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 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

Pay for College, Undocumented Students

Colleges that Meet 100% of Financial Need for Undocumented Students

No Comments 22 December 2016

College affordability is a big concern for many students and their families. Paying for college is even more difficult for undocumented students. Luckily, there are several colleges that are dedicated to making undocumented students’ college dreams come true. These colleges meet 100% of the students’ demonstrated financial need with grants, student employment, scholarships, and, in some cases, student loans.

We have compiled an alphabetical list of colleges that meet 100% of financial need for undocumented students. If you are interested in learning more, check out these schools on College Greenlight. Please note that these colleges pledge to meet a student’s full demonstrated financial need. Most students will still have an expected family contribution they are responsible for.

Amherst College Amherst is committed to meeting 100% of the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted student, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Financial aid packages for non-U.S. citizens include on-campus employment and institutional grant aid, without loans. Undocumented and DACA students must submit the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form and federal income tax returns or income verification to apply for financial aid.

Bates College Bates treats undocumented and DACA students as domestic applicants and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for those admitted to the college, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Undocumented and DACA students must submit the College Board PROFILE and provide federal tax returns or other income verification to Student Financial Services in order to apply for financial aid.

Bowdoin College Regardless of citizenship, Bowdoin is committed to meeting 100% of all students’ demonstrated financial need. The college will provide an institutional package comprised of grants and on-campus employment.

Bryn Mawr College The college does not separate undocumented students into an “international” or “domestic” pool. Bryn Mawr will meet the demonstrated financial need of any student, including those who are undocumented.

Brown University As long as students self-identify as undocumented and request aid at the time of their application submission, Brown will meet 100% of the student’s financial need. Eligibility for aid is solely based on financial need.

Carleton College Only students with DACA status are considered among all other legal permanent residents and US citizens at Carleton College. The college only offers admission to students whose need they are able to meet.

Colby College Colby is dedicated to meeting 100% demonstrated financial need of all students, regardless of background. Undocumented students are treated like international students.

Columbia University Undocumented citizen applicants at Columbia University are eligible for the same need-blind admissions policy that applies to US citizens, permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens. The university guarantees to meet 100% of all admitted first-year students’ demonstrated financial need for all four years, regardless of citizenship.

Cornell University – DACA students are recognized in the domestic financial aid pool and Cornell meets the full demonstrated need for all admitted domestic students. These students will be considered in the DACA/domestic aid pool for their entire time at Cornell.

Dartmouth CollegeDartmouth will meet full need of undocumented students with employment, scholarships and/or loans.  Freshmen must complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE and the College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC).

Duke UniversityUndocumented students must apply to Duke as international students; counselors can call and inform Duke that the applicant is undocumented. Eligibility is based solely on financial need. The university will meet 100% of demonstrated need.

Emory UniversityEmory considers students who are granted DACA status to be domestic students, and the university meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted domestic students.

Harvard College  Undocumented students apply to Harvard as international students and are eligible for grants and loans from Harvard based on financial need.

Haverford College The college will meet 100% of demonstrated need for all students, regardless their background.

Macalester College Macalester is committed to internationalism and multiculturalism and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. Undocumented students who are not permitted by law to work in the US will receive additional student loans to replace the amount typically earned through an on-campus job.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – An applicant’s citizenship status will not have any impact on their chances of admission at MIT or the availability of full need-based financial aid.

Middlebury College – Undocumented or DACA students should follow the same application process as any other student. Middlebury will meet 100% demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. To apply financial aid, just complete the CSS profile by the deadlines indicated on the site.

Oberlin College An undocumented/DACA student indicates their interest in applying for need-based and/or merit-based financial aid on the Common Application. If that student is accepted, Oberlin will meet 100% of demonstrated need.

Occidental CollegeOccidental considers undocumented students to be international students and the college will fully fund 2-4 international students every year. Undocumented students must apply for financial aid at the time they apply for admission.

Pomona College Pomona will meet 100% of need for DACA and undocumented students. The college will provide these students with the support and resources they need in the application process.

Princeton University – Admission to Princeton is offered to students regardless of their ability to pay, and the full need of every admitted student is met regardless of citizenship.

Rice University Rice will meet the full demonstrated financial need of undocumented and DACA students through scholarships, work study, and available loans.

Smith CollegeSmith meets 100% of the demonstrate need for all admitted students who apply for financial aid by the appropriate deadlines. Since federal aid is not available for undocumented and DACA students, Smith will provide institutional, need-based financial aid in its place.

Swarthmore College Swarthmore’s admissions process for undocumented and DACA students is need-blind. The college will meet 100% of demonstrated need with aid awards that do not include loans that need to be repaid.

Tufts UniversityTufts will meet 100% of demonstrated need of all-admitted students. While procedures for financial aid vary between domestic and international applicants, undocumented students are considered domestic and will receive institutional need-based financial aid like U.S. citizens.

University of Chicago All students, regardless of citizenship, will have their full demonstrated financial need met. The university will also assist undocumented students in other ways, such as help with visa status.

University of Notre DameNotre Dame admits and meets the full demonstrated need of undocumented students.

University of Pennsylvania – The university will meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated financial need without loans. Need-based financial aid is awarded when the student is admitted to Penn.

Vassar College Undocumented students are considered international applicants at Vassar. The college will meet the entire demonstrated need of these students for the entirety of their enrollment at the college.

Wellesley CollegeWellesley is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted undocumented and DACA students. These students are considered international applicants.

Wesleyan University – Wesleyan meets 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students who apply for financial aid. The college treats undocumented students just like any U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Williams CollegeWilliams College will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for every admitted student, every year.

Yale UniversityYale admits students without regard to their ability to pay and the institution meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students without loans.

Join us!

Create a free profile and...
  • Discover more than $11 billion in scholarships and merit aid
  • Get your college matches and see which colleges want you
  • Instantly see your admissions chances for getting into the college of your dreams
Create My Profile Now