So, you have completed the FAFSA and hit the submit button, now what? The first thing you should do is read and print the confirmation email. This confirmation email is an important document because it will confirm if you are eligible for the Pell Grant, list the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and loan eligibility. First time students need to understand that the loan amount of $5500 is included in most award letters and is an optional loan that will be taken out in their name if they choose to do so. Parents may also be offered the Parent Plus loan. Continue reading
Do you know the key differences between public and private institutions? One of the main differences is cost. You should familiarize yourself with the costs of public and private institutions in your state. Private institutions are generally more expensive than public but have the ability to offer good financial aid packages. Private colleges have access to large endowments. As was mentioned in a earlier post, David applied to USC as a reach college. They made it obvious they wanted him on their campus by their financial offerings. I tell students not to let the cost of an institution deter them from applying. If a school is really interested in you, the money will follow. Continue reading
As a followup to my earlier post Are In-State Schools Cheaper?, I am providing a listing of state and regional programs that offer in-state tuition. The information is courtesy of the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators. Continue reading
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on whether you should attend college in-state or out-of-state. The major factors are cost of attendance, your talents and what you bring to the table academically. Some students want to attend their state school because they feel it is cheaper. Generally speaking, it is. But, attending an in-state school may not necessarily get you the best scholarship offers or tuition discounts.
There are colleges that will give you in-state tuition for your academic merit or talent which may be cheaper than your in-state. Schools like Indiana State, University of Missouri, Columbia, Texas A & M, University of Arkansas, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Western Michigan, and Ball State are all known for giving in-state tuition to out-of-state students. I feel you should not attend an out-of-state school unless you are getting some type of monetary return. You may be worth more money out-of-state attending a public or private institution. Continue reading
There are scholarships for continuing college students. I find that too many current college students go to the financial aid office to take out more loans, adding to their debt burden rather than taking the time to research scholarships. Additional scholarships are found at the institution the student attends and from outside organizations.
Freshman come into college thinking the scholarship search ended once they graduated from high school. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my 15 years of researching scholarships I have noticed a trend of more scholarship opportunities for college sophomores, juniors and graduate students. These scholarships should be researched in your junior and senior year of high school. All colleges have a scholarship page which lists institutional and departmental scholarships and the requirements for receiving them. Generally, they require a 3.0 GPA.
Where should you look for these scholarships?
- Check your school’s departmental major website page
- Financial Aid Office
- Scholarship Search Engines (i.e. Fastweb)
- Follow Scholarshopmom on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- If all else fails, Google.
As a Scholarship Coach, I am frustrated by the number of students who miss out on scholarship opportunities because of their busyness. These are students who have excellent GPA’s, great standardized test scores, have volunteered and participated in extracurricular activities. They have all the qualities and characteristics scholarship organizations are looking for. What they lack is time. Continue reading
Scholarship applications are available for submission year-round. The hot season however is September-May. To make the process go smoothly, you need a plan. There are specific “tools of the trade” you will need. The tools are resume of awards, honors and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and personal statement. Continue reading