Money, Pay for College, Resources, Scholarships

Do I Need a High GPA to Get a Scholarship?

No Comments 10 January 2018

Not everyone out there has a perfect GPA, and that’s perfectly okay. We all shine in different ways, as cheesy as saying that may be, but we thoroughly believe it here at Greenlight. We’ll let you in on a little secret, too – you can still win a scholarship without having a perfect 4.0. Colleges realize that you’re more than your grades, and so do foundations, organizations, and businesses. Take a look at your scholarship match list and we think you’ll be surprised by the number of ways you can earn some cash towards your higher education.

If you tend to be more gifted at athletics than academics, you need to use that to your advantage. Talk to your coach to see if they think you’re eligible for an athletic scholarship. Register with the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers to be considered, and scope out our athletic-geared scholarships, like the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Scholarship!

Not headed to the Olympics any time soon? Are you just happy when you walk without tripping over your own feet? We feel you. Your interests and hobbies can earn you scholarships as well. If you’re an artist, volunteer at a local shelter, or even just love animals, there are scholarships out there specifically designed to help you manage the cost of tuition. Talk to a supervisor or mentor to see if they know of a scholarship you’d be eligible for, on top of checking out our list of varied options right here on our site! Off the top of our head, we can think of the AllTopGuide Scholarship, the Ayn Rand 2018 Anthem Essay Contest, and the BMI Student Composer Award, none of which have a GPA requirement.

It’s a common misconception that you can only get scholarships if your GPA exceeds 3.0 – there are a lot of other options out there, it’s just a matter of finding them. We at College Greenlight are here to make that discovery process easier for you, and to help bring your dream of getting a higher education a reality. Let’s find your strengths and see how you can cash in on them – literally!

 

Pay for College, Scholarships

Activities that Look Good on a Scholarship Application

No Comments 09 August 2017

Spinning the activities you have done this summer, or plan to do, as things to add to scholarship essays will benefit you. Here are some activities that scholarship decision committees will be pleased to see on an application.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to show scholarship administrators that you are a well-rounded student. You can find a new passion, build your resume and reinforce teamworking skills. Many scholarships require a supplemental essay with the application. The character built and experienced gained from volunteering is a great subject for an essay.

College Prep Programs

Showing you are thinking about college during the summer goes a long way with a scholarship committee. Attending some sort of college preparation program allows you to get a taste of a college campus and some of the courses that are offered. Take a look at this extensive list of fly-in programs. Many colleges offer free fly-in programs, travel assistance scholarships, overnight programs and diversity programming that comes at little or no cost to students accepted to their programs. Listing a program like this on a resume would show a scholarship decision committee that you take your studies seriously and deserve a scholarship.

Part-time work

Working a part-time job comes with a number of benefits. If you happen to come from a low-income household, this money can go a long way. Working a job at a young age shows scholarship committees you are dedicated to pursuing higher education. Plus, your place of employment might offer its own scholarships.

Pay for College, Resources

Spotlight on Ladder Up

No Comments 17 March 2017

Ladder Up is a community-based organization that provides people with resources and opportunities to move up the economic ladder. This organization provides participants with free programs to help students obtain financial aid to make their college dreams a reality.

This program is based in Chicago and visits local high schools — mainly Chicago public schools and charter schools — to give presentations on financial aid. With its Life-Improving Financial Tools (LIFT), Ladder Up helps participants and their families create a foundation for economic self-sufficiency. The sub-programs, Higher Education Access Initiative (HEAI) and Financial Literacy Program, help participants to secure financial aid for college and gain the appropriate skills to make smart financial choices. Participants learn about FAFSA, award letters, student loans, college finances and personal statements. One-on-one counseling also is offered for parents and students. Ladder Up offers counseling year-round for those who need it.

Students and parents alike can learn about financial aid opportunities through Ladder Up. Participants walk away with follow-up information about award letters, student loans and college finances. They also will learn how to successfully fill out the FAFSA. Keep an eye on Ladder Up’s website to see if they are hosting an event near you.

