Category Archives: Scholarships and Grants

How to Negotiate Your Financial Aid Package

As you begin to receive your college acceptance letters, the reality of financial aid becomes a critical part of your decision-making process. The financial aid package offered by your dream school might fall short of expectations, but it’s essential to understand that you might have the option to seek a more favorable offer. To start this process on the right foot, your approach to the discussion with financial aid officers should be strategic and measured.

How to Negotiate Your Financial Aid Package

Understanding the financial aid negotiation process

Your financial aid package may feel disappointing initially, but it’s crucial to remember that it isn’t necessarily final. Colleges often have some flexibility in their budgets but are guided by policies and precedents that structure their offers. To broach the subject of increased aid successfully, you need to change your mindset from one of negotiation—which can imply conflict—to one of appealing or requesting a review based on specific circumstances or new information. Colleges are primarily interested in fairness and responding to genuine need.

Begin by carefully reviewing your initial offer. Understand the details: grants and scholarships (free money), work-study opportunities (earned money), and loans (borrowed money). Analyzing these components will arm you with knowledge about where there might be room for adjustments.

Be prepared with concrete reasons why the current package is insufficient for your needs. Has there been a change in your family’s financial situation? Do you have updated academic records that weren’t included in your original application? Or perhaps you received a more competitive offer from another institution that aligns closely with what you’re looking for academically and personally.

The importance of negotiating your aid package

Negotiating—or rather, appealing—your financial aid offer is not just about getting more money; it’s about ensuring that your education is financially feasible without placing an undue burden on you or your family. An improved offer could be the deciding factor between accepting an admission offer or having to pass up on an opportunity due to cost constraints.

Aid offices are usually willing to discuss options and may help identify additional scholarships, grants, or adjusted loan options. By addressing your concerns appropriately and supplying relevant supporting documents, you increase the possibility of receiving a revised financial aid package better suited to making your college dream affordable. Remember, advocating for yourself through respectful dialogue can be a valuable learning experience in itself, providing insights into personal finance management as you prepare for college life.

Assessing Your Financial Aid Offer

When you receive your financial aid offer, it’s imperative to scrutinize every detail. You need to be able to distinguish between the types of aid presented: identify what’s a grant or scholarship—which doesn’t have to be repaid—from work-study positions and loans, which do come with an obligation. Understand that this is your starting point; the first draft of what your college education will cost you and where the money is coming from. Knowing the specifics will arm you with the information needed should you choose to appeal for more favorable terms.

Identifying gaps in your financial aid package

You must pinpoint precisely where your financial aid offer falls short. Is there a considerable gap between what’s offered and your family’s ability to contribute? Assess if any recent developments—like a job loss or unexpected medical expenses—have affected your family’s finances since the initial application submission. Additionally, if you’ve excelled academically or contributed significantly to community service recently, have this information on hand as well – it may strengthen your case for additional merit-based aid.

Equally important is comparing offers from other colleges. If they’ve recognized something impressive about you that your chosen college has overlooked, don’t hesitate to let them know. However, present this information factually and respectfully rather than as an ultimatum; you’re aiming for dialogue, not demands. By being thorough and meticulous, you contextualize why a reevaluation of your financial aid package is not only warranted but necessary. Approach this process with confidence in your value as a student and clarity about your needs – after all, the aim is not just enrollment, but sustainable enrollment without untenable financial burdens.

Preparing to Negotiate

Before you enter into negotiations for a better financial aid package, it’s crucial to be thoroughly prepared. Start by gathering all relevant financial information. This includes not only your family’s tax returns and any records of untaxed income but also a list of circumstances that have changed since you filed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Remember, preparation is key in demonstrating why an adjustment is needed. As you articulate the reasons behind your negotiation, ensure that all communication with the financial aid office is courteous and professional. Acknowledge their initial offer and express gratitude before you make your case for additional assistance.

Gathering the Necessary Documentation and Evidence

When approaching negotiations, arm yourself with concrete evidence of how your situation has changed or differs from other applicants’. Obtain letters from employers indicating a reduction in income or medical bills validating unexpected expenses. Such documents are powerful tools to substantiate your request for more aid. Moreover, if you’ve had significant academic achievements or community involvement that wasn’t included in your original application, now is the time to bring those accolades forward with certificates or recommendation letters.

To bolster your negotiation, be ready to present offers from other colleges—if you have them—highlighting where they may exceed what’s currently on the table. Leading with facts about financial changes or additional institutional offers provides credence to your appeal without resulting in hard feelings. With this approach, you’re not just asking for more money; you’re providing concrete reasons why additional support is justified. Be methodical and strategic in preparing for this conversation; it’s about finding mutual ground that aligns with both your education goals and the college’s capability to support them financially.

The Appeal Letter

How to craft an effective financial aid appeal letter

To start, you need to ensure that your appeal letter is directed to the right person. Research and find the most appropriate official or department head to address your appeal, as this can enhance the seriousness of your request. Write a concise letter—no more than a page—that clearly states your ask. Explain succinctly why you need the additional financial aid. Be specific about the reasons for the increase in assistance, whether due to unforeseen circumstances or changes in your financial status since submitting the FAFSA.

It’s not just about stating what has changed, but also explaining how these changes have affected your ability to pay for college. Providing context will help the financial aid officer understand your situation better. When mentioning any special circumstances that have prompted your appeal, always remember to include relevant documentation to support your claims. This could be medical bills, job termination notices, or other proof of economic hardship.

Clearly state the amount of financial aid you are requesting. Do not leave it open-ended; providing an exact number shows that you’ve done the math and are aware of how much support you truly need. This level of detail illustrates a well-thought-out request and showcases your commitment to finding a solution that works for you and the institution.

Key points to include in your appeal

In summing up your case for more aid, reiterate that while you’re appreciative of the current offer, it does not fully meet your needs. Highlight any recent academic achievements or community service engagements that might strengthen your request but weren’t included in your initial application. Always maintain a tone of gratefulness and respect throughout.

