Tag archive for "scholarships"

FAFSA, Grants, Money, Scholarships

FAFSA and Financial Aid Tips for Low-Income Students

No Comments 23 February 2017

If you come from a low-income household, paying for college can be intimidating. Take a look at these tips financial aid and FAFSA tips to receive the most aid you are eligible for.

Apply for the FAFSA early. More than a dozen states award grants on a first-come, first-served basis. That means that the later you apply, the less likely you are to receive grants. Only about 33 percent of low-income students file the FAFSA during the first three months of application season. This is compared to 58 percent of middle-income students and more than 71 percent of high-income students. For this reason, low-income students tend to miss out on billions of dollars in grants by filing the FAFSA too late.

Use the IRS data retrieval tool. You must fill out more than 100 questions on the FAFSA – that can be intimidating if you do not understand each question. That is where the IRS data retrieval tool comes in. This tool will pull information from your tax returns and input them directly onto your FAFSA application.

Seek out free money. There is no limit on how many scholarships you can apply to. The more scholarships a student receives, the less their total out-of-pocket cost will be for college. We are always updating the College Greenlight scholarship database, so be sure to always check in on your scholarship matches. You should also look into grant partnerships between colleges you are considering and organizations to maximize how much money you receive.

Consider work-study. The work-study program is based on financial need and provides an opportunity to earn money to that will help cover college expenses. The amount you earn will depend on how much you decide to work. But it is important to keep in mind that this money won’t be available to pay tuition at the beginning of the semester, but will instead help to cover ongoing expenses throughout the year.

Ask for help. There are multiple free sources you can utilize for help with filling out the FAFSA. Your counselor will be a great resource for any questions you or your parents may have. The U.S. Department of Education sponsors a toll-free hotline (1-800-433-3243) that can answer any questions you may have about student aid and the FAFSA.

FAFSA, Federal Loans, Grants, Merit Aid, Money, Private Loans, Scholarships, State Loans

Understanding Your Financial Aid Letter

No Comments 20 February 2017

When you’re accepted to a college, you’ll receive a letter explaining the financial aid package you are awarded.

These letters are sometimes filled with terms you might not be familiar with. You need to make sure you understand what your financial aid letter offers before you accept any part of it.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You will be told about grants, scholarships, work-study programs and federal student loans. Grants and scholarships are funds that you never have to repay. Work-study is government funding that you earn by working a qualifying job on or off campus. Federal-student loans are borrowed money that’s taken out through the government that you will repay.
  • The cost of attendance (COA), which is what you can expect to pay for tuition, fees and room and board, also will be included. Additional expenses, such as textbooks, transportation and basic necessities, are not included in this cost. Tip: You cannot rely on this estimate beyond your freshman year. The cost of attendance is not fixed and does not take potential tuition increases into account.
  • An important aspect of your financial aid is the expected family contribution (EFC). This number, based on information from your FAFSA, estimates how much you and your family can afford to pay for college out of pocket.
  • It’s important to note that you don’t have to accept all the terms of your financial aid letter. You can decline things such as work-study and loans. Make sure to ask the right questions before you accept your letter and find the average student loan debt for each school you are accepted to. Ask how many graduates find a job in their field within six months because that is when the grace period for student loans typically ends.
  • Check to see if you can expect the same scholarships every year as well. Keep your College Greenlight profile up to date so you can find scholarships to help with college expenses.

Money, Scholarships

Scholarships Expiring in February

No Comments 26 January 2017

In the cold and dreary February weather, attending a warm weather college sounds like a dream come true. Applying to scholarships can help make those dreams a reality. Take a look at this list below and apply to those you are eligible for.

Let Girls Learn Applicants must create a 3-5 minute video that creates awareness on critical issues facing young women. The scholarship award amount ranges between $500-$1,000 and applications are due Feb. 1.

The Dream.Us Opportunity Scholarship – Low-income students are eligible for this scholarship. Applications are due Feb. 1. The award amount for this scholarship varies.

Ascend Educational Fund – This scholarship is for college-bound immigrant students who will graduate from a New York high school. Applications are due Feb. 2, and the scholarship award amount ranges between $2,500-$20,000.

Love Letters Challenge Scholarship – Applicants must create a Valentine’s Day card for a senior citizen. This scholarship is worth $3,000. Applications are due Feb. 10.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest – Applicants must submit an essay about an ethical issue that you have encountered and analyze what it has taught you about ethics and yourself. Applications are due Feb. 10. The award amount for this scholarship ranges between $500-$5,000.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois – This scholarship is for students interested in teaching in Illinois after college graduation. The award amount for this scholarship is $250-$23,000. Applications are due Feb. 15.

