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!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: ScholarshipRed for Redheads

Scholarship for Redheads. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship for Redheads. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some college scholarships are based on physical attributes beyond brain power. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is showcasing a great example. If your college-bound high school junior or senior has natural red hair, take a close look at ScholarshipRed. Monica describes the other qualifications along with her special Winning Tips in her post:

ScholarshipRed: The College Scholarship for Redheads

Monica uses her expertise and experience to analyze the best strategy for winning. Students will want to pay careful attention to her advice.

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Dr. Seuss’ Kid You’ll Move Mountains Scholarship

Soar to new heights and move mountains! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Soar to new heights and move mountains! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Dr. Seuss books spark the imagination of many a parent and young child and now the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is sponsoring a college scholarship with extra benefits. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains there are three money prizes but the grand prize winner also is awarded a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and a Universal Orlando Resort vacation for four!

Monica also explains how students as young as five years old and STEAMing ahead (excelling in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math) have a chance to win. Read her don’t miss Winning Tips in her post:

Dr. Seuss’s Kid You’ll Move Mountains College Scholarship 

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Hungry to Lead College Scholarship & 2 others

One scholarship application can be lead to more than one chance to win. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

One scholarship application can be lead to more than one chance to win. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some scholarships offer multiple awards like a race with first, second and third place winners. One example is The Amana Leadership Scholarship ($2,500), The Hungry To Lead Scholarship ($2,500) and Leadership Recognition Award ($500). One application is an entry to all three.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has studied the eligibility and application requirements and is offering her special Winning Tips to those students interested in the food service or hospitality fields. Before applying, read her article:

Hungry to Lead College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Yikes! Scholarships can be lost

Yikes! Scholarships can be lost. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Yikes! Scholarships can be lost. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships can be won but did you know they can be lost? There’s no such thing as a free lunch and this applies to scholarship and grant awards, too. So-called college free money comes with strings attached. When broken, the money either isn’t sent or must be paid back. It’s essential for families to prepare themselves to avoid a nasty financial surprise. Here are four ways to prevent losing scholarships and grants:

Know the strings. Students should carefully read the eligibility requirements for directions when they win. Some awards have strings requiring the winning applicant to do something next like promoting the scholarship or writing a thank you note by a particular deadline before a check is sent. Thanking the sponsor is a good idea even when not required.

Keep the strings intact. Students should know what they must do to keep the grant or scholarship after it’s awarded. The free money may be tied to maintaining a minimum GPA (grade point average), keeping a major, playing an instrument in the band, or being on a sports team. Students must commit to the strings and be sure they have the time and passion to maintain them.

Use the money correctly. The free money may be designated for certain educational expenses only like tuition. Be careful not to spend it on specified non-qualifying costs like food and travel. This may be turn that portion into taxable income according to an article in Huff Post Financial Education.

Buy some time. Things can go south that cut the scholarship and grant strings like injuries and changing interests. The grant or scholarship may have an appeal process or offer a brief extension to give the student a chance to regain compliance.

Don’t bank on free money without knowing and being prepared to follow the strings attached. It’s also a good idea to keep searching and applying. Read the posts under College Costs on my blog for Scholarship Mom Alerts filled with scholarships and important info.

Read Suzanne’s post: Scholarships with Strings Attached

Read more:

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

Scholarships, grants, crowdfunding and other college finance self-help 

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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: Virtual Business Scholarship

Some scholarships require  the applicant to be nominate or recommended. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some scholarships require the applicant to be nominated or recommended. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Most of the time students decide which scholarships to apply to but sometimes they have to be recommended first by another individual. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews found the The Virtual Business Scholarship from Knowledge Matters that requires a teacher to nominate a student. Monica’s clever Winning Tips will give students an edge. Read them in her post:

Knowledge Matters Virtual Business College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 questions to ask about financial aid front loading

Front loading financial aid awards. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Front loading financial aid awards. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

If you think your washing machine is the only front loader, watch out because your college may be taking you to the cleaners. Front loading happens when colleges make their most generous financial aid award offers to applicants as a lure to attend. When students return the following year they may find their school has dropped their previously awarded grants and scholarships. Thousands of dollars may have been lost to the common practice of front loading.

“About half of all colleges front-load their grants, according to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, who analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistic’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System,” according to DailyFinance.

The lesson for parents and their college-bound students is to carefully scrutinize, analyze and question each item in their financial aid awards before bothering to compare one college’s offer to another. It may turn out that freshman year is a best deal at one place but if the total years until graduation are tallied, another choice may be the better bargain. Here are five questions to ask the college financial aid officer:

Is the grant/scholarship renewable and if so for how many years? What you want is the money to continue until the student graduates. Bear in mind it is taking longer, four to six years, for those who graduate to do so. Find out the maximum number of times the award will be made.

What are the strings attached to keeping the grant/scholarship? It’s important to understand the terms of receiving free money awards before acceptance to make sure the student can and will perform them. He may have to keep his grades up, play an instrument, or be a member on a team. Find out the eligibility requirements each year including any additional paperwork necessary to keep them.

If the grant/scholarship is lost, what will replace it? Often student loans are the college’s substitution plan. However, there may be other grants/scholarships available. Ask about them and the application process. Be prepared to continue searching for these and have a college finance Plan B.

Will the college bill increase in following years and if so, by how much? Those renewable grants/scholarships may no longer cover the same portion of college costs if tuition rises. See what if any cost components like tuition/fees and room/board are capped or held at the freshmen level.

Will the grant/scholarship be increased to keep pace with any raised college costs? Be aware most colleges will not match tuition increases or increase free money aid when tuition rates increase. However, the college bill must continue to be paid.

Read Suzanne’s post: It’s Financial Aid Award Season

READ MORE:

Finding and winning scholarships hiding in plain sight

3 Flavors of FREE College Money

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

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

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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.