Finally, before making a submission, double-check that all necessary forms required by the school are completed in full and accompany your appeal letter. This generally includes not only your signed letter but also all supportive documentation neatly organized and labeled. Submitting a complete package demonstrates professionalism and may avoid unnecessary delays.

Communicating with the Financial Aid Office

When reaching out to the financial aid office, it’s important to express your situation clearly and respectfully. You need to be prepared: have all your documents gathered and any numbers pertaining to your family’s financial situation at hand. If you’re setting up a meeting, do so promptly, showing that you’re serious about addressing your financial aid concerns. During your conversations, always remain courteous, as the people on the other end are more inclined to help if they’re treated well. Be direct but polite in discussing your needs and asking for what you believe is fair.

Remember that timing is also key. Engage with the financial aid office soon after receiving your offer and do so well before any deadlines. This gives enough time for reconsideration of your package and also demonstrates that attending their institution is a priority for you. Additionally, keep all correspondences professional: use formal salutations, check for grammatical errors, and maintain a straightforward but amiable tone in both written and verbal communications.

What to expect during the negotiation conversation

You should approach this conversation with realistic expectations. Not all requests will result in increased aid, but entering discussion with a clear understanding of your situation strengthens your position. The officer may ask detailed questions about your finances or why certain expenses cannot be met; be ready to answer these questions with transparency.

Your aim is not just to convey your need but also to show how investing in your education benefits the school. If you excelled in high school or have been active within your community, these are points worth mentioning as they add value to you as a prospective student.

Finally, understand that this may not be a one-and-done conversation. Financial aid officers might need time to review additional information or speak with colleagues before they can give you an answer. Therefore, patience is crucial throughout this process. Keep track of who you spoke with and when so you can follow up accordingly without being overbearing.

Special Circumstances to Consider

If your family’s financial circumstances have changed since you submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you need to inform the financial aid office promptly. Have documentation ready to substantiate your claim—this can include medical bills, job loss verification, or any other relevant financial information that wasn’t previously reported. It’s critical that you clearly state how these changes affect your ability to contribute to college costs. Be specific and factual about the impact, so there is no ambiguity regarding the need for additional aid.

Addressing special circumstances in your appeal

When you appeal for more financial aid due to special circumstances, concisely identify what those are. This could range from a family member’s serious illness, which leads to increased medical expenses, to a parent’s unemployment. Whatever it may be, explain how this diminishes your financial resources. It’s essential that you communicate effectively, stressing the unforeseen nature of these circumstances.

Your approach should combine personal explanation with objective data. You’re not just sharing your story; you’re making a case for why the standard financial aid assessment doesn’t accurately reflect your current situation. Be prepared for follow-up questions and possibly providing additional documentation.

Remember that your goal is to demonstrate that these circumstances significantly restrict your family’s ability to finance your education—and therefore merit a reassessment of your financial aid package. Keep in mind the importance of being forthright and respectful in these interactions. The financial aid officers are there to help, but they can only do so when they have a complete and honest picture of your needs.

Negotiating Based on Financial Need

When you feel that the FAFSA form doesn’t accurately capture your financial need, it’s important to gather evidence that can paint a clearer picture. Start by reviewing your family’s income and tax information from two years ago—the basis of your initial FAFSA submission. If there’s been a significant change in your financial situation since then, such as a drop in income or an unavoidable increase in expenses, collect documentation that reflects this. Pay stubs, unemployment benefits statements, or notices of unexpected expenses like home repairs are useful.

Next, craft a letter to the financial aid office explaining these developments. Be concise but thorough—detail the specifics of your situation and its impact on your family’s current finances. Connect the dots for them; show how the numbers from two years ago differ starkly from today’s reality. By providing this concrete evidence alongside your explanation, you facilitate a more accurate reassessment of your financial need.

Using the CSS Profile to negotiate your financial aid package

Institutions that require the CSS Profile often delve deeper into family finances than the FAFSA does. If you’ve completed a CSS Profile, use it as another tool in your negotiation arsenal. Highlight any special circumstances or expenses it captures that the FAFSA might not—such as private school tuition for siblings or extended family support obligations.

Your negotiation should stress any relevant discrepancies between the information captured in these forms and what is actually happening now. Remember to include any additional supporting documentation from third parties if relevant. This corroborating evidence strengthens your case for a revised financial aid offer.

Throughout this process, maintain direct and respectful communication with financial aid officers. Your ability to clearly articulate changes and back them up with solid proof is crucial—it allows them to understand your predicament and encourages them to find ways within their policies to possibly accommodate your needs.

What to Do If Deadlines Have Passed

If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline, don’t panic. You still have potential avenues to explore. Begin by contacting your school’s financial aid office. Explain your situation and ask if they have any resources or alternative forms of aid available. Some schools, like Yale, encourage students to apply for financial aid even after deadlines have lapsed.

Also, be aware that many schools and states may have their own financial aid deadlines that differ from the FAFSA’s. To prevent missing out next time, investigate these specific dates and ensure that you apply well ahead of time. Doing so could make you eligible for additional scholarships and grants that require separate applications.

In the meantime, look into scholarship opportunities outside of your university. Many private organizations offer scholarships throughout the year; these could provide much-needed financial support. Websites like Fastweb and Scholarships.com can help you search for relevant scholarships matched to your profile.

Consider taking a part-time job or paid internship related to your field of study if your schedule allows it. Not only will this provide some income to help with your expenses, but it can also give you valuable experience in your future career field.

Lastly, if possible, meet with a financial advisor or counselor at your school. They might assist you in creating a budget plan to manage your finances efficiently as you navigate through the upcoming semesters without federal aid. Remember, it’s important to stay proactive about looking for alternatives and meeting all subsequent deadlines.

In short, remain resourceful and proactive following a missed FAFSA deadline – options are available if you take immediate action and seek them out earnestly.

 

The Role of Work-Study Programs in Financing Your College Education

Work-Study is an integral part of financial aid for students, offering a way to gain work experience and manage college expenses. This program provides part-time jobs that accommodate academic commitments and often relate to the student’s course of study.

By participating in Work-Study, students earn money for education-related expenses, enhance their resumes with practical skills, and make valuable connections within their fields. The additional income does not count against their financial aid eligibility, making it a beneficial program for those with financial need. Maintaining good academic standing is crucial to continue eligibility for the Work-Study program.

Work-Study Programs

Eligibility Criteria for Work-Study Programs

Who Qualifies for Work-Study Programs?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is available to both undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrable financial need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility eligibility. Early application is advised, as funds are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Key Requirements for Participation in Work-Study

To participate in FWS, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. The student’s financial need influences the exact award amount, the timing of their application, and the funding capabilities of the institution. The program prioritizes community service roles and positions relevant to the student’s area of study.

Applying for Work-Study

Process of Applying for Work-Study Financial Aid

Students seeking to join the Federal Work-Study program should first file their FAFSA. Post-submission, they must then check their eligibility with their respective college’s financial aid office. If approved, students frequently must find work placements on their own, although some schools assist with job matching.

Tips for a Successful Work-Study Application

Applicants are advised to apply early due to limited funds and to investigate jobs that align with their interests and field of study. They should also maintain adequate academic performance to remain eligible for participation in the work-study program.

Benefits of Work-Study for College Students

– Students can earn money for tuition and educational expenses.

– Reduces reliance on student loans, lowering future debt.

– Payments are usually flexible and accommodate academic schedules.

Career-related Advantages of Work-Study Jobs

– Provides relevant work experience in a field of interest.

– Allows networking opportunities with professionals and peers.

– Enhances the resume for post-graduation job opportunities.

Types of Work-Study Jobs

On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Work-Study Positions

– On-campus jobs often involve working for the university itself.

– Off-campus work-study may partner with non-profit organizations or public agencies.

* Students typically find on-campus positions more convenient.

Different Roles Available in Work-Study Programs

– Job roles can vary from administrative duties to research assistance.

– Some positions might align closely with a student’s academic field.

– Flexibility in job tasks allows for a range of experiences within work-study programs.

Balancing Work-Study and Academic Responsibilities

Students must effectively manage their time to balance academics and work-study jobs. Prioritizing essential tasks and assignments helps in maintaining this balance. The use of planners and calendars can also facilitate better time management, ensuring that students meet both employment and academic deadlines efficiently.

Strategies to Manage Academic Load with Work-Study

Careful selection of work hours and job types is crucial for maintaining academic performance. Seeking jobs with flexible hours or those that complement academic schedules can be helpful. Additionally, utilizing campus resources like tutoring and counseling services offers support in managing coursework alongside work commitments.

Work-Study Programs and Student Loans

Work-study programs offer a strategic way to offset college costs. Students can earn money during their academic years by providing part-time employment, potentially reducing the amount they need to borrow through student loans. This proactive approach to financing education helps students minimize post-graduation debt burdens and fosters a sense of financial responsibility early on.

Comparing Work-Study Earnings to Student Loan Debt

To comprehend the financial difference work-study makes, consider student loan debt upon graduation. Students participating in work-study often emerge with lower debts compared to peers who solely relied on loans. The work-study earnings, which are not included in the student’s total income for the following school years, serve as an effective tool to limit borrowing, providing them a head start in financial stability post-graduation.

 

Learn How to Apply for Scholarships Effectively

Applying for scholarships can be daunting, but with the right approach, it can also be highly rewarding. This guide provides valuable insights for individuals seeking to apply for scholarships effectively.

How to Apply for Scholarships Effectively

Overview of the scholarship application process

Finding Opportunities: Begin by conducting thorough research to identify relevant scholarship opportunities. Utilize online search engines, scholarship databases, and consult with university financial aid offices for potential options.

Organizing Applications: Create a system to keep track of application deadlines, requirements, and necessary documents. Keep a checklist and set reminders to ensure all applications are submitted on time.

Writing Compelling Essays: Scholarship essays play a crucial role in the application process. Take the time to understand the essay prompts and tailor your responses accordingly thoroughly. Showcasing your achievements, ambitions, and personal experiences can make your essay stand out.

Highlighting Accomplishments: It is important to showcase your academic and extracurricular achievements. Highlight leadership roles, volunteer experiences, awards, and other significant contributions demonstrating your commitment and dedication.

Gather Strong Recommendation Letters: Reach out to teachers, mentors, or employers who can vouch for your abilities and character. Request letters of recommendation well in advance to ensure they have enough time to write thoughtful and personalized letters.

Proofreading and Editing: Before submitting your applications, carefully proofread and edit essays and other written materials. Ensure they are free from errors and effectively communicate your ideas.

Submitting Applications: Make sure to submit all required documents before the deadline. Double-check that you have completed all sections of the application form accurately.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of successfully applying for scholarships and securing the funds you need for your educational goals.

Researching Scholarship Opportunities

When it comes to applying for scholarships, taking the time to research and find the right opportunities is crucial. Here are some key steps to help you navigate the scholarship application process effectively.

Utilizing scholarship search engines and websites

One of the best ways to find scholarship opportunities is by utilizing scholarship search engines and websites. These platforms compile a vast range of scholarships, making it easier for you to filter through and find ones that match your qualifications and interests.

Considering eligibility requirements and deadlines

Before applying for any scholarship, carefully review the eligibility requirements and deadlines. Ensure that you meet the necessary criteria, such as academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, or specific career goals. Pay close attention to application deadlines and ensure you submit all required documents on time.

