Posts filed under 'paying for college'

Make a Buck: Video Contests for College Students

There are tons of scholarship opportunities out there, but none of them seem quite as much fun as the dozens of video contests I’ve seen for students. So to get you ready and motivated to fill out those scholarship apps this year, I threw together a few contests I came across this week that have upcoming deadlines. Happy filming. šŸ™‚

Herman Miller’s “Hey, Where Do You Learn Best?” Student Video Contest
I’m going to come right out and say that what caught my attention here was the brand name of my sweetie’s favorite chairs. I guess one of UCSD’s study rooms had Herman Miller chairs, and he liked them (and talked about them) so much that I actually know what kind of chair is my significant other’s favorite. But I digress.

Their video contest for students wants short, creative videos about where you learn best, whether it is study multi-tasking during spin class or while tanning (and dodging frisbees) in the quad.

Basics: 1-3 minute video about where you learn
Grand Prize: $2,500 Visa Gift Card
Deadline: March 26, 2010 (coming right up! hurry!)
More Info:

Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s Free Market Video Contest
Feel passionate about politics & the economy? Enter CF&P’s Free Market Video contest–they want to hear your spin on how . The video should be educational and persuasive, and should make the information accessible to other students.

Basics: 1-3 minute video about free-markets
Grand Prize: $1,000
Deadline: May 1, 2010
More Info:

The Christophers’ Video Contest for College Students
If you have a gift for positive thinking (or want to work on it, anyway) this contest is for you. All they want is a film under 5 minutes about how “One Person Can Make a Difference.”

Basics: Under 5 minute film on the theme “One Person Can Make a Difference”
Grand Prize: $2,000
Deadline: June 11, 2010
More Info:


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Add comment March 23rd, 2010

Med-School Prep: Considering Military Scholarships

My sweetie and I have found the entire medical school admissions process so far to be both fascinating and terrifying, especially when it comes to working out the numbers. There’s really no way around it: medical school is crazy expensive.

The Numbers

Just to give you a brief picture, I want to share some numbers from, a website created by the Association of American Medical Colleges (also called the AAMC; they’re the ones who put on the beloved MCAT).

Average 1st Year In-State Public Medical School Tuition: $22,199
or Average 1st Year In-StateĀ Private Medical School Tuition: $39,964
Average Other Expenses (Living, etc.): $18,000

Yikes, right? That is a grand total of between $40,199 and $57,964Ā per year. I’ll let you go ahead and multiply that by four yourself if you want to think about how big that number is. I certainly don’t.

Considering Military Scholarships

Looking at that grand total four-year number took our breath away. We both still have some student loans from undergrad to pay off, and adding a potential $200,000 plus to those was absolutely unthinkable.
We had both known about the military medical scholarships, but it had never seemed appealing before. However, we decided to do a little research, just to see what it was all about. My husband ended up pursuing a scholarship with the Air Force, but it took a lot of consideration. Let me break down all that the scholarship entails for you.

The Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program

First, fancy disclaimer: I am not a member of the Air Force, paid by the Air Force to endorse this program, or any kind of expert on military scholarship programs. We’ve simply gone through the process and done a lot of research, so don’t bank on me as your only source, and I apologize if I got anything wrong. If you’re considering these, you need to make sure you get all the facts for yourself. Okay. That’s it.

Okay, so the basics of the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) are as follows:
You Give:

  • 45 days of active-duty service per year (usually during summer break), for which you get paid a salary and entitlements,
  • One year of post-residency service as a doctor for every year of school the HPSP paid for (so if you got a four-year scholarship, you serve for four years).

You have to be fully qualified to get all the perks of the HPSP, but if you are eligible…

During School You Get:

  • Fully paid
    • Tuition (in-state or out-of-state, public or private school),
    • Fees,
    • Books, and
    • Various other educational expenses, as approved by the program,
  • A stipend for monthly living expenses during the school year,
  • Payment for your annual 45 days of service, and
  • Insurance coverage (as approved),
  • A substantial signing bonus the first year (three and four-year scholarships only, as approved).

