10.28.09 | The Ethics of Scholarships

Posted in Financial Aid, Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

Chewing TobaccoWhen it comes to free money for college most students will take what they can get, but how would you feel about accepting a scholarship from a chewing tobacco company? Scholarships are often given out by companies to improve their corporate image, but if a tobacco company shells out scholarship money is that sending the wrong message to college students?

This issue has recently been brought to the forefront at Cal Poly. The school is taking a lot of heat for allowing students to accept scholarships from the smokeless tobacco industry as prize awards in collegiate rodeo events. Doctors are upset that the tobacco companies are promoting their products to students so aggressively, but is it a problem if a student takes the money and is not swayed to become a consumer?

Many students do not receive enough federal financial aid to be able to afford college on their own. Scholarships are the ideal option for these students because unlike federal student loans and alternative student loans they do not have to be repaid. Most people would probably argue that college students are mature enough to make responsible life decisions and that they should accept whatever scholarship money they can get.  However, in this age of student activism, some students really do worry about where their scholarship money is coming from and what message it is sending.

If you are weary about where your scholarship money comes from we promise that Student Scholarship Search will only connect you with scholarships that we would be proud to represent. Also do not forget that Scholarship Points gives out scholarships (some as big as $10,000) to students every month.

10.21.09 | Secrets About Scholarships

Posted in Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

Secret2Secret2Secret3What do you know about scholarships?

Did you know that you do not have to pay scholarships back? Scholarships are free money and do not get repaid like loans.

Did you know that you do not have to have financial need to win scholarships? Scholarship winners are often chosen on the basis of merit, an essay project, or even a random drawing. Usually you do not even need to complete the FAFSA to win a scholarship.

Did you know that there might be local groups in your hometown that give out scholarships? Churches, Rotary clubs and business associations often give out scholarships to high school graduates for their town.

Did you know that there are websites that aggregate scholarships for you? There are probably over a hundred websites that will help you search for scholarships that you qualify for. For example, check out StudentScholarshipSearch.com.

Did you know that your college probably gives out scholarships? These scholarships are not just for freshmen. Many colleges have scholarships and awards based on merit, association participation and honor society involvement. Make sure you check with your financial aid office to see what you might be eligible for.

10.20.09 | FAFSA and the Middle Class

Posted in FAFSA, Federal Work-Study, Financial Aid, Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

Tuesday Rant – Opinion Piece

Here’s something you will never hear legions of die-hard fans chanting at a home game. We’re an average team – neither terrible or great. We’re somewhere in the middle – that’s not open for debate! Woo hoo!

No one wants to be in the middle yet the middle is where many of us find ourselves, the middle class that is. The middle class is where most Americans reside.  It’s where money gets tight.  And when it comes to financial aid, being stuck in the middle earnings category is like a death sentence. Ok, I may be going a bit over bored with that statement but it certainly has some serious disadvantages.

People who come from low-income families generally qualify for a wide array of financial aid because of their outstanding need. That need is based off the expected family contribution number (EFC) generated from the FAFSA.  In the case of low income families their EFC will come up zero qualifying them for maximum aid benefits. Federal aid, institutional scholarships, and work-study programs allow many to enroll in some of the top schools in the U.S. at a fraction of the cost.

On the other side of the coin you have those who come from high-income families. While they will not qualify for federal assistance the family can usually afford the cost of higher education with little problem. That only leaves the lonely middle class with their pockets empty.

For the middle class student scholarships are often your best bet, and it’s all about power in numbers.  Apply for as many as you can.  You can checkout a scholarship database that houses hundreds of scholarships or enroll in a free scholarship program that give money away each month.  True, the middle class may have to work a little harder to get the aid for school they so richly deserve, but the money is out there if you put the time and energy into the search, and I know you will.  The middle class is always willing to work a littler harder.

10.14.09 | International Scholarships

Posted in Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

Hey guys,

I’ve been hearing from more and more students lately who are enrolling in schools abroad, which is great, but they are also short on funds which isn’t so great. I’ve been recommending a site dedicated to International Scholarship opportunities. I figured instead of just sending the search link out individually to a handful of people I would give everyone the link here. I know going away for school would be an amazing experience on many levels and I hope that everyone that really wants to go can.

The international scholarships online database is a free resource for students to find scholarships that are right for them.

International Scholarship Search Link: http://www.internationalscholarships.com/

Good luck on your search!

10.13.09 | Competing for Scholarships Post-Recession

Posted in Financial Aid, Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

lacrosseThough the economy is slowly recovering, it may take years for scholarship foundations that have lost their benefactors to recover funds. Education has been hit hard over the last few years and as philanthropic donations have dwindled, demand for higher education tuition assistance has risen. Many groups that award scholarships are facing tough decisions like determining if they should give out a few big scholarships or a larger number of small scholarships.

