Scholarship Mom Alert: $1,000 Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

Merit-based college scholarship contests. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Merit-based college scholarship contests. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

This week’s scholarship feature shows not all merit-based scholarship contests require a minimum GPA. For the Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship, merit is demonstrated via a short 250 word essay. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has some Winning Tips to make your personal statement a compelling eye-catcher for the judging committee.

Monica explains that even if writing essays is not your favorite scholarship activity, students can “use an essay that they have previously submitted for another scholarship application or submit one they have written as a school assignment.” What a time saver!

Just be sure to honor the word count and other directions. I recently wrote “Think of application instructions as the map leading to the award treasure,” in my article The number one winning scholarships tip. So carefully read all scholarship details and Monica’s information to know exactly what to do to increase chances for winning.

Find Monica’s expert scholarship advice in her post:

Gen and Kelly Tanabe College Scholarship 

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 7 pre-college costs that can lead to big savings later

Turning pre-college costs into college savings

Turning pre-college costs into College savings

There is a plethora of articles about college costs and how to pay them but little mention is made about college prep expenses. College financial aid doesn’t cover these and they can sizably pile up. Pre-college expenses can cut into personal financial resources way before a tuition bill arrives and add hundreds, even thousands to the total cost of obtaining a higher education degree. Thinking about pre-college costs now can help families plan where they are most likely to get the best return on their investment and allocate their money accordingly. Here are seven pre-college costs that can lead to big savings during and after college:

1. Standardized tests have fees. The PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests and ACT have set fees and students often take them more than once. The expense is there but so is the chance to get a break on college costs. High scorers may qualify for college scholarships. They also may be offered admission with more generous financial aid packages as compared to their poorer scoring peers. Although the list of test-optional schools is growing, many colleges still have SAT or ACT requirements.

2. AP and IB exams have fees. Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs charge students a fee for taking the exams. High schools often tout these as the most challenging and rigorous courses they offer. Doing well can impress college admissions officers by demonstrating college readiness. At many schools, this can lead to college credit and bypassing introductory college courses, both great college time and money savers.

3. Tutors have fees. Some libraries or high schools may offer free programs for individual subjects or test prep, but many tutors charge a fee for their services. If students need the extra help to pass a class or go to that next level, it may be the difference between getting into their college choice and qualifying for scholarships.

4. College visits can be costly. Depending on their location, visiting campuses can be a huge financial hit when they include lodging, meals and transportation. However, they can be the most influential reason for deciding student-college fit for applying and attending. When students do attend, families are one up on finding local stores offering student discounts, signing up for lodging and transportation loyalty programs, and knowing where to make hard to get reservations for crowded times like move in/out, family and graduation dates.

5. Colleges have application fees. This is where a good and succinct college list can pay off immediately. Weigh this against a longer list of greater possibilities but not necessarily better ones.

6. College consultants, financial aid counselors, and scholarship experts have fees. There is a lot of free information available about choosing colleges, writing essays, preparing for interviews, and filling out admission and aid applications but all this may not assist families with unique or difficult issues. A trusted advisor may be essential for them.

7. Student loans have fees and interest charges. Interest and fees add to the overall cost of the loan but federal and state loan forgiveness programs can turn all or a portion of borrowed cash into money that doesn’t have to be paid back. Check out the qualifications necessary like a certain career, length of time in the position and job location before considering borrowing to use as a powerful planning tool.

Note, there are fee waivers for qualifying low income students. But most will pay full fare so it is important to decide where to invest those valuable pre-college dollars and where to save the cash for college attendance.

Read Suzanne’s post: Scoring FREE Pre-College Costs

READ more:

This high school test means college money 

Getting a student loan? Check out forgiveness programs

How to pass the college affordability test (CAT)

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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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

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: Donna W. Foss Scholarship

Essay-only scholarships tips. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Essay-only scholarships tips. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Two, that’s TWO different scholarships from one sponsor and there are multiple awards that increase your chances of winning. This week the focus is on the 2015 Donna W. Foss Scholarship Contest. Set your calendar to come back next fall for info about the 2015 Video Scholarship Contest, both courtesy of The Joe Foss Institute Scholarship Program because The Joe Foss Video Scholarship is now closed.

Want more details and ways to increase your chance for winning an award? Like how to address the essay as the only requirement for this scholarship? Do what I do and learn from College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews. She has the answers with her special Winning Tips. Read them all in her post:

Donna W. Foss College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: The A&F Scholarship

Key is motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Key is motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Attention motivated students, take a close look at the A&F Scholarship. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains, the scholarship sponsor “Abbott and Fenner want to award the scholarship money to students who ‘have the desire and ambition to succeed.’”

There are ways parents can help motivate their teens or give them the skills to self-motivate. Check out Wednesday’s Parent’s 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage and Using irony and a proverb as self-motivation for your teen.

High school juniors, seniors and current college students are eligible to apply for the A&F Scholarship $1,000 award. Monica details the other application requirements. Note, GPA is not one of them!

For all the info and Monica’s special Winning Tips, read her post:

Abbott and Fenner College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Sense and cents for college and retirement saving

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Developing dollars and cents saving sense. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

We all know when it comes to saving, it’s never too early to start. But life has a way of moving on with or without plans for college and or retirement savings. No matter where you are in the college process or your financial circumstances, beginning now or reevaluating an existing method makes great sense and cents. That’s because chances are costs have risen more than you expected. It’s also a warning to prepare children with the life skill of saving.