After School and Residency You Get:

  • A job as an Air Force doctor (any time you’re guaranteed a job is good!),
  • The option to list your top choices for service locations (potential to work abroad as a doctor could be cool!),
  • A salary (Obviously. And salary range varies by specialty),
  • Paid housing,
  • Insurance,
  • Etc.

You also have the option of going into civilian practice after your service commitment is up, or staying in the Air Force and retiring, with a pension, after about 25 years of service–not bad.
It is definitely a personal decision however, so if you want to learn more you canĀ contact an Air Force recruiter, or look in to the other HPSPs offered by different military branches.

photo: onatos

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2 comments August 4th, 2009

What’s Hot at the Pay for College Blog

Our sister site, the Pay for College Blog, is usually meant for parents but there have been several posts recently that I thought you might want to take a look at.

It belongs to college industry expert, Deborah Fox (she’s been featured in all kinds of newspapers and TV news reports as a source for information about how to pay for college), and actually might be a good stop for your ‘rents–so send them over and teach them how to subscribe via RSS!

Meanwhile, here are five of Deborah’s best recent posts for the college-aged crowd:

3 Things Students Should Know About Student Loans. Did you know that your parents are NOT at all liable for your student loan debt, even if they’ve agreed to pay it off for you? Find out what else you didn’t know. Yikes!

Cut Costs By Renting Books. Deborah has a play-by-play of, a website that lets you rent books instead of buying them. Apparently it costs about half as much! She also shares a discount code for 5% off summer book rentals.

States Cut Financial Aid. While states deliberate their new budgets, student wait to see if they may be getting their aid cut. Some states are even considering to retracting offers of aid they have already made!

Ways for Students to Spend Time Wisely this summer. If you want to get ahead of the game, Deborah has some thoughts about how to use up the time between sleeping in and heading to the beach.

And finally, thoughts about Choosing a College Major. Quite some time ago I wrote an article about choosing your major, but Deborah’s article might be a great tool if you’re having trouble reconciling your major choice with yourself–or your parents. You might be surprised that a college expert–and financial planner–believes that following your passion might actually save you money in the long run! Hear that, mom and dad? šŸ˜‰

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2 comments June 29th, 2009

My Top Five: The Pay for College Blog

Many of you have probably popped over to our sister site, the Pay for College Blog, which is hosted by college funding expert Deborah Fox (of Fox College Funding –they actually won an award last year for financial planning excellence).

Though Ms. Fox’s site is mostly targeted to parents (you might want to teach yours about feed readers so they can subscribe) there are some great articles that are relevant to students, too. I like to help my readers stay in-the-know, so I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorites for you.

1. Creative Ways to Pay for College by Thinking “Outside the Box.” College is expensive, and a lot of us don’t have our parents footing the bill. I love the new and different ways students have come up with to cover their costs, and Ms. Fox’s reminders and tips about the basics.

2. Life 101: What Your Student Needs to Know Now. This is a great list of things you need to know how to do once you’re out on your own. You can ask the ‘rents, or check out articles around here, like this Ultimate College How-To Guide.

3. How to Pay LESS for Textbooks. Who else gets tired of spending hundreds of dollars on books you (sort-of) use for a few weeks? Ms. Fox shares some tips about how to cut costs on textbooks.

4. What You Need to Know About How to File the FAFSA.
I hate government forms. They are complicated and confusing. On the other hand, I like the opportunities that come out of filing them, like student loan offers or tax refunds. This is a great, simple prep guide for that dear, dear FAFSA we all love filing out every year.

5. 5 More Easy and Unexpected Ways to Find College Money. Did you know you can ask for a discount on some of your bills? Find out more tips to stretch your dollar in Ms. Fox’s article, and in my 50 Ways to Save Money in College.

Anybody have a favorite article to share with the class? šŸ˜‰

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Add comment January 21st, 2009

Need Money for College? File the FAFSA!

New Year’s Day is close at hand, and while you’re busy making goals to burn off all the goodies you munched over the holiday break, why not add one goal to help you pay for college?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (a.k.a. the FAFSA)

I’m almost absolutely positive that you DON’T WANT to file the FAFSA–who wants to spend a perfectly good afternoon filling out tedious forms? But according to our paying-for-college guru Deborah Fox, spending a few short hours on the FAFSA could potentially mean getting some free money.