Exploring local scholarships and community organizations

Don’t overlook local scholarships and community organizations in your search for funding opportunities. Many businesses, nonprofits, and civic groups offer scholarships for students within their community. Reach out to these organizations or search their websites to discover potential scholarships that may not be widely advertised.

By conducting thorough research and being organized in your approach, you can maximize your chances of securing scholarships that can lighten the financial burden of your education. Remember to put effort into writing compelling essays that illustrate your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Good luck!

Organizing Scholarship Applications

Creating a checklist and timeline

When applying for scholarships, staying organized is crucial. Start by creating a checklist of all the scholarships you plan to apply for and their respective deadlines. This will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that you don’t miss any important dates. Additionally, consider creating a timeline that outlines when each application should be completed. Breaking down the tasks into manageable chunks will make the process less overwhelming.

Gathering necessary documents and information

Before starting your scholarship applications, gather all the necessary documents and information. This may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and financial information. Preparing these items in advance will save you time and make the application process smoother.

Keeping track of deadlines and submission requirements

Each scholarship has its own set of submission requirements and deadlines. Keeping track of these details is vital to avoid missing out on opportunities. Consider using a spreadsheet or digital calendar to note the deadlines and specific requirements for each scholarship. This will help you prioritize your time and ensure that you submit your applications on time.

By organizing your scholarship applications effectively, you can maximize your chances of securing financial assistance for your education. Stay organized, gather all necessary documents, and keep track of deadlines to streamline the application process.”

Writing Compelling Scholarship Essays

When it comes to applying for scholarships, one crucial aspect that can make or break your chances is the essay. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you write a compelling scholarship essay.

Understanding the essay prompt and requirements

Before you start writing, it’s essential to understand the essay prompt and requirements thoroughly. Take your time to analyze the topic and identify key points or themes that need to be addressed in your essay.

Brainstorming and outlining your essay

Once you grasp the essay prompt, brainstorm ideas and concepts that align with it. Create an outline to organize your thoughts and ensure a logical flow in your essay.

Crafting an attention-grabbing introduction

Begin your essay with an attention-grabbing introduction that hooks the reader and sets the tone for the rest of the essay. You can use an anecdote, quote, or thought-provoking statement to captivate the reader’s attention.

Developing strong supporting points and examples

In the body paragraphs, develop strong supporting points and illustrate them with relevant examples. Use clear and concise language to convey your message effectively.

Conclusion and editing tips

End your essay with a powerful conclusion summarizing your main points and leaving a lasting impression on the reader. After finishing the first draft, thoroughly edit and proofread your essay for grammar, spelling, and clarity.

Remember, a well-written scholarship essay can greatly increase your chances of securing financial aid for your education. Good luck with your applications!

Gathering Letters of Recommendation

When applying for scholarships, letters of recommendation are crucial in showcasing your abilities and potential. Here are some key steps to effectively gather these recommendations.

Selecting appropriate recommenders

Choosing the right individuals to provide your letters of recommendation is essential. Consider professionals who have witnessed your accomplishments or academics who can vouch for your skills and character. Personal relationships should be avoided to maintain objectivity and credibility.

Requesting letters of recommendation

Approaching potential recommenders requires tact and good timing. Make sure to ask in advance, giving them sufficient time to craft thoughtful letters. Clearly communicate your goals and aspirations, sharing specific details about the scholarship you are applying for.

By following these steps, you increase your chances of obtaining strong letters of recommendation that can help you stand out from the competition in the scholarship application process. Remember to express gratitude towards your recommenders as they take the time and effort to support your endeavors.

Submitting Scholarship Applications

When it comes to applying for scholarships, being organized and efficient is key. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the scholarship application process successfully:

Double-checking application details

Before hitting that submit button, it’s crucial to double-check all the application details. Ensure that you have provided accurate and up-to-date information, including your personal details, academic achievements, and any other requirements specified by the scholarship provider. Mistakes or omissions could result in your application being disqualified.

Submitting applications on time

Meeting deadlines is a non-negotiable aspect of scholarship applications. Keep track of the application deadline and make sure you submit your materials well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications. Some scholarships may even require submitting additional documents, so plan your time accordingly.

Following up with confirmation or thank-you emails

After submitting your scholarship application, following up with a confirmation or thank-you email is always a good idea. This gesture shows your professionalism and gratitude towards the scholarship provider. Not only does it leave a positive impression, but it also keeps you informed about the status of your application.

By following these steps and being proactive in the scholarship application process, you increase your chances of securing financial assistance for your education. Remember to begin your search early, stay organized, and put effort into writing compelling essays to make your application stand out from the rest.

Scholarship Interview Preparation

Researching the scholarship organization or committee

To effectively apply for scholarships, it is important to research the scholarship organization or committee you are applying to. Understand their mission, values, and the criteria they use to select recipients. This will allow you to tailor your application and interview responses to align with their goals and showcase why you are the ideal candidate.

Anticipating common interview questions and preparing responses

Another crucial step in scholarship interview preparation is anticipating common interview questions that may be asked. Questions could range from inquiring about your strengths and weaknesses to discussing your long-term goals and aspirations. Prepare thoughtful and sincere responses highlighting your accomplishments, skills, and how you plan to impact your chosen field of study.

Practicing effective communication and body language

In addition to preparing your answers, practicing effective communication and body language during scholarship interviews is essential. Maintain eye contact, use confident body posture, and speak clearly and articulately. Practice active listening skills, engage with the interviewer, and show enthusiasm for the opportunity. Remember, how you present yourself can greatly influence the impression you leave on the interviewers.

By researching the organization or committee, anticipating common interview questions, and practicing effective communication and body language, you can increase your chances of success in scholarship applications. These preparation steps will help you confidently showcase your qualifications and prove why you deserve the scholarship opportunity.

What is Dual Enrollment? How does it work?

