financial aid from many sources including federal and state programs. In other words, students have to make good enough grades. Each school has their own SAP policy so check the college’s website or call the financial aid office to find the minimum GPA (grade point average) that has to be maintained and how often the school will evaluate the student’s progress.
  2. Get enough credit. There is a big difference between college costs for part-time and full-time students and financial aid reflects this. When credits are lost from not completing a class or withdrawal, it could change the student’s attendance status and the eligibility for aid previously awarded.
  3. Keep moving forward. Repeating a class, changing a major, or transferring and losing credits can mess up the momentum toward successfully completing a degree or certificate in the time period that’s acceptable at the college. Financial aid doesn’t last forever. Time limits make college financial aid expire.
  4. Stay put. Some scholarships and grants are awarded based on a student’s interest in an activity or course of study. Dropping out could mean losing the award for no longer playing the tuba in the band, being the quarterback, majoring in physics, being an A-earning student, etc.

Financial aid goes to eligible students only so if student qualifications change, they may no longer be eligible to receive financial aid. Parents can discuss with their student the importance of understanding the strings attached, committing to following them, and dealing with the consequences if they break the strings.

Read Suzanne’s post: “We Won’t Qualify for Financial Aid” 

Read more about financial aid tools and how to make affordable college choices:
Wednesday’s Parent: Formula and tools to calculate college costs
5 financial resolutions the college-bound should make
Money influences college choices from the start

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

This month Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT on Wednesday, January 21. Our guest will be financial aid expert Jodi Okun. She is the founder of College Financial Aid Advisors, an About.com Money Expert, host as @JodiOkun of #CollegeCash twitter chat, and the @Discover Student Loans Brand Ambassador. Jodi has helped thousand of families navigate the financial aid process so you don’t want to miss a chance to get her tips and ask questions.

Read Wednesday’s Parent Night on #CampusChat! for some simple instructions to join a Twitter chat.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Local college scholarship finder

Local college scholarship finder. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Local college scholarship finder. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Many students spend their scholarship searching time exclusively looking for well-known national and international scholarship sponsors and miss out on what is offered in their own backyard. Ignoring local scholarships can backfire “because they have much less competition than national scholarships and the chances of winning are greater for students who diligently apply for them,” according to College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews.

To help the college-bound, Monica put together a great collection of links in her post:

How to Find More Local College Scholarships

It is a must-read packed with tips to jumpstart your own local scholarship search.

Get going now and good luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: January deadline scholarships

Scholarships with January Deadlines. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships with January Deadlines. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Time is always precious but for the college-bound, it seem to pass quicker than usual over school breaks…especially when it comes to college prep activities. College scholarship expert Monica L. Matthews is providing a list of scholarships with January 2015 deadlines so students can spend more time applying than researching.

Thank you Monica for giving the gift of time! To see Monica’s list, go to:

College scholarships January deadlines

While you’re there, check out Monica’s special winning tips to create amazing scholarship applications in her How to Win College Scholarships.

Good Luck, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

Scholarship Mom Alert: FormSwift $1,000 Scholarship Contest

Time to apply for scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Time to apply for scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

If you are a fan of mixing business with pleasure then try using the holiday break to mix pleasure with business. I always suggest adding some fun to reduce daily stress from school, work and college prep but time off has a habit of flying by leaving a long to-do list untouched. That causes major stress when it’s back to school. Students will be very unhappy if they miss the opportunity to apply for this college scholarship over their vacation.

If you haven’t visited College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews’ How to Win College Scholarships site, one look and you’ll become a regular. This week she is featuring the FormSwift College Scholarship along with her MUST READ winning tips. Check out it out here:

FormSwift College Scholarship

The reason students will be so miserable if they pass up this scholarship is because they get a great chance to beat the usual competition. This scholarship is so brand new it is not on many students’ radar.

Good Luck and enjoy applying for the FormSwift College Scholarship!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Savor Summer College Scholarship

Savor Summer College Scholarship. Photo rights from Monica L. Matthews

The Savor Summer College Scholarship. Photo rights from Monica L. Matthews

Here’s a unique chance to be among the first applicants for a brand new scholarship. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is going above and beyond her usual winning tips for students by giving them a chance to apply for a special new opportunity to help pay for college right on her own website!!!