What Kind of Money Can I Get?

The FAFSA helps the government determine who is eligible for government grants (free money), work-study (jobs that help pay for school), AND federal student loans (which have to be paid back).

In fact, it is the only way for you to apply for federal student loans, which tend to have lower interest rates (so less to pay back) and better protections of your rights as a borrower than private student loans (like the ones you see advertised on TV).

What does that mean? Well basically, no matter how much you or your parents make, you should DEFINITELY apply for the FAFSA!

Also many schools determine who is eligible for their own private grants and scholarships based on the FAFSA, so it is a great tool to open yourself up to lots of financial aid possibilities.

What Do I Need to Know to Prepare?

Okay, so if you don’t think you’ll be likely to file the FAFSA yourself, you might want to pass this info on to your parents. Here are a few things you need to know about filing the FAFSA:

  • File as Soon after January 1st as possible. The earlier you file, the more likely you are to receive grants (the free money).
  • File even if you are…
    • A high school senior (you’re filing for your first year of college which will start in Fall)
    • A college student (unless you are in your last year and won’t be doing grad school)
    • A grad or med student (you may not get grants but will be eligible for loans)
  • Check out this top five list from the Pay for College Blog: What You Need to Know About How to File the FAFSA

This can make a huge difference in your college budget this year, so make sure you or your parents file it ASAP!!!

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1 comment December 26th, 2008

How to Find College Scholarships You Could Actually Win

So, you want to win a scholarship, huh? But maybe you think you can’t win because you don’t have a 4.0, you don’t have enough community service hours, or your essay-writing skills are less than stellar.

Lucky for you, you don’t need any of those things to potentially win a scholarship-you just need to be able to find scholarships that fit you. Even luckier-I work for Deborah Fox, author of the Pay for College Blog, and that means I get to share some of her tips with you!

Location, Location… Local Location

Deborah says that it is much, much easier to potentially win a local scholarship than a national one. The reason why is simple-local competitions have a way smaller applicant pool than national ones, and that means you have less competition.

What to Look For: Ask around at your high school counseling office or college financial aid office (or check their websites), as well as the local library, for local, regional, or state scholarships. Also, run a Google or Yahoo! search for your city/county/region/state + the word “scholarship.” You should also find out which scholarships are offered ONLY to your college.

Know Thyself… and Thy Hobbies & etc.

Another idea Deborah offered for finding scholarships with smaller applicant pools is to focus on talents, hobbies, abilities, and associations you have that are more unique than the typical “volunteering and strong SAT scores.” (She has a great article about quirky scholarships on her blog.)

What to Look For: A lot of scholarships are NOT based on grades or test scores, so don’t box yourself in! Try searching out scholarships awarded for:

  • Your ethnicity, religion, or heritage
  • Your talents (music, chess, art, sports, etc.)
  • Your hobbies (surfing, knitting, mountain biking, baking, etc.)
  • Your or your family’s medical history (history of hemophilia, cancer, etc.)
  • Your or your family’s clubs or other associations (employers, on-campus or off-campus clubs/activities like Boy Scouts or 4H, a credit union your parents bank at, etc.)
  • Any other thing you feel is unique about you or your family!

Plan Ahead

Deborah’s final tip for today is to plan ahead-even way ahead.

During your scholarship search you’ll probably come across some scholarships that would be perfect for you if you were just one year further in school, or even some that you could be eligible for for several years. Keep a list of all of these so you can reapply to scholarships you’re still eligible for next year, and remember those that you will be eligible for in a while.

What to Look For: Scholarships that will apply to you when you hit certain markers (age, level in school, etc.) or those that will apply to you for multiple years. Remember to reapply to any scholarships you can if you don’t win them the first time around-or if they allow even winners to compete!

Thanks again to Deborah of the Pay for College Blog for all her help (you might want to send your parents over there for pointers on how to pay for college)!

photo: Traveller by asifthebes

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1 comment August 28th, 2008

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