Forbes’ article, How To Save For Both College And Retirement, outlined recent surveys for parent perspectives about saving for both. Many think this is an an oxymoron. About half are saving less than past peers, plan to delay retirement, or use retirement savings for college. The goal of the latter is to avoid students becoming college loan victims like those trapped in the student debt crisis. But parents and students must remember there is no loan for retirement.

Forbes gives eight tips for how to manage savings for both college and retirement. This is something many millennials who watched their families suffer through the recession are doing.

Need more motivation to save? Below is an interesting Infographic about the cost of financial procrastination from Financial Engines, America’s largest independent investment advisor. “Our survey polled a nationally representative sample of adults ages 55 or older. The categories of household income of the respondents span from less than $35,000 to over $100,000,” according to a Financial Engines representative. Check out the dollar difference delaying can make and get started now. Time literally is money.

Read Suzanne’s post: Saving for College

Saving for College

READ more:

How to pass the college affordability test (CAT)

Wednesday’s Parent: Cost and loan, fearsome four letter college words

Too many lack this essential college-bound skill

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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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound. 

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.

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Cost of financial procrastination Source: Financial Engines

Scholarship Mom Alert: Social media scholarship

Scholarship Mom Alert: Social media scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert: Social media scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

If your student is going to spend a whole lot of effort applying for scholarships, it makes great sense to find the ones that increase his chance of winning. That’s the premise College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is working with when she recommends brand new scholarships. One example is The Marketing Certified Students Leading Social Media Scholarship. Chances for getting this award are increased because “this is a new scholarship, so there will be less competition right from the start,” Monica advises.

As always, Monica supplies the contest’s requirements along with her don’t miss Winning Tips. For this info and more, read her post:

Social Media College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Meet May deadlines for these scholarships

May scholarship deadlines. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

May scholarship deadlines. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

You are a super busy parent or college-bound student who is juggling a huge to do list with loads of deadlines. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone helped you out to sort priorities by putting together a list of upcoming due dates for scholarship applications? Go ahead and thank College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews for bringing ten scholarships with May deadlines to your attention. Read Monica’s post:

College Scholarships With May Deadlines 

She has made it easy to check May deadline scholarships out. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss out!

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Literacy Challenge

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I absolutely love double benefits and this scholarship is a win/win for the college-bound. What better way for encouraging mastery of the essential skill of financial literacy than a chance to win college financing? Dave Ramsey’s Financial Literacy Challenge does both.

I wrote Too many lack this essential college-bound skill because financially illiterate college students are taking out student loans and the student debt crisis is impacting college graduates’ ability to buy homes and establish a desired lifestyle. The article includes my tips for taking action and how parents can help.

Financial literacy will help students when they apply for the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Literacy College Scholarship Challenge. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is highlighting this scholarship contest in her post:

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Literacy College Scholarship Challenge

Monica’s Winning Tips will also give students an edge to win one of the many prizes including a $36,000 college scholarship.

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Beating the double whammy of taxes and college costs

Double whammy of taxes and college costs. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Double whammy of taxes and college costs. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The double whammy is hitting many college-bound families who are filing their federal and state taxes while dealing with the college bill. Both taxes and college costs are hard to figure out. Estimates can be way off and opportunities to get money back are often missed. Reuters and Money explain how this happens with tax credits and deductions and I’ll point out other pitfalls impacting college costs so you can be prepared to beat the double whammy.

The bottom line concern is many don’t receive what they are entitled to. Often that’s because parents and students don’t know the tax benefits exist, make incorrect choices, or wrongly don’t believe they are eligible. Still, it’s shocking that so many are letting money fly out the window.

“Only 42 percent of those polled in a Sallie Mae survey, ‘How America Pays for College 2014,’ said they used available tax breaks to help reduce college costs,” according to Reuters.

Read the full article and IRS Publication 970 to see if you qualify now or may in the future for the

  • American Opportunity Credit
  • Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Tuition and fees deduction
  • Student loan interest deduction

Beware some college-related expenses may not be counted in the above credits or deductions. Also, some things may raise income or affect the ability to get the maximum tax benefits like

  • Forgiven/cancelled loan
  • Scholarships

Read my Getting a student loan? Check out forgiveness programs which mentions the forgiven/cancelled loan amount might be considered income for tax purposes. Scholarships are usually tax-free if used for tuition and fees but what about if they pay for books and living expenses? Read Money to find out how to maximize the tax benefits when receiving a generous financial aid award, have low tuition, have a 529 plan, and when taking out large loans.

Doing the research is time-consuming but knowing your efforts may be well rewarded makes it worthwhile.

Read Suzanne’s post: Tax Filing Tips for Parents

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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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

 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: ESA Foundation Scholarship Program

Avocation leading to colllege scholarship money for vocation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Avocation leading to colllege scholarship money for vocation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Turning an avocation into a vocation is a dream of many. Here’s an example of a scholarship that can help students who love playing video games pursue degrees leading to careers in Computer & Video Game Arts. The ESA Foundation is sponsoring thirty awards for qualifying women and minority students according to College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews.

Monica suggests several ways students can increase their chances for winning in her post: 

ESA Foundation College Scholarship Program

Read then reread her Winning Tips before applying! 

Good Luck to all applicants!!!