College Planning

Don’t wait until high school to start planning for college; you can begin your search for the right school at any time. Whether you are a traditional or non-traditional student, or even a parent, we’ll provide everything you need to navigate the college planning process. Learn which websites offer the best college searches, where to find scholarships to finance your education, and how to avoid mistakes that could affect your financial aid. With our advice, you’ll have all the tools you need to put the pieces together and find your perfect college match.

Scholarships for Kids

You’re Never Too Young for Scholarships!

If you have been following my blog posts, you know that scholarships aren’t simply for high school seniors and current college students. There are many programs available to high school underclassmen, graduate schools, and even adults who are heading back to college or attending for the first time. But did you know that there are also ample opportunities for elementary and middle school students? It’s true! Unfortunately, due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), online scholarship search services are not available to students under the age of 13, which can make finding these opportunities a little more difficult. That’s why I felt it was important to share with you some of the programs that are currently open (and others that will be opening soon) for younger students.

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Black History Month

10 Scholarships for African American Students

Did you know that Black History Month was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970? Now, nearly every elementary, middle, and high school plans some form of educational activities throughout the month to honor those African Americans who have made great contributions to music, education, politics, and racial equality. Colleges and universities also provide ample opportunities for students to learn more about black history and to celebrate African American culture. Even though there has been progress towards racial equality, the fact remains that many African American students still lack the college planning resources and funding necessary to complete a post-secondary education. There are, however, many scholarship opportunities available to assist those students who wish to earn a college degree. Here are a few of the current programs open to African American students at the high school, undergraduate, or graduate level.

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FA Package

Which Financial Aid Package is Best for You?

If you are a high school senior, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief now that most of your college applications have been submitted. In fact, some of you may already have your acceptance letters in hand. Now, you just have to decide which college is best for you. This may seem like an easy task, but choosing a college is a little more complicated than saying ‘yes’ to your top choice. You have to consider several factors, such as available opportunities, campus amenities, and location. Of course, the overall cost of your college education is probably one of the most important factors in determining where you will land this fall. So, how do you know which college is giving you the best deal? Fortunately, there is now a form that many colleges use called the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. This template was created by the federal government to help you better understand what financial aid is being offered and how it affects your bottom line. But what if your school doesn’t use this template? Here are a few things you should consider when determining which financial aid package is best for you.

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Financial Aid Toolkit

Why I Love the New Financial Aid Toolkit

On December 1, 2013, the office of Federal Student Aid launched its new Financial Aid Toolkit for high school counselors and other college mentors. I have to admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to the website at the time, especially with classes winding down and the holidays quickly approaching; I just took a quick glance and noted that the overall look was very clean and professional. I did, however, make a note in my calendar to come back in January to give it a whirl. When I logged back onto the site, I was not disappointed. In fact, I haven’t been this excited about a college resource tool in a long time. It’s obvious the U.S. Department of Education put a lot of thought into creating this toolkit. The website is easy to use and hosts a wealth of knowledge on a variety of college planning topics. Here are just a few of the sections that I found most valuable.

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College Money

4 Steps to Getting More Financial Aid Money

If you’re the parent of a high school senior, I’m betting that you’re a bundle of nerves right about now. Not only are you anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters, but also trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for everything. Although the economy is starting to show improvement, many of you are still recovering from several years of meager wages or loss of savings, which means you are probably counting on colleges to be very generous with their financial aid offers. In fact, how much or how little a college is willing to give you may ultimately decide where your child will be attending college this fall. Unfortunately, you may not realize that there are some steps you can take that will help increase your chances of getting the most financial aid possible. If you are concerned about how you are going to pay for your child’s education, consider following these four steps.

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