Welcome to my blog on affording college, financial aid, student loans, student consolidation loans, grants, scholarships, work-study, investments and more! If you’re a parent with teenagers preparing to begin college, affording-college.blogspot.com contains great info on numerous ways to afford financing their education. This page will continuously be updated with different financial aid tips and ideas to help you in affording college...enjoy!

Information includes tips on FAFSA, scholarships, financial aid, student loans, Millenium Gates Scholarship, and much, much more...This blog covers several outstanding scholarships that will provide a lot of money for college students, so be sure to look around!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Graduate Debt Free? Check out these full ride scholarships!

As I have mentioned on Money for College Students, there are some full ride scholarships out there that will cover your ENTIRE cost of college! That’s right. These superb financial aid packages pay every dime of your tuition and housing costs (books, etc. included as well I believe) and ensure that you will graduate debt free.

One of these full ride scholarships is the SMART Scholarship provided for students pursuing education in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics areas. If you are selected to receive this scholarship, your education costs will be covered by this scholarship up until you receive your degree. After you graduate, one of the requirements of this scholarship is that you then work at a DoD laboratory for an amount of time equal to the number of years that the scholarship covered your college costs. Given that the pay for such jobs is decent, this is definitely an excellent financial aid package. Best of all, it is not determined based on financial need, but merely your academic aptitude and accomplishments. The deadline has passed for this year (December 15), but you should definitely look into this scholarship for the upcoming year.

Another great full ride scholarship opportunity available is a NASA full ride scholarship for college students. The NASA Aeronautics Scholarship awards $15,000 per year for two years for undergraduate students, and also offers winners a $10,000 Summer Internship at a NASA research center. NASA also offers full ride financial assistance to graduate students. Obviously, this scholarship will apply more towards the more technical majors out there.

Another full ride scholarship possibility for students of any major is financial aid available through ROTC. This type of financial aid will require that you serve in the military for a few years after college. ROTC scholarships can range from a few thousand dollars to a full ride, depending on the applicant, making this yet another great financial aid option to consider for college.

Scholarships for College Students

Scholarships are the best form of financial aid out there for college students and soon-to-be college students. Period. There are several reason why college scholarships are better than almost every other form of financial aid out there.

Scholarships for college beat student loans any day. If you get a student loan, you are going to be in debt after college. And when you first start earning money from a job, it is going to have to go towards repaying your student loan. Depending on how much you take out in student loans, you could end up paying two to three times the cost of the student loan back after college. Student loan consolidation doesn’t make it too much of a better deal either. By pursuing scholarships, you will (hopefully) not have to worry about paying back anything after college.
Scholarships for high school and college students are also a much better deal than work study. In college, the money you will earn from work study will probably amount to somewhere around ten dollars per hour. On the other hand, even if you spend 100 hours applying for scholarships but only win $10,000 in scholarships, that still amounts to $100 per hour, which is clearly a much better deal!

In my opinion, scholarships are on the same level as financial aid grants for college students. In fact, federal and university grants for college students are usually a better deal than scholarships. Why is this so? When it comes to grants, applications usually don’t involve writing essays, which take time; eligibility for grants is usually based on merely financial need and sometimes your grades in school. Thus, if you meet the qualifications, you could receive a federal grant for college by spending only 10 minutes filling out a form.

Many scholarships for college out there can be found simply by using scholarship search engines online. However, to be eligible for almost any financial aid grant for college, as well as many scholarships (often including ones offered by universities), you must complete the FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) form. Many grants for college students out there and several scholarships are awarded based on the information you provide in the FAFSA, so it is essential that you fill it out and submit it by the deadline.

Scholarships for High School Sophomores

In this post on Money for College Students, I will continue my discussion of available scholarships for high school sophomores. There is a good chance that by applying for scholarships at such an early time, students will have a greater chance of winning the financial aid. This is due to the fact that not too many sophomores in high school apply for college scholarships, which means that if you apply, your chances of winning these scholarships will be much greater!

Another scholarship available for high school sophomores is that offered by the National Peace Essay Contest. In this scholarship, students obviously must write an essay as part of the contest, so the key to winning the scholarship will be creative writing skills. This scholarship contest has awards available that range from $1,000 to $10,000 apiece. While this scholarship will not entirely cover the costs of college, it is certainly a considerable chunk of financial assistance. It would be better than taking out a student loan or something like that.

The Eco-Hero Award is another scholarship available to high school students, and this one is for students that show environmental awareness. To be eligible to win this scholarship, students must work on some sort of project that shows environmental concerns. I think that this would be a scholarship where it wouldn’t be too hard to stand out as an applicant. Once again, this scholarship does not cover the entire costs of college, but the amount of financial aid it awards is still decent.

Another scholarship contest available to high school sophomores is the Siemens Westinghouse Competition. This scholarship program has awards available anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 dollars, so this is definitely one worth checking out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More of the Easiest Scholarships to Get

It’s been awhile since I’ve made any posts on the easiest scholarships to get for college and high school students out there, so I thought I would do another one of those. There is virtually no point in spending tons of time applying for a scholarship if it is competitive enough to where your chances of winning the scholarship are small. You should instead focus on winning scholarship awards that you have a fair chance of winning, or that are at least less competitive. That is one of the things I want you to learn in the Money for College Students guide.

Some of the easiest scholarships to get don’t even require that you have a 4.0 GPA, or are the top student at your high school. Surprisingly, there are a lot of these types of scholarships available out there! As I said, the easiest scholarships to win are the one’s that not many apply for, and hence are less competitive.

Some of these types of scholarships include local scholarships, as those are always less competitive. Plus, if you are a “brilliant” student, your chances of winning a local scholarship are extremely high. There is one book out there called “Scholarships for B Students” (or something along those lines) that you’d definitely want to consider reading if you are more of the average student.

Scholarships for High School Sophomores

For those of you in high school that are planning ahead for college, I have assembled a list of college scholarships that you are already eligible for. Today, I will be covering college scholarships for high school sophomores, and surprisingly, there are quite a few of these scholarships out there.

The first scholarship for high school sophomores that I will be covering is the Fountainhead Essay Contest. In this contest, you have to write an essay on the novel Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. Obviously, this scholarship will be more competitive (since it’s at a national level, and anyone from any major, etc. can apply). However, 236 of these scholarships are available, and they are for $10,000 each, so you should definitely consider applying to this program.

The next scholarship I will be covering is the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. This is another writing contest, but only 1 award of $4,000 is available. Obviously, this one will be much more competitive as a result, so I would advise that you only apply if you are a very skilled, creative writer.

Another great scholarship opportunity available for high school sophomores is the McKelvey Entrepreneurial E-Scholarship. 100 awards are available and they are for $10,000 each! If you see yourself as being a future entrepreneur, this scholarship will definitely fit you. Creativity and creative writing (as well as unique ideas) will help you in winning this scholarship.

The Courageous Persuaders Scholarship contest involves creating a 30-second TV commercial that is targeted towards middle school students. In the commercial, you should warn them of the dangers of underage alcohol. This high school scholarship has 7 awards of $500 to $3000 available. If you are good at making videos and have a creative side, you should definitely consider applying for this one!

Scholarships for high school sophomores will usually require you having a decent GPA as well; this isn’t the sole factor, but it can definitely increase your chances of winning the financial aid available, as can having a strong record of extracurricular activities.

FAFSA Financial Aid Tips

It’s almost that time of the year again. Whether you are a high school senior planning to attend college next year, or are currently a continuing college student, it’s almost time to start looking into FAFSA financial aid again and completing the fafsa

As I have repeated throughout Money for College Students, you’re financial aid status (in other words, your financial need) is largely determined from what you put on the FAFSA, therefore the FAFSA results can largely determine what you will be eligible for in terms of scholarships, grants, loans, work-study, etc. Therefore, it is essential that you make completing the FAFSA a priority right now, as it won’t be too long before it is due.

Even if you don’t think you will qualify for any FAFSA financial aid, you should still definitely fill out this form as you may end up being surprised. I knew several people that thought they wouldn’t qualify for any financial aid or scholarships, but after completing the FAFSA they were actually offered some. So, it is imperative that you do this.

Over the next few articles, I will be covering FAFSA tips on how to complete the form and what will help your chances of receiving extra financial assistance. This form is very tedious and takes awhile to complete, so I would advise getting started on it as soon as possible. The Holiday Break would probably be an ideal time to do it.

Gates Millenium Scholarship Amount

If you have not yet done so and meet the criteria, you should definitely apply for the Bill and Melinda Gates Millenium Scholarship. This scholarship represents a large amount of financial aid for students in need, and could very well end up covering your college tuition and housing costs that are not met by other forms of financial assistance

Currently, the deadline to apply for this scholarship is January 11, 2010. The scholarship application process is lengthy, and includes a personal application and two nomination forms (one is a sort of letter of recommendation). So if you plan to apply for this financial aid, I would advise doing so as soon as possible.

One question that I have seen repeatedly asked is what’s the gates millenium scholarship amount? How much financial assistance does it provide to the students who are selected as winners? Well, the Gates Scholarship amount depends on how much financial need you have. In other words, it depends on how much financial need you have that isn’t covered by other scholarships, grants, university assistance, etc. For example, one person’s college costs might amount to $20,000 per year. If he receives $15,000 from other scholarships and grants, then the Gates millenium scholarship amount would be about $5,000 if he were selected as a winner.

