Who’s Looking For You?
The typical question students ask themselves, and the one we ask them as they approach high school graduation, goes something along the lines of “where do you want to go to school?” But when one peels back the curtain on the world of college admissions we realize very quickly that this coin has two sides; schools themselves regularly ask “who do we want at this school?”
University admissions directors work very hard to craft a student population according to some ideal or another. Along with trying to attract academically proficient kids, most institutions also have certain demographic diversity targets. Herein lies our opportunity: find out who’s looking for you. Continue reading Who’s Looking For You?
Military Aid: Understanding the Options
(Note, this information was accurate as of 1/2015. Check with the pertinent websites for updated information).
Generally speaking, if you find military service at least theoretically palatable as a college funding resource, then college is all but covered if you play your cards right. But what cards do you have available to play? Keeping in mind this is coming from a non-military guy, and no recruiters I called would speak on the record to me, this is my understanding of your options. Continue reading Military Aid: Understanding the Options
Military Aid: Three Critical Questions
Uncle Sam’s Got Your Back
When researching military benefits you will run into enough acronyms, jargon, overlap, inter-branch disparities and bureaucratic stipulations to make you want to curl up in a corner and suck your thumb. Recruiters can help interpret it all, but also have obtained a reputation for intimidation and pressure that keeps many curious students at bay.
So where does one turn? Let’s explore this together, traveling in a linear fashion and picking up the information we need along the way while letting the rest lie untouched. Continue reading Military Aid: Three Critical Questions
Chart: The Increasing Role of Parental Help
This chart comes to us as part of a series of data included in Sallie Mae‘s most recent “How America Pays for College” report. Of note this past year was the big increase in family assistance relative to other college funding sources. The average cost-to-student will run $24,164 in 2015, a substantial increase (about $3,300) from last year. To cover this increase, parental help has also ratcheted up, with an average of $10,365 coming from mom and dad to cover the bills (up about $1500 year over year).
In fact, parental resources have now become “… the number one source of funding, surpassing scholarships and grants for the first time since 2010.” According to Sallie Mae parental assets now account for 32% of total funding versus 30% from scholarships and grants. Also interesting to note, student efforts account for a full 27% of the total, split between income, savings, and borrowing.
In other words, with bills running almost $100,000 over a four-year period students and/or their families can expect to cover well over half of that total on average. Thing is, the “average” family I know doesn’t have that kind of money available. Thus I see over and over again students running off to college with everything they can muster financially thrown into the maw, only to return home a year or two later broke, confused, and frustrated at the experience. The nationwide data seems to support this trend.
Families must be vigilant as they plan their help to avoid this fate. For this reason I highly recommend exploring other options for boosting assets and decreasing costs. Also, it becomes extremely prudent to map out not only what students and parents have to offer, but to budget when the proceeds shall be applied to the college experience in order that the student can explore their options knowing the price point they must hit on a per-year basis.
Your New Hangout
If you’ve looked into this for any length of time you’ve likely noticed that quite a number of publicized scholarships are offered only through specific schools to those within them. Further, with fair frequency schools will raise funds throughout the year as committed donors occasionally give unannounced spare change to assist students, often within the discretion of the institution as to recipients and timing. Continue reading Your New Hangout
Trust Me: Give Thanks
I have ready many, many articles and books about obtaining scholarships from various sources, but have seen far less said about the proper follow up to won funds. Recently I dove into two scholarship-specific books, one a 400 page masterpiece on the subject which had nothing to say about today’s topic. So hear it from me. To win funds without explicitly and profusely offering thanks in return is to pass up a great opportunity.
Trust me: When you do win a coveted scholarship or receive gifts respond with a well-written, hand-written thank you and at least one follow up note. In fact, go the extra mile and put a to-do on your calendar to write your benefactors again each semester or so. Send along pictures and a synopsis of what you’re getting from your experience, all with an expression of gratitude.
Trust me, this is good practice. But why? Continue reading Trust Me: Give Thanks
Find Money for Certain Studies
While most grant and scholarship money gets awarded to students for who they are or what they have done, there also exist pools of money available on the basis of what a student plans to do. Specifically, students with set plans to major in certain fields can look for money from organizations hoping to encourage certain career paths. Continue reading Find Money for Certain Studies
Big national scholarships tend to get all the attention in the media, mass-market publications, and online databases like fastweb. On the whole, however, most of the funds won in your area probably came from local sources. Most towns have service clubs, charities, and hobby enthusiasts that establish numerous scholarships and only accept applications from local kids. This brings up two key points for those looking to earn some bucks for college: Continue reading Shop Local
“Guaranteed” Sure Sounds Nice
Scholarships are often seen as too numerous to sort through, highly competitive, and onerous in their requirements. Students hesitate to put much time into the various essays and other requirements because it’s seemingly a crap shoot as to whether or not anything comes of it.
But numerous colleges have arrangements in which they basically say “if you have accomplished X, Y, and/or Z to this point we promise to give you tuition money.” This class of scholarships acts more like grants, in that if you meet the qualifications put forth you are assured an award in return. Hence their name: guaranteed scholarships. Continue reading “Guaranteed” Sure Sounds Nice
On Body Slams and Scholarship Clues
For some time a video has been making the rounds on Youtube of Anthony Wunder, student at The Ohio State University, getting body slammed by a coach after he ran onto the field and toward the bench. I’ve watched it more times than I care to admit, giddy with delight beyond reason each time.
The incident provides a powerful lesson to the college affordologist, and not the obvious one of always betting on the former linebacker coming out on top in a tackling contest versus engineering students.
Continue reading On Body Slams and Scholarship Clues