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 High School Students

10 Fall Scholarships for High School Students

It’s a myth that only high school seniors can apply for college scholarships. In fact, waiting until the last year of high school may actually lower your chances of winning scholarships. Think about it. You’ll be stressed out enough keeping up your grades, taking or retaking college entrance exams, and let’s not forget all those college applications and essays you’ll need to write. Finding time to squeeze in scholarship applications can take a toll on you and if you procrastinate, you could find yourself having to discard a college acceptance letter (or more) simply because you could not secure enough scholarships to help cover the costs of attendance. Wouldn’t it be nice to start senior year knowing you had a fat, scholarship nest egg available to you? It sure would, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 scholarships that are open to all high school students. Here’s the best part; you don’t have to apply to them all at once because there’s at least one award for every month this fall.

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Saving Tools

Tools to Teach Your Child How to Save Money

When I was a child, my parents rewarded me with a weekly allowance based on the number of chores I completed. I had the basic tasks, such as taking out the trash and keeping my room clean, but I could also earn extra money for more time-intensive chores. If I wanted to see my potential earnings, I simply went to the refrigerator and checked my chore chart. At the end of each month, my mother would take me to the mall and I could spend some of my money, but a portion was also placed into a savings account; it helped me understand the importance of working for what I wanted and to always set aside some money to help cover unexpected expenses. Although this method may have worked well for my generation, today’s youth need something with a bit more pizazz. Thankfully, there are several online tools now available to help teach children the value of a dollar and how to save for the future. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Military Family Financial Aid

Financial Aid Resources for Military Families

It takes a great amount of dedication and willpower to keep a military family intact. The constant uncertainty and long periods of separation require an enormous amount of trust between spouses, and those left behind must find a way to keep things together, although they are falling apart on the inside. How would I know? I was married to a U.S. Marine for 12 years.

Unlike a regular day job, our military members put their lives on the line every day; even when they are stationed at home, a simple training exercise can have serious consequences. They spend months separated from their families, relying on letters, email and an occasional phone call to keep them together. They give everything to ensure we are all safe from harm and receive very little in return. For those who are not officers, it can be a struggle to make ends meet, let alone save any money for college. Fortunately, there are some resources specifically designated to help veterans, active duty members and their families. Here are just some of the many scholarships and tuition assistance programs available to those who have served our country.

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College Textbooks

College Textbooks: Beg, Borrow or Buy?

The one part of college I always disliked was buying my textbooks for the semester. For my pre-law classes, the prices were brutal and I had few opportunities to find a used version of the titles I needed. It didn’t take long for me to realize the insanity of buying new books from the campus bookstore; I would pay anywhere from $50 to nearly $300 a book, but never saw much of that money back at the end of the semester. The books were either not being used the next semester or they were being replaced with a new edition. Even when I did get something for them, it was barely enough to buy lunch. After two semesters of spending over $500 on books, I decided there had to be a better (and cheaper) method. With a little research, I soon found some reliable websites that allowed me to find the very best deals on my textbooks. Here are a few websites that I found easy to use and also offered great deals.

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Celebrity Scholarships

Reach for the Stars: Celebrity-Inspired Scholarships

Any time there is a natural disaster or tragedy, you can bet Hollywood’s brightest stars will use their connections to help those in need. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are well known for their generosity and compassion, especially for those still struggling in New Orleans. When Super Storm Sandy struck the East Coast, several big name celebrities opened up their pocket books and even their homes to help complete strangers. Lady Gaga has made it her personal mission to end bullying; the list goes on and on. It should come as no surprise, then, that many celebrities also contribute large sums of cash to help struggling college students. Alec Baldwin, who set up a scholarship fund at the Tisch School of the Arts several years ago, recently made another $1 million gift to continue his support of talented students through the Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund. Shawn Carter, better known as Jay Z, generously provides scholarships ($1,500 to $2,500 each) to help students achieve their college dreams. The students can re-apply for the grants every year until they finish college. Through the United Negro College Fund, Michael Jackson and little sister Janet have set up scholarships for students pursuing careers in music, art, theater and, of course, vocal performance. Here are a few other celebrity-inspired scholarships that are open to a variety of students.

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