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 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.


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



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 to 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 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!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Scholarship Points

Trading scholarship points for dollars. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Trading scholarship points for dollars. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Outside private scholarships are contests with set rules for winning. A typical scholarship requires an application and an accompanying essay that must be submitted by posted deadlines. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews found a different way sponsored by

The Scholarship Points program offers its applicants the chance to earn points to enter into scholarship drawings. Opportunities to acquire points are often based on activities that also benefit the site such as students clicking on links, entering promoted scholarships, and completing surveys.

Read Monica’s winning tips to find out the advantages and disadvantages for trying to win college scholarship money via earning scholarship points:

Winning College Scholarships with Scholarship Points

Remember to check the odds for winning when deciding how much effort to dedicate. Good luck!!!

Planning a Budget for Grad School

 Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank by Jenny L. Maxey

Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank by Jenny L. Maxey

When and how should students going to college plan a budget for graduate school? That’s the question author and blogger Jenny L. Maxey returns to answer for POCSmom readers. Take a look at Jenny’s two prior guest posts, also packed with great info: 7 Tips to Help Your Child Decrease Their Loan Debt BEFORE Graduation Day and The Political Side of Student Loans. Higher education is a huge investment that requires careful planning:

College students can prepare themselves financially for grad school in many of the same ways they budgeted for their undergraduate degrees.  However, a few new problems may arise that make it more challenging.  While there are still many scholarships available for graduate students, scholarships for a particular area of study will be narrow, which means more students gunning for the same scholarships.  Further, those applying for grad school are those that are more academically successful as undergrads.  This means that the competition is fierce for those scholarships.  Moreover, income from part-time work may also be hindered as grad school takes up more time during the school year and some programs even have work-hour caps, causing budgets to be less flexible than during undergrad.  Not to mention, you’ll find costs for grad school to be generally more expensive such as tuition, textbooks, professional networking groups among other miscellaneous costs.

It may seem easiest to just throw your hands up and give in, relying on more loans or credit cards for financial assistance.  Although the budget may be a little tighter in grad school, try to resist this urge because there are ways to continue to save.

Begin planning during the final year of undergrad.  There will be admission exams (GRE, MCAT, LSAT) to pay and prepare for.  Keep track of deadlines and take advantage of early bird discounts.  Look for free resources to help with preparation for the exam, personal statements, and building up résumés.

Continue to apply for scholarships.  Look for need-based and merit-based scholarships during the admission process, but don’t stop there.  Apply for scholarships for each year of graduate school.  For example, employers and agencies offer scholarships for reaching a certain level of grad school (i.e. a scholarship specifically for a second year law student).  Some schools even give scholarships based on academic performance throughout the duration of the program.  For instance, most law schools award students with scholarships for achieving a certain rank within their class (such as the top 10%) after the first year.

Review the school’s valuation of costs and don’t accept it “As Is.”  Visit your school’s financial aid website or office to locate the estimated costs.  There are fees that count towards the cost of tuition, but can be opted out of.  If your student prefers to jog instead of using the gym, try to opt out of the gym fee.  Or, did your student get a new computer for an undergrad graduation gift?  Opt out of the computer lab fee or the cost allotted for the purchase of a new lap top (which is included in most grad school costs when calculating the loan).  Every school is different, so be sure to check with the financial aid office to determine what can be cut.

Multi-task experience and income.  Have your student look for opportunities to multi-task.  Building a résumé with experience is a must in this job climate even with a graduate degree.  Positions such as a teacher’s assistant can offer experience and an income, and are generally flexible with school hours.  In law school there are search engine and bar preparation student representative positions, which allow students to receive an income plus discounts on study materials and programs.  If students can receive course credit for internships that also come with pay, definitely jump on the opportunity.

Make sure undergrad loans are deferred.  Most federal and some private loans will allow for continued deferment of payment if the student is enrolled in grad school (varies on full or part-time enrollment).  Make sure the loans are deferred.  This allows the payments to be delayed without interest accruing (although you’ll need to look at your specific loan agreement because terms can differ).  If the loans are in forbearance then interest will accrue, which causes you to pay more over the life of the loan.  If you haven’t talked to the lender about repayment, then payment may become due and may set your student into default if they cannot pay – so make sure undergrad loans are situated!  If your student is able, try to make interest payments on loans, even if not required, in order to keep the outstanding balance low and the amount paid over the life of the loan less.

Create the budget.  Once you and/or your student have implemented these tools to carve out a little more flexibility in a budget, it’s time to set the budget.  Look at spending for a few weeks to a month to see where it’s all going and determine areas that can be cut back.  Ask upperclassman for unexpected costs they came across so you can be prepared for them.  Use student ID cards to get discounts on food and entertainment.  Purchase used books, eBooks, or use books from the library to get textbooks at a lower rate.  Use Microsoft Excel or free smartphone apps to create a budget that is easy to enforce.  And, if the budget goes belly up, don’t quit!  Keep at it until it becomes habit.


Jenny L. Maxey is the author of Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank, which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on November 17, 2014. Visit for more information.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Veterans and their families

Scholarships for Veterans and their families. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships for Veterans and their families. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Recent high school graduates aren’t the only students attending college. Campuses around the country are welcoming veterans returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, “resulting in a significant surge in college enrollment,” according to WORLD News Group on Nov. 11, Veterans Day 2014.

Colleges saw a similar scenario on a larger scale before World War II ended via the G.I. Bill. Then, “2.3 million veterans attended colleges and universities,” WORLD reported. Under the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, “877,000 people, mainly veterans and their dependents, have received $23.7 billion in education benefits.” WORLD gets the latter stat from The New York Times.

The result is more colleges are establishing veteran’s centers with support services and there are more resources for veterans and their families. For a list of ten military and veterans scholarships, read

College scholarships for U.S. veterans and their families.

Happy applying and Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Innovation in Education Scholarship


Monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Deadlines are the college-bound’s worst enemy so wouldn’t it be wonderful if a scholarship was available more than once in a calendar year? Even twice would be nice but how about twelve times! Yes, the Innovation in Education Scholarship offers a monthly scholarship contest which translates into a dozen different deadlines!

Leave it to Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews to feature this scholarship gem along with her vital winning tips in her must-read

Innovation in Education Scholarship

Missing deadlines can be disastrous. Read Here’s the dish on college deadlines for why. Many deadline choices make it so much easier to fit into a busy college-bound schedule. It also alleviates some of the stress from the pressure of one set deadline especially when something else comes up to rearrange the priority list.

So hurray to Monica for highlighting the monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship!

Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

What better way for the college-bound to celebrate Halloween than applying for the Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship? Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains how there are few requirements besides a creative essay about Zombies that will net the winner $2000. Read Monica’s post:

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship

Her winning tips are a “DON’T MISS” for all scholarship applicants. Get started on this ASAP because Monica warns, “This scholarship is submitted online only and ends October 31 at 11:59pm, EDT.”

Good Luck!!!