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Unique Scholarship Options You May Not Have Considered

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 @ 9:25 AM
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Let’s face it: college can be expensive. But with the thousands of scholarship options out there, it doesn’t have to be. Although there are countless students just like you applying for these awards, if you work hard and choose the right scholarships for you, you can greatly increase your chances of winning.

There are many generic scholarships out there awarding big money prizes. Those are the ones that will see thousands of qualified applicants, and it may be more difficult to snag those. But what about specialized scholarships in your field of study? Local scholarships for students in your area? Prizes geared towards your specific talent? Scholarships that award students for an unusual trait? All of these unique and quirky scholarships exist. Why not consider applying for some of these scholarships? If you meet the criteria and can submit the right materials, you just might find yourself with more money for your college education in hand. 

The Writers of the Future Contest

Are you great in English class? Fancy yourself a writer? If you’ve got the linguistic chops, you may want to consider L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest. Stories of up to 17,000 words in the science fiction or fantasy genre could win you prizes of up to $5,000. This is a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles and try for some serious cash. The current contest ends March 31st, so get writing!

Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest

If you can get yourself to Kansas (and have a serious talent for duck calls) the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest could be the scholarship for you. This competition, held each Thanksgiving week, is open to high school seniors and awards prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places. This scholarship has been around for 38 years and has awarded more than $60,000 to students in that time. Better get practicing!

The Miss America Organization

Pageants may have lost popularity in recent years, but the Miss America Organization remains the leading provider of scholarship monies for young women, awarding millions of dollars each year to competitors on the national, state, and local levels. Competitions take place in each state and are open to young women ages 17-24. Participants are judged in several categories, with the greatest weight given to the Interview and Talent portions. If you have a love of performing, your dancing, singing, violin playing, and more could earn you big bucks for your education.

Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

Do you have an interest in fashion? Or do you simply fancy yourself creative with duct tape? The Duck Tape Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest runs in 2015 from March 15th until June 1st, and offers two $10,000 scholarships to a high school couple who attends prom wearing inventive outfits made entirely of duct tape. This highly unusual scholarship offers major money, and also donates $5,000 to the winners’ high school. Check out the website to view last year’s winners and get some inspiration for your own incredible entries.

These are only a few of the incredible unique scholarship options out there. For more options, check out 45 of the Weirdest College Scholarships. With a little searching, you may find the perfect contest for you, and win yourself some much needed funds for your higher education. 

 

Tags: scholarships, strategies for college, financial aid award, college planning abc, college consulting, college planning, college applications, College Planning News, money for college, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college, college scholarships

There are FREE Lunches – FREE College Education

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 5:35 AM

Yes, you read this right, Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, is waiving the tuition for all its students, who enroll in the next three years.

This private liberal arts college is willing to give you r student a full-ride tuition scholarship for four years?  The value of the free tuition for the current year is $26,500. The scholarship, based on that price, makes each scholarship worth at least $106,000.

It gets even better

Some students, who file financial aid applications, will capture an even greater price break.  Qualified financial need based students may get to skip the room and board charges or pay a reduced price.  This is very nice when you consider Antioch's room and board is currently $8,628.

Why is this university doing this?

Well, Antioch actually closed its doors in 2008.  Rather sad for a college which was originally founded by abolitionists in 1850.

This was a result of bad management decisions and other problems forced them to close their doors. However, now the alumni have stepped up with tremendous financial support allowing the school to reopen.

In 2011 Antioch welcomed 35 students into its inaugural freshmen and it hopes to welcome another 65 to 75 students in the fall. The school's goal is to have about 300 students attending the school by 2015.

What Can You Get at Antioch?

One of Antioch’s strengths in the past was its work cooperative program and it appears that this valuable program is back.  Through this program all students are provided with numerous work opportunities during their four years that include local, national and international experiences.

Currently the school offers 12 areas of concentration ranging from environmental and health sciences to languages and social sciences.

Here is a snap shot of the academic profile of the first class:

Students had an average unweighted high school GPA of 3.56 and an average ACT score of 27, which is roughly the equivalent of a 1250 on the SAT.

If you're a high school senior, there is still time to apply! Antioch's admission deadline is Feb. 15.

Tags: College Planning News, money for college, college scholarships

7 Common 529 PLAN Questions and Their Answers

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 @ 9:25 AM

Many times at my workshops people will come up and ask me questions about 529 plans. I totally understand that there are many questions especially due to the amount of misunderstandings out there about this program.  So, below is a list of the most common questions I get and the answers. 

1. Do I have to use the money at a state school?
  Not necessarily. Your 529 Plan account assets can be applied at virtually all accredited
colleges and universities in the United States as well as to other eligible foreign institutions.

2. What expenses can I use the money for?
  You can use the funds for qualified higher education expenses like tuition, books, etc.

3. How and when can I take distributions from the account?
  Anytime you need it for your school related expenses. Now, please take note, distributions for non-qualified expenses may incur federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax. Qualified distributions include money for tuition, books, etc.

4. What about room and board?                                                                                             Good question. Here’s an answer that could help according to IRS Publication 970, it is written there that qualified education expenses are fees that are paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.  So, a lot will depend on what the institution has noted as a condition of enrollment.