CORE Que Llueva Cafe Scholarship – Undocumented students of Latino/Chicano descent with financial need are eligible for this scholarship. The award amount for this scholarship is $500 and applications are due Feb. 25.

Optimist International Essay Contest – Applicants must contact their local Optimist Club and submit an essay on chasing optimism in the face of challenges. Applications are due Feb. 28 and the award amount for this scholarship is $2,500.

Wear Action Scholarship – To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must submit an essay about the impacts of gadgets in fitness. The award amount for this scholarship is $500 and applications are due Feb. 28.

Apply to College, Resources

Resources for Low-Income Students Applying to College

No Comments 26 January 2017

For low-income students, the cost of higher education could stop their journey to college before it begins. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to widen college accessibility for low-income students.

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant does not need to be repaid and is free money for college. You apply for the Pell Grant by filling out the FAFSA. The financial need listed on your FAFSA dictates how much money you will receive through the Pell Grant. Keep in mind, there is a maximum Pell Grant amount, and it can vary from year to year.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs allow students to earn cash at part-time jobs on or off campus. All you need to do to apply is check a box on the FAFSA. About 3,400 colleges participate in work-study programs. Talk to the financial aid offices at the colleges you’re applying to and check if they participate.

Net-Price Calculator

Sticker shock is a common problem for low-income students applying to college. Instead of being scared away from college, use a net-price calculator to make a more informed decision.

The net price is determined by estimating the total cost of college — including tuition, books, room and board — and subtracting the average amount of student aid. Colleges are required to post a net-price calculator on their website. Utilize this tool when deciding where to apply.


Take a look at College Greenlight and fill out a profile to create a scholarship match list. Be sure to provide lots of information so you can be matched with as many scholarships as possible.  There is no limit to how many you can apply for as long as you meet eligibility requirements.

Money, Scholarships

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

No Comments 18 January 2017

As most scholarships for U.S. colleges require proof of citizenship, undocumented students often have a challenging time finding scholarships. There are, however, organizations that are committed to providing financial assistance for undocumented students. The list below includes scholarships open to undocumented, international and immigrant students.


Microsoft Scholarship: This scholarship is for students pursuing a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. Applications are due January 27.

Point Foundation Scholarship: This award is for students who are involved with the LGBTQ community and are open about their identity. Applicants must demonstrate a desire to make a difference in the world. Applications are due January 30.


The Dream.Us Opportunity Scholarship: This scholarship is for students who do not currently have the financial resources to enroll in college full time. Students must have reached the U.S. before age 16. Applications are due February 1.

Ascend Educational Fund: Immigrant students who will graduate from a New York City high school are eligible for this scholarship. Applications are due February 2.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest: This scholarship is for students registered as full-time undergraduate juniors and seniors. Applications are due February 10.

CORE’s Que Llueva Café Scholarship: College-bound undocumented students of Latino descent are eligible for this scholarship. Applications are due February 25.

Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute Scholarship: This award is for CUNY undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate academic achievement, financial need and a commitment to service in the Mexican community. Applications are due February 28.


The Dream.Us Scholarships National Scholarship: This scholarship is for students enrolled at one of TheDream.US partner colleges who do not have financial resources to enroll in college full time. Applications are due March 8.

Association of Raza Educators Scholarship – Los Angeles: This scholarship is for undocumented, AB 540 and DACA seniors who are graduating from a Los Angeles high school. Applicants are due March 17.

National Peace Essay Contest for High School Students: This scholarship is for students of any citizenship attending a U.S. high school. Applications are due March 15.

Ayn Rand Anthem Essay Contest: In order to apply for this scholarship, applicants must submit an essay for the book “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. There are no citizenship requirements for this scholarship. Applications are due March 29.

Foster Care to Success Scholarships: These scholarships are for students who have been in foster care or who are orphans. Applications are due March 31.


Davis-Putter Scholarship: The scholarship is for students active in social/economic justice movements.  People who are not U.S. citizens are eligible. Applications are due April 1.

A Voice for Animals Contest: Students who have worked to promote the humane treatment of animals are eligible for this scholarship. Applications are due April 10.

Ayn Rand The Fountainhead Essay Contest: Applicants must submit essays about “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand to be considered for this scholarship. There are no citizenship requirements. Applications are due April 26.

Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” Essay Contest: In order to be considered for this scholarship, applicants must submit essays about “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. There are no citizenship requirements. Applications are due April 28.

Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest: This scholarship is for applicants attending American colleges or universities, regardless of their citizenship. Applications are due July 31.


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