Ladder Up encourages financial responsibility going into college. Follow their mantra and check out your College Greenlight profile for the newest scholarships you are eligible for. College Greenlight regularly has been a beneficial scholarship resource for Ladder Up students.

Pay for College, Resources

How to Negotiate for More Financial Aid

No Comments 15 March 2017

If you are not happy with the financial aid package you’ve been offered, you do not have to settle for it. You have the option to appeal for more financial aid.

The first thing you need to do is come up with a plan. Study your college’s financial aid appeals process to know how to make your case. A common and effective way to do this is to write a direct letter to your financial aid office. Some colleges have a form to fill out.

These steps will guide you through the appeals process:

  1. Be as specific as possible when describing your financial situation. The financial aid office cannot help you if your appeal is too vague. Instead of saying you do not have enough money to cover tuition, you must explain why. Include facts, dates, figures and any other specifics that might help your case. Although you want to include details, keep the letter short. Do not bog it down with personal stories — write just the facts that affect your ability to pay. Be sure the amount you are asking for is reasonable as well. If a college thinks you are asking for too much, they may reject your appeal.
  2. List evidence and provide third-party documentation to back up your situation. Job loss, salary reduction, death of a wage earner or expenses for a special-needs child are among some of the reasons you could appeal need-based aid. Bills and receipts, letters of termination and bank statements are great examples of documentation. If you are looking to appeal for more merit-based aid, you can include a copy of a higher offer from another college, additional letters of recommendation or grades and awards. When the U.S. Department of Education audits colleges, they look at professional judgement appeals. They want to make sure any increase in financial aid is backed up by documentation.
  3. Mail your letter to the correct office. Contact the college and make sure you have the correct office. If you are sending a letter to appeal for more need-based financial aid, the letter should go to the financial aid office. If you are appealing for merit-based scholarships, contact the enrollment or admissions office. Explain to whoever you speak to that you want to initiate a Professional Judgement Review, which is the official term for an institution’s ability to review a student’s financial aid package and potentially increase it due to special circumstances. Do not try to begin the appeal over the phone – you just need to verify where to send the letter.
  4. Follow up. If you have not received a response to your letter within a week, follow up with the appropriate office. But remember, just because you are appealing your package, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed more money. Some colleges do not negotiate. The decision whether to make an adjustment to your financial aid package is entirely up to the college. But with a well-written letter, you will have a better chance at success.

Pay for College, Resources

Most College Credit Cards Leave Students Unprotected

No Comments 25 January 2017

Many colleges fail to monitor credit card and financial programs marketed to students, leaving campus officials largely in the dark about whether these programs are in a student’s best interest. The programs can prey on students, costing them hundreds of dollars in fees and penalties.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Banking Report, on-campus financial institutions play a significant role in supporting a student’s financial stability. When a college fails to provide support, a student might not be equipped to handle unexpected fees or charges. This could impact a student’s ability to pay tuition and other costs related to higher education.

Many colleges do not take advantage of their rights under credit card and financial partnerships. They usually decline to receive information about student credit card use and the management of financial programs. They also turn a blind eye to student complaints.

Forty percent of college students — more than 10 million — attend a college or university with an on-campus bank.

To help make students aware of the pitfalls of on-campus banks and credit cards, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called for financial institutions to disclose consumer agreements on their websites. The bureau also launched an initiative to help colleges evaluate the economic effects of on-campus banks and affiliated credit cards.

The market for college credit cards, however, is declining. In 2015, the bureau reported a 21 percent decline in credit-card agreements from the previous year.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act includes a section that intends to bring greater transparency to the college credit-card market. It includes:

  • Credit-card issuers must submit the terms and conditions of college credit cards
  • Credit-card issuers cannot provide cards to students under 21 who do not provide proof that they will be able to make payments
  • Prescreened offers of credit cannot be marketed to students under 21 without their consent

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