Monica is sponsoring her own 

Savor Summer College Scholarship

Click the link, read the details, and APPLY ASAP. The bonus is the scholarship application will help students plan. The essay gives students a chance to figure out how to best spend their precious summer break. The Savor Summer College Scholarship application is an organizational boost to college applications that also require information about awards, achievements, volunteer work, community service, work experience, memberships and leadership positions. Thank you Monica at how2winscholarships.com for sponsoring

Savor Summer College Scholarship

To all applicants, Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Cell Phones for Survivors College Scholarship

community Service Scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

community Service Scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Students lacking community service or wanting to add another project to their college application resume will want to take a close look at the Cell Phones for Survivors College Scholarship. That’s because the application for this scholarship is basically a community service project to aid domestic violence programs.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains, “This college scholarship requires students to do ONE basic thing:  Collect old cell phones from friends, relatives, fellow employees, and anyone else they can get to donate to the cause.”

Materials in cell phones can be recycled and resold for a profit to help those suffering from domestic violence. Scholarship applicants have a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship by collecting cell phones for programs providing safe housing that gives women in violent relationships the option to leave. Monica provides all the details and her valuable winning tips:

Cell Phones for Survivors College Scholarship

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Formula and tools to calculate college costs

Formula and tools to calculate college costs. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Formula and tools to calculate college costs. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

How much will college cost you, exactly? There’s a big range between the most expensive private colleges (over $65,000) and the least expensive public universities (under $10,000) or community colleges (some states’ free tuition proposals). There are plenty of hidden costs that families should know to prevent nasty financial surprises. Because of need-based and merit financial aid awarded to admitted students, college sticker price is rarely what the college bill will be. Fortunately, there are tools to help families estimate costs.

POCS COA

Predicting total college costs depend on what expenses are included. The government and colleges have agreed on this formula for Cost of Attendance (COA):

COA = tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses

Unfortunately, COA doesn’t tell the whole story. There are hidden costs so I came up with this more realistic accounting:

POCS COA = COA + start-up costs + program expenses + parent travel expenses + borrowing costs

POCS COA includes start-up costs like setting up a dorm room, program expenses for those with more costly textbooks and/or special equipment, parent costs because their costs such as for meals, lodging, gas, plane tickets are never considered and neither are student and parent borrowing costs including interest and fees. Check my website for more details.

Calculator tools

Business Insider recently featured 8 Tools To Help Estimate What College Will CostIt’s always wise to check the source sites first. To calculate federal aid that flows from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), use FAFSA4caster for eligibility and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to college costs. Try the federal College Scorecard for information colleges must report like loan default rates and links to a college’s own website for its Net Price Calculator (NPC). The NPC roughly estimates the difference between sticker price less grants and scholarships for which students may be eligible to receive. Since free money from a college’s own funds may also be given to entice students to attend and who a college wants most depends on the entire applicant pool for that year, it is hard to be accurate. The NPC institutions report can also be found via the federal College Affordability and Transparency lists along with how costs are changing from year to year.

Those planning on taking out federal student loans to help pay for college can use the federal Repayment Estimator to estimate the loan payments under various repayment plans. It’s important info to help students plan for an affordable lifestyle after graduation.

Read Suzanne’s post: Talking to Your Kids About Financing College

Read more:  

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Suzanne and I host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Except this month, we are hosting an open mic night on Wednesday, December 17. Bring your questions and comments about college prep over the holidays!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Therapy Professionals Scholarship

Therapy Professionals Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Therapy Professionals Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Winning some outside private scholarships can help reduce the college bill, show off skills and accomplishments, and clarify commitment to a field of interest. That’s a triple benefit for the college-bound.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is providing an example for students interested in physical, massage, recreational, or occupational therapy or psychology professions. The Therapy Professionals Scholarship is sponsored by MedicareSupplementalInsurance.com. Don’t miss Monica’s special winning tips. She finds a discrepancy between the actual Application and the Application Process description that applicants need to know. Read her post:

Mental Health Therapy and Chiropractic Scholarship

Good Luck!!!