What is Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment allows a student in high school to enroll for classes in college at the same time. It helps students save money on college since you’ll be taking lesser courses in the college than the students that waited until after high school. It also helps the student get into the workforce market much sooner. Sometimes, the fee is covered by the state and other times, the student has to pay the fees in full by him or herself. However, there’s more to dual enrollment than what meets the eye. This article entails what dual enrollment is, how it works, and a bonus at the end with information regarding the requirements.

What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual Enrollment is simply what it is – a student enrolling for two classes at the same time. With dual enrollment, a high school student can take college classes and run high school programs at the same time. This allows the student to earn college credit while still in high school. These students end up having to work two schedules which can prove difficult for a few students. Some other students might find it hard to participate fully in both programs which allows them to miss out on the ‘fun’ of schooling.

However, there are some benefits to it. A student that is running a dual enrollment program will earn college credits on time, get a head start on degrees, and graduate much quicker. It also helps to ease the tension and anxiety of the ‘new-world experience’ of college. But how does it work?

How does dual enrollment work?

Since the student is allowed to run two programs at once (high school and college), when a student passes a dual enrollment (or dual credit) class, it counts as a credit for both programs. The kind of classes or what sort of classes are involved depends entirely on the school district. Some schools offer general subjects and courses like Science, Social Studies, Math, English, and likely Humanities.

However, these course works are usually introductory subjects so they are not overly tough for the incoming high schoolers. The courses usually last for a single semester which doesn’t allow the student to be too choked-up with double schooling.

The exams and tests are usually held at the high school either as an online assessment or a physical test. They can also sometimes be held in a local community college and as long as the state requirements are met, there would be no problem.

Dual credit classes are for those that require or are chasing after certain degrees and certifications like Carrer or Technical Education Certificates, Associate’s degree, or a Bachelor’s degree. The grade that ensures a pass during a dual credit program is a C and above (B or A). Also, the credit doesn’t only count during assessments, tests, or exams, They also count during admission processes or whenever the college administrators count credits.

However, you might need to note that though dual credit/enrollment might seem like a good idea, not all states accept these credit types. Out-of-state colleges, for example, or even private colleges are less likely to accept dual enrollment credits so you might need to search in-depth to know what schools and states accept dual credit. That’s why you might need the next section on the requirements for dual enrollment.

Dual Enrollment Requirements

  1. Dual credits are usually awarded or offered to only high school seniors and juniors. The students need to be at least a sophomore or a junior. Only a few schools will allow younger students to participate in their current grades are over-the-top excellent.
  2. If the student is a resident or is schooling in North Carolina, Mississippi, Maine, Alabama, Missouri, or Florida, the student has to have at least a 3.0 GPA to participate in dual credit programs. A student with a lower GPA will be considered unable to balance the two schedules properly.
  3. Students might require a written recommendation and permission letter from the class teacher, subject teacher, principal, coach, or parent as the case may be.
  4. Minimum ACT or SAT scores might also be required.

Conclusion

Dual enrollment is a great way for an outstanding student to get a feel of what college life will look like plus he or she can add up some college credits while at it. It is also great for saving costs. As long as the requirements are met, nothing might be able to stand in the way of getting those degrees and preparing for the workforce market early on.

What is a Tuition Waiver?

What is a Tuition Waiver

Not everyone can afford to go to college. Some have to apply for financial aid to get through college. Tuition waiver is one option available to students that desperately want to further their education and lack enough funds. 

However, getting a tuition waiver largely depends greatly on what is available to you, your qualifications, and if your school offers the scholarship option.

What is a Tuition Waiver?

A wavier should not be confused with a student loan. It is a program that allows a student to pay only a portion of his/her tuition or not to pay at all. They are issued only for a certain period; therefore, the student has to re-apply every semester that he/she would like the tuition waived. 

Tuition waivers are beneficial for those that can’t afford to pay the college tuition fee. However, not all colleges grant waivers, so you have to research the colleges that offer tuition waivers to students. And because a tuition waiver covers only tuition, students that live close to the institution, can work while at school, or have relatives close by can benefit from this program. 

Difference Between A Scholarship And A Tuition Waiver

Both scholarship and a tuition waiver are financial aid packages offered to students to further their education. It is possible for a student to be awarded both programs or to run both programs simultaneously. And even though they might seem alike, they are not entirely the same. 

A scholarship can also be termed free money, and it doesn’t have to be paid back to the institution. Scholarships offer the benefits to pay tuition fees with other college expenses such as accommodation, school supplies, and maybe feeding. Besides, colleges, NGOs, and states can offer scholarships to students. 

The requirement for each type of scholarship depends on who is offering it. For example, state scholarships usually require the student to be a resident/native of the state. Other scholarships might require the student’s accomplishment of some sort- an outstanding academic performance or talent.

A tuition waiver is offered by a chosen college that provides such benefits. When a student qualifies, the college reduces or pays the full tuition fee for the student. The waiver only affects the tuition fee for some credit hours, and it needs to be re-applied after every session. 

The disadvantage of this is that it does not cover any other educational expense. There are also qualifications that a student must meet to qualify for a tuition waiver. Some include being an American by birth, having encountered a significant hardship, being adopted or a foster child. 

Qualifications for Tuition Waivers

Not every college offers tuition waivers, and they are definitely not for every student. Some criteria make a student eligible for a tuition waiver. Some of these factors include the following. He/she:

  • Is or was a foster child.
  • Has served or fought as a soldier/sailor in a war.
  • Is a spouse or a dependent on a veteran.
  • Is a native of America.
  • Is a non-traditional (older) student.
  • Have financial hardship (or any other sort of hardship).
  • Is a full-time employee of the college.
  • Is enrolled in a STEM Degree Program.
  • Has a high or attractive academic status in the previous institution such as class valedictorian etc.
  • Attended an automatic scholarship school.

These are the common eligibility factors that would qualify a student for a tuition waiver. However, it is best to know the requirements before applying for the waiver. 

