You Can Boost FAFSA Completion In Your Community. Here’s How.

Posted by Matt Konrad on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 @ 03:30 PM

When it comes to paying for college, there’s nothing more important for students to do than complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form, filed annually, is the gateway to virtually all federal, state and institutional financial aid, and many private scholarship providers require it as well. Unfortunately, completion rates for the FAFSA have remained stubbornly low -- only about half of high school grads complete the form, and the ones who don’t may be leaving close to $3 billion in financial aid on the table.

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Topics: fafsa

Financial Aid Outside the Box

Posted by Matt Konrad on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

Here at the peak of summer, it’s hard to imagine that there’s only a couple of months before students return to school. But the new academic year is creeping up -- and, when it starts, the students heading to college campuses will look a little different. Following the trends of the last decade, more of them will be older, more will be returning to school after time off and more will be transferring from two-year to four-year colleges. We’ve looked before at how these shifting demographics have changed the landscape of the scholarship world; here’s a glimpse at how schools and scholarship providers are thinking outside the box when it comes to financial aid.

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Topics: financial aid, the debt crisis, financial literacy

Five Crucial College Cost Calculators for Families

Posted by Matt Konrad on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 @ 10:28 AM

Update, July 2016: Whether you're a high schooler, a college student or a parent, summer break is the perfect time to explore these college cost calculators. They can help you avoid sticker shock on everything from your Expected Family Contribution to your future loan repayments!
There’s nothing easy about getting into college. As early as middle school, students spend countless hours studying, participating in activities and volunteering in the community, all to get ready for the next step. For parents, the preparation starts even sooner; savings plans are often set up before kids ever spend a day in a classroom. And it all culminates around high school students’ sophomore and junior years— often in a flurry of hard-to-understand cost and financial aid numbers, percentages and acronyms.
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Topics: resources for parents

Introducing 2016 Student Volunteer Award Winners

Posted by Carissa Chang Cress on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 @ 11:25 AM

There’s no doubt about it: volunteering can change communities—and the individuals who do it—for the better. Student volunteering provides a pathway for building skills (or even future employment) while benefiting local citizens. And, as we’ve covered before, that service can lead to more scholarships for students.

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Topics: dollars for scholars, volunteering

Education Leaders, Supporters Help Turn Dreams Into Degrees

Posted by Carissa Chang Cress on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 02:38 PM

May represents an exciting month for students across the country. Years of exams and coursework culminate in celebration, as millions of new high school and college graduates don their caps and gowns. It’s an inspiring moment—not only for students, but for the family, friends, faculty, staff and mentors who helped them achieve the diploma, certificate or degree they dreamed about.

That same energy was evident at Scholarship America’s own celebration, Dreams to Degrees. On Wednesday, May 25, a group of 300 education, corporate, policy and institutional leaders joined together at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. to recognize students, and to honor the organizations that make their postsecondary journey possible. The second annual Dreams to Degrees event shared the need for scholarships and other educational support, recognized organizations that have made significant impact in supporting students, and lauded the students who have made it through their education despite the odds.

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Topics: dreams to degrees

How Student Loan Repayment Benefits Everyone

Posted by Matt Konrad on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 11:27 AM

For the last decade, the ongoing crisis in student loan debt has loomed over every aspect of higher education, from choice and enrollment to post-graduate payback. At times, the trillion-dollar mountain of debt has seemed insurmountable. But today, with increased commitment from both the public and private sectors, new strategies are emerging to take on the crisis -- strategies like corporate student loan repayment and the Student Debt Challenge.

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Topics: student loan debt, talent management

5 Things First-Generation Parents Should Know About College

Posted by Carissa Chang Cress on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

Update, June 2016: As the school year comes to an end and summer kicks off, first-generation college students and their parents are facing an exciting, uncertain future in the fall. Here are a few things families should know about the transition when their child leaves for the first time.

For parents of first-generation college students, the summer before your son or daughter leaves can be both exciting and scary. You can take pride in all that your child has accomplished, and how far they’ll go in their education.  And there are also certain challenges that are unique to first-generation college families – circumstances that you can help your child turn into successes for college and beyond. Here are five tips to help.

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Topics: financial aid for parents, first-generation students

Here’s How Dreamkeepers Schools Are Making a Difference

Posted by Carissa Chang Cress on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 @ 01:29 PM

Imagine this: You’re a parent with five kids, ranging from 16 years to 9 months old, and you’ve gone back to school full-time. Your spouse is attending the same college, and together, you’re trying to make sure your family is taken care of – all while completing an internship and maintaining good grades.

While juggling seven different schedules and a hundred daily responsibilities, you’re hit with a large, unexpected sewage bill and a balance from daycare at the same time. You’re stuck with a decision you don’t want to make: Do you pull your son from daycare, or do you and your spouse stop classes – even though completing your education will improve your future work lives?

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Topics: emergency aid, dreamkeepers

The Changing Landscape of Scholarships and Financial Aid

Posted by Matt Konrad on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

In the last two decades, the world of higher education has undergone massive changes: more and more students are taking “nontraditional” paths to college, either by taking time off after high school or returning to college as adults. Student and family costs have skyrocketed, as tuition has outpaced inflation and state aid to higher education has plummeted. Student loans have gone from a stopgap to both a major source of funding and a crippling source of debt.

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Topics: financial aid, why scholarships matter, admissions

Supporting Students Through Emergency Aid

Posted by Carissa Chang Cress on Wed, May 18, 2016 @ 04:54 PM

For students heading to college for the first time, there’s excitement for new opportunities to come. And for those returning to classes, there’s motivation to push forward to graduation. But for millions of students whose studies are hampered or interrupted for financial reasons, there’s an important role for all us to play to keep them from dropping out.

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Topics: emergency aid

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