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.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Life Lessons College Scholarship Program

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College prep is about opening a teen’s eyes to future possibilities. The last thing the college-bound want to think about is human mortality. Sadly, there are college-bound students who are preparing for higher education after the loss of a parent. They encounter another layer of stresses and issues on top of the usual college prep anxiety.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has found a scholarship that can can alleviate some of their financial pressures. She says, “A total of $225,000 in scholarship money is available.”

Read Monica’s post:

 Life Lessons College Scholarship Program

for details about eligibility and the application. Pay close attention to her Winning Tips. Fortunately, most students do not qualify for this scholarship. If you are one of these, please share this info with someone who does.

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Nordstrom College Scholarship Program

Department stores can sponsor scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Department stores can sponsor scholarships. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Clothing, bedding, appliances, and school supplies are commonly found on a college-bound student’s shopping list. But your favorite department store may offer more than goods for sale. Some sponsor college scholarships, too.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has done the research and found a scholarship sponsored by the company that includes Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores. The $10,000 Nordstrom Scholarship program is open to 80 high school juniors. Monica describes the other eligibility retirements and her DON’T MISS Winning Tips in her post:

Nordstrom College Scholarship for High School Juniors

Since this scholarship is limited to high school juniors, there is less competition. Further increase your chances of winning by following Monica’s Winning Tips. They will help make your scholarship application stand out.

Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Quick, easy money college scholarships

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.30.22 AMScholarship searches can take a lot of time, especially to find those that don’t demand a lot of effort to complete. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is featuring a cool Infographic that lists 14 easy money and quick college scholarship contests and busts 6 common scholarship myths. You will want to read her post and the Infographic, then dive right into the college scholarship money pool.

Read Monica’s Quick and Easy College Scholarships

To make sure you can fit scholarship and college searches and the rest of the college prep to-do list into your busy schedule, read my Wednesday’s Parent: Best ways to manage college prep time.

Good Luck!!!

Scholarship Mom Alert: Heroes’ Legacy College Scholarship

Heroes' Legacy College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Heroes’ Legacy College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Here’s a scholarship that honors heroes via awards to their dependent unmarried children under age 23. Heroes include those fallen in battle and all who died or become disabled through their active military service since September 11, 2001.

The Heroes’ Legacy College Scholarship has specific qualifying requirements. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains what applicants should do in her Winning Tips.

Read her detailed post and tips here:

Heroes’ Legacy College Scholarship

Monica has thoroughly reviewed and researched this scholarship so interested students can benefit greatly from her extensive scholarship knowledge.

Good Luck!!!

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!!!