How To Apply For A Tuition Waiver

Usually, a college offers a waiver automatically based on the information provided by each student in the school’s application. However, it is not always this seamless. Students would have to follow the process to ensure that the waiver has been approved and granted. The students can visit the department in charge for a follow-up. 

The department you’ll be checking in may differ depending on the qualification of the student. An employee of the school might visit the school’s employment office for a waiver, while an American (who is not employed by the institution) would visit the admissions office instead. 

However, if you don’t get an automatic grant (and you qualify), you can apply through the school’s admission office or directly online. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter requesting a tuition waiver. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter asking for a tuition waiver. 

If you are planning on visiting the office, it’s best to inquire before applying to be well-aware of what is being offered. Different schools have different procedures; it is better to understand what your school demands. 

Conclusion

If you sincerely need financial aid to enter college, you should look into requesting a tuition waiver. You might have your tuition fee disappear for a whole session. Just ensure that you qualify by looking at the eligibility factors for a waiver, and the rest will be sorted out for you. 

12 Interesting College Scholarship and Grants in the USA

The US has a notorious reputation when it comes to student debt. Without getting into whether college education should be free, cheaper or entirely nationalized, it’s important to recognize that there is still some help out there for students. This article will cover some of the best college scholarships and grants in the USA.

Before starting though, it’s important to distinguish that there is merit-based aid and need-based aid, as well as aid for women, career-specific and college-specific aid, and finally aid for minorities. As evident by their self-described titles, let’s not go into defining each one but instead see what ones actually exist (and that can be of great help!).

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are a huge help for many American students. They’re a classic example of need-based, as they target students who have a total family income of below $25,000. Despite this, it’s worth looking into even if your situation is slightly outside of this, as you may still qualify. The grant in 2018 was just shy of $6,000, which is a very helpful amount.

Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers is aimed at increasing the number of women in engineering, a STEM subject, that has historically been underrepresented by females. In a bid for greater equality, the society awarded 230 scholarships in 2016, adding up to $750,000 in total funding.

Center for Women in Technology

This one serves a similar purpose and is certainly worth looking into when looking to study technology as a woman. An application could receive between $5,000 and $20,000 in funding, each year, for a total of four years. This can be life-changing, allowing more women the opportunity to afford college and acquire a STEM subject degree for the sake of their career.

ABA Diversity Scholarship

The ABA Diversity Scholarship is aimed at those coming from a traditionally underrepresented group, who are in the management and transportation/tourism industry. Candidates can receive $5,000 in scholarship funding, but must have completed their first year and have a GPA of over 3.0. Applications involve a 500-word essay, which will describe how they will play a role in spearheading the future of transportation, travel or tourism industry.

Amazon scholarship program

Online retail behemoth Amazon are taking in applications for its Future Engineer Scholarship Program. 100 current seniors at high school will have the opportunity to receive $40,000 to study computer science. This student will also receive a guaranteed paid internship at Amazon after completing their first year. Not only is this a great amount of money, but the student is then given a foot in the door at Amazon – a chance to build a relationship from the offset.

eQuality Scholarship

The eQuality scholarship collaborative awards are designed to encourage Californian students who are included in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community of LGBT. The scholarship is of $6,000, and is open to applications of all sexual orientations and gender identities. 

John Lennon Scholarships

And the award for the most rock star scholarship goes to the John Lennon one, which aims to provide the three winners of a songwriting and composing contest who submit the best original song. Each of the three winners will get $20,000 each, and the applicant must be between 17 and 24. The submitted song must have no rights at publishers.

BSU Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship

Likewise, there’s also a David Letterman scholarship. Letterman has been behind this Scholarship program since the mid-1980s, when he deposited $90,000 in the Ball State Foundation. This scholarship aims to support Ball State majors in telecommunications. Applicants must have between 30 and 105 semester hours, be full time and be a Ball State telecommunications major.

Augustana College Athletic Fund

This athletic fund is merely representative of the many individual college scholarships that are aimed at providing financial support to students who perform exceptionally well in a sport. This particular one, students must be enrolled at Augustana College and average at least a 3.0 GPA. Outstanding athletes will be considered to receive funding, which can vary in its amount on a case-by-case basis.

Mike Lozano Scholarship

This fund was established in 2013 by the family of Coach Lozano. The annual scholarship (students can receive $2,500) is given to an athlete from the northern 26 counties in the Texas Panhandle. A lower than usual GPA is needed (2.0) and they must be pursuing a career in education or coaching.

Foot Locker Foundation

Foot Locker, for 9 years in a row is offering a $20,000 scholarship funding opportunity for when pursuing a 4-year degree. This is a very transactional scholarship, with Foot Locker appreciating the custom of college sports in helping them grow as a company. One of the 20 winners will also receive a $5,000 in addition to the 20k, for outstanding educational achievement.

ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship

For many, the fierce competition and high expectations of educational achievement (and thereby being awarded scholarships) is all too much. ScholarshipPoints are offering a break from this pressure with their scholarship. $10,000 can be one for a lucky winner, which is merely signing up and entering. There’s no 500-word essay about your aspirations and no GPA requirements. Sheer luck and a bit of fun makes this an interesting and no-lose opportunity.

Is there a lack of funding?

This list only scratches the surface. There are tons of scholarships out there. What you may have noticed though is that these all seem to be private foundations. Nothing wrong with that, transactional (or sheer charitable) private work is one of the great shining lights of society. 

It is, however, a concern surrounding the lack of US government funding though. There’s always room for debate around equality and “socialist funding”, but one thing that is usually commonly accepted is the phrase “equality of opportunity”. So long as everyone has the chance to succeed. Only, they don’t, because college is extremely expensive. The US government needs to really keep up with the increasing amount of college students, and the increasing importance of acquiring a degree in this future “intelligence economy”, where programming, math, and critical thinking will become even more relied upon.

Funding education is the ultimate supply-side policy. It’s not the policy that wins you elections, and it doesn’t fit results quick enough to fit within the 4-year term results paradigm, but it is necessary for the future economy of the US.

Best Grants for Young Entrepreneurs

Best Grants for Young Entrepreneurs

If working your way up the corporate ladder… hoping to make a difference down the road doesn’t sound like your cup tea, perhaps you are an entrepreneur, but don’t know it yet. If you recently graduated from college or university and have found that the only options available to you are starting at the bottom and working your way up over the years, but you are filled with great ideas and aspirations to doing something big now, consider starting your own business.

Australia boasts about having capital available for entrepreneurs wanting to make a difference now, but who lack funding. Check out all that is available by region and business type at SmallBusinessLoanAustralia.com. Some of the best ideas come from those people who are willing to take risks and build businesses out of products or services that have yet to be invented or need improvement. If hearing NO doesn’t faze you, you might be cut out for the job, the job of boss… your own boss. There are services out there to help guide new entrepreneurs in the right direction, there are event local FaceBook groups filled with other entrepreneurs willing to share their knowledge and help others not make the same business mistakes they made. In the sport of entrepreneurship, everyone can be a winner, even if they are competitors!

Getting Started

Great! You have an idea! Now how can you take that idea and turn it in to a product or service that people want? Check out and maybe become a member of SME Association of Australia. This organization will help guide new entrepreneurs in the right direction when developing a business plan and more. Building a business plan starts with research, a lot of research. Does this product or service exist anywhere else? It may seem silly, but finding a similar business or product is actually not a bad thing! If someone else has already done half of the legwork to develop a product or service similar to yours you can gain a vast amount of knowledge by checking out his or her product or service. Review their webpage, their customer base etc. This can shave a ton of research time off of your plate. If you cannot find a comparable product or service to your idea, which has already launched, this means you are leading the pack and you have a lot of work to do and little time to do it before someone else may launch their model of your idea. It’s a race and you better get ready!

Funding

Typical means for business start up capital can come from a myriad of sources. Some people are able to take from available funds they already have, but this is not the norm. You may be able to sell something in order to get enough money to get your idea started and off the ground. If you can find anyway to start your business without creating debt owed to friends, family, financial partners, banks, or other interested parties do it! It can create a lot of strain on a new business owner trying to launch their product/service and business while trying to keep stakeholders happy as well.

Grant Options

Australia offers numerous grant options that can help get you from an idea to a launched business with products and services. Regions fund many of the grants available.

Talent + Grant has available funds up to $40,000 AUD to help support an artistic outreach and business plan. Funds Available in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, and WA.

Jobs Action Plan NSW Grant has available funds up to $6,000 to help a business who has grown and needs to bring on employees cover costs of the new employees payroll taxes.

Regional Economic Development Fund NT has funding for up to 50% of projected costs if the project helps develop the Northern Territory.

Innovation Connections Grant has funding for territories: ACT, NSW, NT, QLD for small to medium sized companies to work on collaborative projects in the technology industry.

Championship Grants TAS has funding up to $7,000 AUD for organizations to bring sporting championships to Tasmania.

Regional Events Funding WA has funding for up to $50,000 AUD when a business or organization brings awareness to local culture in their communities by hosting events that showcase these cultures.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Community Benefit Program has funding available from $5,000 to $1 million AUD for projects in Barndioota and Kimbal in South Australia if they are helping strengthen the ecosystems.

Trade Support Scheme NT can help cover up to 50% of costs associated with international marketing

New Market Expansion Program TAS has funding for businesses located in Tasmania to create new markets domestically and internationally.

Future Industries Sector Grown Program has available funds up to $1 million AUD when then project will create jobs and help grow the economy in Victoria.

While this is merely a handful of the grants available to Australians each grant has it’s own restrictions and guidelines for the application process and policies surrounding the usage of the funds made available to the grant winners. With all of these different funds available it is no wonder that Australia has experienced year over year economic growth recently. While entrepreneurs are out to change the world, they need to work efficiently and not create more financial burdens that they need to. Grants are a great source to help provide aspiring individuals the tools and know how to get their idea off the ground and running.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it is who is going to stop me.”

– Ayn Rand

How to Negotiate Your Financial Aid Package

money for college project

This is the time of year when the rubber meet the roads for college admissions. At this point in the year, most college freshman have already committed to their college of choice. You have paid the admission deposit, you have signed up for Orientation, you are registering for classes, and you are making plans to move into the dorms in August. The final piece of this on-boarding process is your financial aid and your student bill.

Most colleges send out their incoming freshman financial aid award letters well ahead of their returning students. This is done for a number of reasons, but mainly for recruiting purposes. Incoming freshman need to know what financial aid they have been offered in order to accurately assess the best college for them.

SO what do you do when you receive your financial aid award letter? It is negotiable? Can you contact the financial aid office and request/demand that they give you more funds? Are there awards that you can swap out or adjust?

The answer is yes to all of the above.

Demand More Scholarships and Grants

This process will vary from one school to the next but if you have received competitive academic scholarships, you will likely have room to negotiate these amounts. The trick is that you will need to determine who awards the scholarships and who sets their levels. Often, the financial aid counselor you will speak with when calling the financial aid office, cannot adjust anything for you. They will tell you that your awards were ran though the “packager” which looks at a large list of criteria, and you were awarded everything you qualified for. This is true, but there are ways around it.

If you received scholarships from a department, from a program (such as the Honors College, or Graphic COmmunications…) you can contact that department or program directly to request an increase. As these programs manage their funds independently, they are often more flexible in increasing awards than the financial aid office is.

This process also depends on the type of school you choose to attend. A large public institution will be much less likely to be able to adjust your awards than a small private school would be.

The key here is whether or not your school is an enrollment drive school. This means that your school does not receive any state funding and relies solely on the tuition paid by their students for their operating budget. Enrollment drive private schools have a quota of students they must reach each semester, and they will go to great lengths  to keep you on their campus. You have a much more powerful negotiating position at a school of this type, than a large public institution.

Loans are Always Adjustable

If you have gone through the negotiation process and requested all of the free grant and scholarship money that you can, you can always adjust your student loans. Decreasing the amount of your student loans is as simple as putting this request in writing or an email to your financial aid office. Increasing this loan may be a bit trickier.

If you receive Direct Stafford Loans, and you have not reached your yearly maximum, you can contact your financial aid office and request an increase. As long as you have not met your cost of attendance for that semester, they will be able to increase your loan.

If you receive private student loans, or a Parent PLUS loan, and they have not certified the entire amount that you or your parent were approved for, then they can go back to increase this amount up to the maximum that was initially approved by the lender. This can be as simple as putting a request in an email and sending it to your financial aid office.

The Bottom Line

Negotiating your financial aid package is all based on your negotiating position. If you are a highly recruited students, or if you attend a small private school then you will have a much greater negotiating position.

However, every student has the right to negotiate their financial aid package. As with job offers, it is much easier to get the free money before you begin your college career than it is to ask for raises once you have already started.

It never hurts to ask!

How to Dominate Scholarship Applications and Pay for College

money for college

The scholarship search can be intimidating. The most popular online scholarships searches, like FastWeb, force you to wade through thousands of worthless scholarships. They are not worthless because they are scams, rather they are worthless because they are not personalized. In fact, in my five years working in Higher Ed I have never met ANYONE who has won a scholarship through FastWeb. Obviously people do win these scholarships, but the chance of you winning a scholarship found through FastWeb is very low.

I highly recommend searching locally for your scholarships. I have written in length about the benefits of this in the past.  Your chances of winning increase drastically when the applicant pool drops from thousands of students to less than 50 for most local scholarships.

Once you have gathered a list of scholarships that you wish to apply for, you have to start the actual application process. This process can also be intimidating, but it does not have to do.

How to Dominate Scholarship Applications

I have compiled a list of the top 8 ways to dominate your scholarship applications and ensure that you maximize your chances of winning as many scholarships as you apply for.

  • Start early!! Almost every scholarship has a deadline and many scholarships give priority to applications submitted early.
  • Compile a list of accomplishments, awards, professional experience, education credentials, and volunteer organizations. Having this list handy will save you many hours during the application process since nearly every application will ask for this information.
  • Be aggressive! Scholarships are designed to reward deserving and persistent students who are willing to “do what it takes” to further their education. A scholarship committee is not impressed by a “less than your best” effort.
  • Identify and contact at least three people who would be willing to write an impressive recommendation letter on your behalf.
  • Apply for every scholarship for which you are eligible.
  • Follow up! Don’t let your scholarship application slip through the cracks. Scholarship committees will also appreciate the dedication you show in your future endeavors.
  • Be organized! This is great time to improve your organizational skills. Make sure to keep track of all deadlines, signatures, recommendation letters, and any necessary follow-up questions from a scholarship organization.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of applying for scholarships. After all, a successful scholarship search could land you with a free ride and money to spare!

The Bottom Line

Searching and applying for scholarships is not easy. If it were, everyone would have a full-ride to college.

FastWeb likes to say that there are millions of dollars in unused scholarships each year. I don’t believe this, but I do know that there are many scholarships which do not receive many quality applications and are forced to award their money to a less than stellar student. This is where you have an opportunity to swoop in, submit an impressive application, and win a scholarship over your classmates.

Following the above 8 tips will give you your best chance of conducting a scholarship search that is sue to land you some funds to help pay for college.

How to Find Legit Scholarship Opportunities

local scholarships

Searching for scholarships can lead to a frustrating mess of results.

More often than not, you are sorting through scholarships that are outdated and ones that you don’t even qualify for. When you are trying to find legitimate scholarship opportunities to apply, this can be incredibly frustrating. I often compare this to searching for a job in a difficult economy. You are trying to find a means to support yourself financially, and you are getting a little desperate because time is running by quickly and your hopes and dreams are on the line.

The good news is that there are ways to make the scholarship search a bit more efficient and effective

Start Local

The best scholarship search tip that I have is to start searching for scholarship locally. Every high school guidance counselor has a book full of scholarships notices that have been sent to their school. Many of these guidance offices post these notices on their website. Even if you do not attend that high school, these guidance counselors are often more than willing to share information with you about scholarships in the community.

Local scholarships are much more attainable because of the number of applicants, and the relevance of the student to the scholarship organization. For example, if a student lives in the same town where he applies for a scholarship from a local organization, it is very likely that the scholarship committee who reviews his application will be able to relate to the student. Members of the committee may know of organizations that the student has volunteered at, they may know the school the applicant attended, they will most likely know of the college that the student has applied to, and who knows, they might even know the student’s family.

Also, most local scholarships are only intended for a local applicant pool. This limits the number of applicants and guarantees a local student will win the scholarship. Simple math will tell you that if there are only 30 applicants for one scholarship you have a much higher percentage chance of winning than if you apply for a nationally competitive scholarship with thousands of applicants.

Local scholarship awards are also nothing to scoff at. We are not talking about piddly $250 awards. Most local organizations give a minimum of $1000, and often this is a recurring award. For example, when I was applying for scholarships I won an award from a local non-profit that only provided scholarships to students from my high school. The award was $3000 for 4 years. This was a huge boost towards paying for my college and one of the largest single scholarships I received. All from local resources!

Many local scholarships also have additional benefits like banquet dinners in your honor, achievement awards, articles in the local paper, and billboards with your face on them. Even if you don’t enjoy that…your parents and family sure will!

 The Bottom Line

There is no one right way to search for scholarships. My advice would be to start local, then expand your search once you have exhausted your local scholarships. My hunch is that you will find much more success by staying at home rather than going abroad.