5. How do I withdraw funds from my 529 Account, and can I take loans against my 529 Account?                                                                 

 All you need to do is simply fill out the College Investing Plan Distribution in PDF form. Indicate the recipient or who is going to receive the money. You could be a parent who wants to send it to your child or you can be the student yourself requesting that you directly receive it. Now, please note, you cannot take a loan out against the 529 account.

TIP:

Always keep a record of your payments so you won’t have a hard time filing for your tax returns.

6. How about if my child earns a scholarship?
The amount of the scholarship award from your 529 Plan can always be withdrawn without worrying about the penalty; but remember that other taxes may still apply.

7. Will investing in 529 Plan affect eligibility for financial aid?
Based on the Expected Family Contribution calculator (EFC), 529 assets may have a relatively small affect on Federal financial aid eligibility as they are considered assets of the parent (Participant). Moreover, accounts can be considered assets of the child (Beneficiary), such as a UGMA/UTMA account, are most likely to have a greater effect on the Federal financial aid eligibility in the EFC calculation.  This is something that I always check and advise on for my clients.

This was just a brief overview and by no ways everything you need to know about a529 plans.  For more information on how you can use this tool, and other financial vehicles to pay for college, contact me, Manuel Fabriquer, at (408) 918 3068 and let me save you thousands on the cost of college!

 

Tags: scholarships, Blog, College Funding, money for college, College Admissions, college scholarships, secure financial aid

Updates on College Costs

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 @ 7:24 PM

There is now a federal law that will increase the chance of getting college financial aid for families who will qualify upon application. This law will also help in offering grants to students who have plans of taking education as a course at the same time helping graduates to repay their student loans.

For Need-based Aid category also known as Pell grants, the news is that it will move up to a maximum of $ 5,400 annually for the next five years from its current maximum of $ 4,310. On the other hand, Stafford loans interest rates will drop by 3.4 % for the next for 4 years, which is half of the current rate.

For Loan Repayment category-

President Obama announced on Oct. 18 at the University of Colorado in Denver that college graduates would have an easier way to pay off student loans through the new “Pay as You Earn” plan.

The Pay as You Earn Plan, which was supposed to go into effect in 2014, will now go into effect in 2012 due to congress’s push by Obama. The plan will allow college graduates’ loans to not exceed 10 percent of the graduate’s discretionary income. After 20 years, any remaining debt will be forgiven, said Georgia Southern University’s Director of Financial Aid Division of Student Affairs- Connie Murphey

“Last year graduates (that) took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card dept. for the first time ever” said Obama in his speech addressing college students in Denver.

The old policy was that graduates had up to 10 years after they graduate, or leave school, to repay their student loans. College graduates also had to make payments of 15 percent, said Murphey.

The smaller payments will mean the payment time lasts longer, said GSU economics professor Anthony Barilla, Ph.D in economics.

“To the actual college graduate, if you kept their payments at 10 percent, that means they get to make smaller payments of their student loans and that also goes on for a longer duration, so there’s a plus and a minus to it,” said Barilla. “To the college graduate itself, it’s a longer duration of having to pay that loan.”

The college graduates that will not be affected are the students who received loans through private lenders such as banks and individuals, said Murphey.

“The ones that will not be affected is if students have a private loan through a lender, and a lot of students do. They go directly to a lender, they borrow money, it never comes through the school, it’s called a private loan,” said Murphey.

Moving on, the Public Service incentives category will help students in teacher-prep programs who are also committed to educate for four years after they graduate in the application for annual grants of $4,000 to cover the costs of going to college. Grants must be repaid in case they have decided to not pursue teaching.

Student borrowers can also have an incentive to go into a public position. This means that if they decide to work for a decade as a qualifying civil servant, the government shall then waive the loan balance of students to whose loan was provided directly by the government.

For more information on how your student can get money for college despite your income level, call me, Manuel Fabriquer, at (408) 918-3068.  College Planning Abc, is dedicated to helping students find and get into the best colleges in the nation while saving you the most amount of money.  Call today!

 

Tags: scholarships, college consulting, Blog, College Funding, College Planning News, money for college, college scholarships

Is a College Planner worth the investment?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 @ 7:22 AM

I got this question today from a family that was considering my services.

A family comes into my office today for their free consult with me. I went through my general questions about the family and about the families needs. I quickly discovered that they have a major problem with funding the full amount of college. I realized that they have 2 children and only half of the amount for college. I mentioned that something was better than nothing. The bad news is that they would have to sell all of their investments to pay for their children’s educational needs.

I went through my analysis and made the discovery that I can show them how to deduct over $150,000 of educational costs, therefore saving them well over $50,000 in taxes. I also discovered that the student was less than 50 points away from being qualified for a $39,000 scholarship at a private college. The total potential savings for college could be close to $200,000 over the next 8 years of paying for college.

I know I showed them that a small investment in getting expert guidance through this college admissions, and college financial maze is going to be well worth it.

Tags: college consulting, Blog, College Funding, College Admissions, college scholarships