On the other hand, if another student selected as a winner for the scholarship was attending a university that costs $30,000 per year, but received no financial assistance, theoretically, the gates millennium scholarship amount would cover the entire costs of his or her education.

In the end, the point is that the Gates Scholarship covers any unmet financial need that the selected winners may have.

More Gates Scholarship Essay Questions

There are three more questions on the Gates Millenium Scholarship Essays that we need to cover, so I will be doing that in this article. As I mentioned previously, this scholarship provides A LOT of financial assistance for college students, so if you are looking for more financial aid and meet the criteria, definitely consider this program as an option.

Anyways, the next question on the application section asks you to explain what areas you have acquired knowledge in outside of school, how you became interested in it, and how you mastered it. You can also discuss how you learned more about an academic subject outside the classroom. Obviously, the key to doing well in this section of the scholarship application will be to describe any hobbies you may have and what you enjoy learning about. This is the place on the scholarship application essay to really elaborate on what your passions are outside of the academic realm and show who you are as a person.

The next question on the Gates Millenium Scholarship Essay asks you basically to describe anything else about your personal characteristics (or when you have overcome an obstacle) that may help the scholarship committee in evaluating your application. This part of the scholarship application is where you have a chance to say something about yourself that you haven’t already. Obviously, don’t reiterate your accomplishments discussed earlier in the application. Think of something else unique to say that will make yourself stand out further as an applicant and show the scholarship selection committee more about who YOU are as a person!

The last question of the Gates Scholarship Essays section of the application applies only to students who graduated from high school or earned their GED more than one year ago. It asks you to discuss the activities you have been involved in since completing high school; obviously here, once again you will not want to just repeat information already included in your scholarship application. Go further and discuss one or two specific activities, and the contributions you made to the organization/community through them. Also try to tie in how these activities further developed your leadership abilities.

Well, that’s the end to the essay section of this scholarship application. The rest of the personal application for this scholarship mainly involves listing items such as your extracurricular/leadership activities, classes taken, grades, and the like.

Currently, the deadline for this scholarship is January 11, 2010. As I said, if you meet the criteria, definitely apply. It provides a large amount of financial aid for students in need!

Scholarships for Current College Students

I spend a lot of time on Money for College Students discussing financial aid possibilities and scholarships for high school students that have not yet begun college. I’d like to take this post to elaborate on available scholarships for current college students, as your financial aid need doesn’t just suddenly disappear when you begin college.

Scholarships for current college students can be both easier to win, and harder to win, depending on the program. One of the advantages of applying for scholarships once you are in college is that there are often more scholarships available that are specific to your major. For example, if your major is economics/finance related, there are scholarships out there that only students from that major are eligible for. These sort of scholarships are much less competitive than scholarships that anyone can apply for, which means you will have a greater chance of winning them.

On the other hand, now that you are in college, I feel that scholarship committees expect more out of you as an applicant. Not only should your scholarship application essay be even more vivid than the ones you wrote in high school (e.g. they need to do an even better job of showing the scholarship selection committee who you are as a person), but you also need to continue your record of extracurricular activities and community service (well, that might not be as important, depending on what scholarship we are talking about). Luckily, having a perfect 4.0 GPA isn’t necessary to win these types of scholarships, but you should still try to maintain at least a 3.5.

In some future posts, I will elaborate on a few scholarships for current college students that you should definitely consider applying for. In the end, remember that one’s specific to your major/background will be the easiest to win, and that scholarships covering a “broader” spectrum will be much more competitive.

Scholarships for Average Students

In this post, I will be discussing scholarships for average students that are available out there. As we all know, not every student that desires to attend college is a brilliant, straight-A student that is immensely involved in extracurricular activities. Some of you are students that manage to get by in school with decent grades, but lack that “shine” that gets the valedictorians accepted into elite universities and endless scholarship awards.

For the more “average” student that is looking for financial aid scholarships to help pay for college. Believe it or not, scholarships for average students actually do exist, and there are quite a few of them out there. These scholarships usually don’t include high GPA’s as one of the requirements, given that you are an “average” student. However, that doesn’t mean that brilliant students with high GPA’s and the rest can’t apply. These scholarships usually use criteria, such as community service and essays to determine who the award will go to.

Thus, if you plan to apply to scholarships for average students, you must be sure to be involved in community and extracurricular activities and spend plenty of time on your application essays. In fact, your scholarship application essay will be the key to winning this sort of scholarship. That is the chance where you will really have to chance to stand out and show the scholarship committee who you are. Even if you are an average student, if you put enough time and effort into the essay, you will still be able to stand out from the applicant crowd and shine, which means you will have a great chance of winning the scholarship.

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