Since more students are competing for fewer college scholarships, here are five tips for a successful post-recession scholarship search:

1: Put in at least one hour every week to scholarship searching. Being a college student is hectic, but everyone has one hour a week. Maybe you will need to wake up one hour earlier on Saturday morning or maybe you will need to give up one hour of TV, but it will be worth it!

2: Apply for anything and everything you might be eligible for.
You never know who the selection committee is looking for; it could be you! You can use StudentScholarshipSearch.com to find scholarships that you qualify for. The more scholarships you apply for the better your chances of winning will be.

3: Take your time and give every application your all.
An application that was haphazardly filled out or an essay that was half-heartedly written will not even be considered. When you submit a scholarship application you should feel like it is your best work and that it represents your best qualities.

4: Sign-up for ScholarshipPoints.com.
This service lets you earn points towards monthly free scholarships worth up to $10,000. These are random scholarship drawings which means they are not based on need or merit so anyone can win!

5: Do not waste your time applying for a scholarship if you do not meet the eligibility qualifications.
For example, if there is a scholarship for a male lacrosse player and you are a female basketball player you will not win! Focus only on scholarships that match up with your interests, background and academic achievements.

09.29.09 | Loans Are Nice, Scholarships Are Better

Posted in Financial Aid, Scholarships, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Scholarship AwardsWe all know that college is undoubtedly expensive. It is one of the biggest financial investments a person makes in his or her lifetime. I’ve been out of college for a little over a year now and know that paying for college will be on my mind every month until my student loans are paid off sometime over the next ten years. Loans are great because they allow you to pay off your education over time after you graduate, but you do end up paying back more than you borrow due to the interest you pay.  The federal Perkins and Stafford loans, which I took out, have interest rates ranging from 5 to 6.8 percent. Scholarships on the other hand are essentially free money and there is so much free money out there just waiting to be snatched up for those willing to look.

In college, between classes, co-curricular activities, a social life and my beauty sleep, every minute of my day was accounted for. Scholarships were the absolute last thing on my mind. Nonetheless, my mom would occasionally send me a new scholarship that she had found online and encourage me to apply. I certainly do not blame her for trying since I was going to college partially on her dime, but I kept telling her that I was too busy and that I would worry about scholarships later.  I now realize that applying for scholarships doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming as I had previously thought.

ScholarshipPoints.com, an Edvisors company, gives away over $100,000 dollars annually in scholarship money. By signing up, which takes less than a minute, and participating in different activities you can earn points. Each point you earn is worth one entry into the free scholarship of your choice. There are monthly $500 and $1,000 scholarship drawings and a quarterly $10,000 drawing. In addition other scholarship opportunities arise throughout the year for members.  The next $10,000 scholarship winner will be drawn on October 31, and it’s not too late to sign up, and this is just one opportunity.

scholarship cashThere are literally thousands and thousands of scholarships out there. Some scholarships are so unique that few people even apply making them very noncompetitive. Do you excel in leadership and community service? There are scholarships for you! Are you left-handed? There are special scholarships for you! Do you play the bagpipes? Well, there are scholarships for you too! The point is the money is there, you just need to take the time to find the opportunities that are right for you.

StudentScholarshipSearch.com can help connect you with hundreds of great opportunities with 873 links worth a jaw dropping $9,761,962,903 in scholarships and awards.  If you are crunched for time you can parse through the Featured Scholarships section which funnels out large monetary awards and scholarships that are fast and easy to apply for. You can also search for local scholarships that are specific to your state or country of residence. These scholarships sometimes have a smaller pool of applicants so your chances of winning are a lot better.

If you devote just an hour a week to researching and applying for scholarships I think you’d be surprised just how many you qualify for. Today I look back on my college experience with only two regrets; I wish I had taken the time to apply for more scholarships and wish I’d discovered the pastabilities meal in the café during my freshman year, yum!  Had I taken that one hour a week to search for scholarships I might have come out of college with a much smaller loan obligation.  Though had I discovered the pastabilities plan during my first year in school my waistline may have been a bit thicker come graduation.  I guess I really only have one regret after all.

09.23.09 | John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Program

Posted in Scholarships by Student Loan Network Staff

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship ProgramBy far the best part of my job is when I inform a deserving student that they’ve won a scholarship from scholarshippoints.com, which is giving away over $100,000 in scholarship money this year. The reactions I’ve got through the years have been priceless. I’ve heard everything from, “Get the bleep out of here,” to “This must be a scam,” before hearing a dial tone.  I even had one grateful student begin sobbing uncontrollably before hyperventilating – I dueled as a 911 dispatch operator that day.

I champion any initiative that helps hard working students realize their dream of higher education, which is why I am such a huge supporter of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Program.

