Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is the Pell Grant?

Although the critical March 2nd deadline for the FAFSA has come and gone, you can still file yours and receive one very important grant.

The Pell Grant, originally known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, is for students with financial need who have not earned their first bachelor's degree. The only way to get this grant is through filing the FAFSA. The Pell Grant is sponsored by the US Department of Education, They use the financial information reported on the FAFSA to determine the student's financial need.

The Pell Grant was originally created for students who were financially unable to obtain higher education, therefore students receive the grant on a need-based criteria. You also must be a US citizen with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Last year, the maximum amount you could receive for the the Pell Grant was $5,500. The amount you actually receive depends on many factors including cost of attendance and whether or not you plan on being a full or part-time student.

Don't miss your opportunity, file the FAFSA today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

FAFSA Filings Rise as Economy Slumps

The effects of the recession are becoming more and more apparent. One of those signs is the number of students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio State alone saw 10,600 more filings and estimated a million more nationwide.

Diane Stemper, OSU’s director of student financial aid, believes there are many factors contributing to the 22 percent increase, but the recession is still the biggest cause. "Many people who used to have the resources to send their children to college have lost their jobs or been downsized," Stemper said. "Declining home and stock values, coupled with rising food and gas prices, are also taking a toll."

Six out of ten students today are taking out loans to help with the cost of college, meaning more graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to pay off. The FAFSA is one way to curb the growing number of loans.

Colleges see spike in student-aid requests [The Columbus Dispatch]

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Everyone Should Apply For Financial Aid

There’s still time to fill out a FAFSA form to get money for college! At this point in the game, some of you may have given up, surrendering to the rapidly growing costs of college. You may even believe you and/or your family can handle the price tag. Why go through the trouble when there’s a chance you won’t get any money at all?

There is only one guaranteed scenario in all this confusion: If you do not apply for any financial aid you will not get any money. Even if you can afford tuition, you will probably need help paying for the dorms, food, books, etc. It all starts adding up!

Most colleges accept students using a “need-blind” process. This means they cannot use your financial situation as criteria for your acceptance. It also means there really is no reason to put off finishing your FAFSA. You’ve put in all the hours getting in, why not do a little more work to go comfortably?

To find out deadlines for your state visit the FAFSA website.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Facebook App Pledges to Help You Find Scholarships

Whether you’re looking for financial aid for college for the first time or you’ve done it for the past four years, the process can seem daunting. Trying to get as much money as you can as the deadlines fly by is frustrating and unfair when all you want to do is go to school. Well, the people at Facebook have heard your cries and are planning to launch an app to help by January, 2012.

Connect Fund will use demographic information provided by the Facebook user to recommend financial aid options including grants, student loans, and the Free Applications For Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA. In addition, as with many popular Facebook apps, users will have the option to share their experience with their Facebook friends.

According to the Huffington Post, the application was developed by Devin Valencia, a 24 year old graduate of The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for the “Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge.” Valencia received $10,000 in prize money for her idea.

MTV, the College Board and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged $100,000 towards getting the app up and running by the January deadline. Hopefully, finding money for college will soon be as easy as playing Farmville.