Tag Archives: scholarships

Your price may vary

A college education is an expensive proposition. College costs have increased far faster than inflation and many students graduate to find there aren’t jobs matching their level of education and they have crushing debt.

But still the value of an education goes beyond employment prospects and a college degree definitely opens doors closed to non-graduates. But still, it’s expensive.

Prescott College

When I was touring colleges with my kids every campus seemed to be building a new science center, student union or some complex guaranteed make them look newer and shinier than the thousands of other institutes of higher-priced learning.

Truthfully, schools need students in their classrooms and so they offer grants, gifts and scholarships to get qualified student to enroll. A high percentage of students enrolling get some sort of grant or scholarship to go along with the student jobs and loans they’ll need.

If your child is among the best and the brightest students, they may receive a scholarship or grant regardless of the parents’ income just because his or her awesomeness casts a golden glow across the land.

Most families need a combination of financial aid, loans, grants and scholarships in addition to helping their child choose an affordable school.

The College Board has a Net Price Calculator  that factors in the various expenses and funds available to students for participating schools to show the actual estimated cost of a year at college, not just tuition.

Just for fun I chose Prescott College because it is the only Arizona school using College Board’s calculator and Kenyon College in Ohio because it’s an excellent but expensive school. To be fair, I don’t know much about Prescott College other than what I read on their website yesterday, but it looks progressive and innovative.

Prescott College lists their estimated cost of attendance per year as $38, 814. Equal to the cost of a very nice new car. Kenyon lists their estimated cost of attendance as $57,910, which is like a really nice new car you’d likely have to sell to send your kid to attend Kenyon.

Kenyon College

Both schools offer grants, scholarships and gift aid. Just for fun I entered numbers into the calculator for both schools for a family of four that earned $60,000 per year with just a few thousand in savings, a mortgage and another child following the first one to school in a couple years.

The estimated cost after grants, scholarships and aid from Prescott College came to $10, 714. Still a chunk of money to cough up every year but still, not a mind-boggling number.

The Kenyon College cost after grants, scholarships and aid came to $12,180, which surprised the heck out of me. The two schools are almost $20,000 apart expense-wise and now less than $2,000 apart. Maybe there will be money left over to buy a car?

I also entered numbers for a family of four making $125,000, ample savings, solid interest and dividend income, and lots of equity in their home. The calculator said, sorry, you’re own your own.

Clearly, colleges want kids to attend that qualify and they have money to offer to get them there. Someone has to use those new science buildings.

Oddly though the Kenyon calculation only listed $280 in personal expenses. For a kid from Arizona the costs for cold-weather clothing will be more much than that the first year. Prescott College listed $2,650 in expenses, which is more realistic.

Both only listed transportation costs as $1,000 or so, which for Prescott is reasonable, as it is only a short car ride away from the valley. For Kenyon though, there’s at least two round-trip plane tickets each year unless parents want to drive to Ohio and back, twice, or tell their new collegian they have to stay at school over winter break.

Here’s an interesting article from U.S. News The College Solution blog about Net Price Calculators. Apparently all schools needed to have them on their websites by Oct. 29, 2011 as per Congressional mandate.

Story by Daniel Friedman

Prescott College photo credit: Flickr.com
Kenon College photo credit: Flickr.com

Federal student aid app help

This Saturday and Sunday is the 16th annual College Goal Sunday & Saturday event, so start nagging your high school student now. Text them: U have to be awake @ noon Sat and/or Sun.

It takes place in locations statewide from 2-4pm to provide students and their families with professional assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Note: FAFSA.com is not affiliated with the US government.

Keep in mind the locations on Saturday are not the same for Sunday so visit the event information page for accurate information.

Before showing up at the event students should register for a personal FAFSA PIN as well as bring the student’s 2011 tax information if available, or W-2’s, social security numbers and other financial information. The parents’ tax information is also required for dependent students. FAFSA wants all the financial info, don’t leave anything out.

Students who attend the event can win scholarships and Kindle Fires e-readers.

Scholarship portal open to students

photo: Michele Molinari, Flickr.com

The Arizona Community Foundation has a scholarship portal for high school seniors, college students or graduate students seeking funds for their education. There are 52 scholarship opportunities on the website as of Jan. 31, 2012.

The scholarships are available based on intended field of study, geographic location or demographic group. Amounts awarded for a scholarship vary from about $1,000 to $5,000 per year with awards renewable each year for four years.

Students fill out one application to be matched to all the different scholarship opportunities. The application asks for grade point average, transcript, test scores, and financial aid information.

How to apply for Arizona tuition tax credit scholarships

For families considering a Catholic high school for their middle school-aged children but concerned about the cost of a private education, Seaton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler is offering a free event called “How to Apply for Arizona Tuition Tax Credit Scholarships” at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Jan 7.

The presentation, which is open to the public, will be given in Seton Prep’s Fine Arts Building by Jody LaBenz, CPA, the Principal Auditor with the Maricopa  Community Colleges. LaBenz will provide an overview of state tuition tax credit scholarships and the types of school tuition organizations. He’ll discuss how to navigate the maze of options, and help parents understand how they can qualify for tuition tax credit assistance and other scholarship programs. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

A parent reception for families in the foyer of the Fine Arts Building will begin at 8am. Seton student ambassadors will be available the day of the event to provide campus tours for parents and students.

The Catholic high school entrance exam, or High School Placement Test, will be taking place for students at 8:30 a.m.

For more information on the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit presentation or the High School Placement Test , visit setoncatholic.org or call Seton Catholic Prep’s Admission office at 480-963-1900, ext. 2355.

A science competition and teacher grants

Two opportunities mined from our inboxes — one for high school students and one for teachers.

The Siemens Competition  in Math, Science & Technology awards scholarships from $1,000 to $100,000. With an Oct. 3 deadline, it’s probably too late for this year’s competition, but with $100K on the line it’s worth considering for next year.

Have a look at the 2010 winners. Brace yourself; the $100,000 individual winner’s project is titled: The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra – Astrophysics. It’s by Benjamin Clark of Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pa.  Clark is now attending CalTech.

A red dwarf star, type M near a spiral galaxy. Photo:Sloan Digital Sky Survey, sdss3.org/

Siemens awards some monster scholarships, so they expect some serious science. If your child has what it takes, putting “won $100,000 Siemens Competition” on a college application would make him or her stand out, not to mention take care of a serious chunk of tuition.

For teachers, the Qwest Foundation, now CenturyLink, has $95,000 for Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA) education grants. Grants will be awarded to “preK-12 teachers who demonstrate a project-based innovative use of technology with students.”

There is no guarantee technology works wonders, so teachers who have effective teaching strategies enhanced by effective use of technology will benefit from submitting their ideas.

Robert H. Goddard, Ph.D. (for whom Goddard Space Flight Center was named) is shown teaching physics at a blackboard at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. in 1924. Blackboards, which have been replaced by whiteboards and Smartboards, were an indispensable teaching technology for many years. NASA photo

Grants are due Nov. 4, with the option of getting early feedback on ideas for ideas submitted by Oct. 3.

Find out more about AzTEA grants.

–Dan Friedman