I just learned that my neighbor and friend Sam has become eligible for the Adams Scholarship program (pending full-time enrollment in a traditional academic semester following high school graduation and completion of her Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is open to permanent Massachusetts residents.  A student must score in the advanced category in either the Mathematics or the English language arts section of the MCAS while holding a proficient or advanced standing in the second category.  Students who meet these requirement rank in the top 25% of their school district.

The scholarship is equal to the value of required tuition (not including fees) for all state-supported undergraduate courses.  The scholarship may be awarded for a maximum of four years or eight semesters of continued enrollment.  Students must also maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA to retain eligibility.

You’ve got the world at your finger tips.  The moment of enlightenment is when a persons dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities.  All that’s left is for you to make it a reality.

09.11.09 | How Does Academic Probation Affect My Federal Aid?

Posted in Repayment, Scholarships, Student Loan Links by Student Loan Network Staff

Academic probation may cost you your federal aid, or worse, your enrollment in that institution.

Satisfactory academic progress standards are set by the post-secondary school you are attending, which means no one size fits all solution exists. The formal academic probation process at Southern Cal may be entirely different from that of Florida State. Generally speaking, however, academic probation is when your overall GPA has fallen below a 2.0. You are then given a semester to raise your cumulative GPA to above 2.0 (the probationary period). If you are unable to do so you may be sanctioned to financial aid suspension or dismissal from the school.

If a student is dismissed they will need to enter another school, raise their academic standing, and then apply for reinstatement. As for your federal aid, you remain eligible for aid during your probationary period, however, if you fail to reach the 2.0 marker your next semester will be in jeopardy. It is also important to note that you must complete a certain percentage of your classes as well – usually greater than 75 percent. So enrolling in 5 classes and then dropping two won’t cut it. The classes attempted vs. completed ratio is important.

Be sure to check with your school for more details. Remember, if you are in need of funds for school there are always scholarship opportinties worth exploring. ScholoarshipPoints is giving away over $100,000 in scholarship money this year.

07.31.09 | More Money is Not a Good Thing

Posted in Financial Aid, Scholarships, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Friday Rant!

Did you hear the good news about the 2009-2010 academic year? In addition to the increase in Pell Grant money (which is great for students), Federal Stafford loan funds have been increased by $2,000! Terrific, let’s poor more student loan debt on the children of tomorrow.

Do you know what happens when the federal reserve puts more money into circulation? Inflation spikes which devalues the dollar; although that also has a positive subsequent effect on our nations trade deficit. Still, the point I’m making is that more isn’t always better. Giving students more money doesn’t get to the root of the problem, which is that tuition is so overpriced it’s ridiculous!

I really feel for the students of today who are getting out of school with mini-mortgage payments and no job prospects. The trail of tears is long. You may want to inquire about free debt consultation if you are struggling with your monthly bills like so many Americans these days. For those students who are still in school there is some hope in the form of scholarships.

At ScholarshipPoints.com, our sister site, we know how tough it is on today’s students, which is why we are committed to helping as many as we can with $100,000 in free scholarship money. Take a look at all the year-to-date winners.

Taking that one extra step may save you thousands of dollars. So I guess more money is a good thing after all, provided it’s in the form of a scholarship.

05.15.09 | Financing Your Online Degree

Online education has undergone a metamorphoses in recent years, not unlike the ugly caterpillar that blossoms into a beautiful butterfly. The concerns once raised by skeptics centering around the validity and relevance of an online degree in the marketplace have since been quelled. Questions now tend to focused on payment options. I think you may be surprised to learn just how easy it is to finance your online education.

Many online schools participate in the Federal Student Aid grant and loan programs, just the same as any certified ground campus you may attend. That means for schools such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, American Intercontinental University, Argosy University, Walden University, Keiser University, Capella University, Everest University, and Grand Canyon University, just to name a few, federal loans are at your disposal. They are all Title IV certified schools that offer federal aid to their students.

To qualify for federal aid you simply complete your FAFSA and list the school or schools (up to four) that you are interested in attending. The school(s) will then receive a copy of your student aid report from the Department of Education which they use to determine your federal aid eligibility. But for those who do not qualify for federal aid, or don’t qualify for enough, private loans are also available to you.

Private loans serve as a great supplement or alternative to federal loans. And with interest rates at historic lows there has literally never been a better time to borrow the funds needed to help cover the cost of tuition, books, and other direct educational needs.

It is also a good idea to sign-up for as many scholarships as possible. Here at the Student Loan Network we give away free scholarships every month ranging from $500 to $10,000 to eligible students. What students love most is that you don’t need to hold a certain GPA or submit an essay to qualify. If you attend a certified Title IV school located in the U.S. you are automatically qualified. Don’t miss out. To register (click here).

Follow your dreams and find the online degree program that’s right for you.

Five most recent student loan help blog posts: