Humanitarians

If you  live in New England, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers the Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship. It awards $2,500 tuition assistance to the college or university where the student will be attending. The HSUS considers having a humane attitude and desire to be of service more important than academic record or monetary need.

Foodies

For those planning on majoring in pastry culinary arts or food sciences, the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) offers a $1000 scholarship per academic year to member-employees for skill development, professional certifications and other work-related training.


Especially for Twins

Twins can get ‘two for the price of one’ funding if they both attend Lake Erie College, of Painesville, Ohio. The full-tuition Lake Erie Twins Scholarship pays for up to 18 hours each semester and is awarded on a 50-50 basis provided both twins are students at Lake Erie and are full-time students, as well as on cumulative GPAs and SAT or ACT scores.

Filmmakers

The field of cinematography offers very well-paying jobs for those with the right training and an eye for camera work. Student filmmakers may be interested in applying for the KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Award, where they will be judged solely on their film-making skills. Nomination of potential candidates is done by the student’s school and includes cash prizes as well as KODAK Film Product grants for future cinematic projects.

Outside the Box

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development offers Davidson Fellows scholarships in the amounts of $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 for extremely gifted students in the fields of Engineering, Science, Technology, Mathematics, Literature, Music or Philosophy plus an intriguing category: Outside the Box. Visit the links to learn more about application and requirements.

Top Shelf

Are any of your prospective students tall? If so, then Tall Clubs International offers up to $1,000 in annual scholarship money for students who meet height requirements (minimum height of 5’10” for women and 6”2” for men) as well as under age 21 when first beginning college in the fall.

Trivia Masters

A student who knows a little bit about everything may qualify for a scholarship from the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation. What’s noteworthy is that the awards, which can range from $250 to $2,500, aren’t limited to high schoolers and no high GPA is necessary.

Let your prospective students know that there’s more than one way to find the money for school expenses beyond what federal and state aid might bring. Keeping track of all the choices and ensuring students get the help needed isn’t easy, however. Find out about better ways to track and improve your financial aid department’s compliance rates while saving money (and your staff’s sanity) as you help students march to their own drummer.

Information gathered from CampusLogic blog

Visit our website at www.PlanForCollegeAid.com to learn more about qualifying for academic and merit scholarships.
 
 

Impact of the Decreases in the Asset Protection Allowance

Every $10,000 decrease in the asset protection allowance may cut a student’s financial aid eligibility by as much as $564. So, the $33,700 decrease in the asset protection allowance for a 48-year-old parent from 2009-2010 to 2016-2017 may decrease a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid by as much as $1,900. For a dependent student whose parent is 65 years old, the $54,400 decrease in the asset protection allowance from 2009-2010 to 2016-2017 may reduce aid eligibility by as much as $3,068.

The decrease in aid eligibility for independent students without dependents other than a spouse is similar. The decrease in aid eligibility for independent students with dependents other than a spouse is not as severe, up to $329 per $10,000 decrease in the asset protection allowance.

The asset protection allowance is now so low that it does not protect basic assets from being assessed by the federal financial aid formula. For example, personal finance experts recommend that people save at least 6 months’ salary in an emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses and job loss. The asset protection allowance now covers only a portion of the money in the typical parents’ emergency fund.

The asset protection allowance also does not protect money that parents have saved to pay for their children’s college education. The average amount of money in a 529 college savings plan was $20,474 as of December 31, 2014, according to the College Savings Plan Network, an amount greater than the asset protection allowance for most parents of college-age children.

Low-income students may not be affected by the decrease in the asset protection allowance because of the Simplified Needs Test. The Simplified Needs Test disregards all assets on the applicant’s FAFSA if the parents (or the student and spouse, in the case of an independent student) have an adjusted gross income (AGI) less than $50,000 and either were eligible to file IRS Form 1040A or IRS Form 1040EZ or someone in the household qualified for certain federal means-tested benefits during the last two calendar years (e.g., Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) or the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program). So, the decrease in the asset protection allowance mainly affects middle-income and high-income students who don’t qualify for the Simplified Needs Test.

Cause of the Decreases in the Asset Protection Allowance.  The asset protection allowance tables are revised annually according to rules specified by the Higher Education Act of 1965 in 20 USC 1087rr(d). The asset protection allowance depends to a great extent on the difference between the current moderate family income and the current average Social Security retirement benefits, which can change significantly from one year to the next. When average Social Security retirement benefits increase faster than the increase in a moderate family income, the gap is smaller, leading to a smaller asset protection allowance. The moderate family income has been flat or decreasing since 2009-2010, while the average Social Security retirement benefit has continued to increase, causing a sharp decline in the asset protection allowance.

If current trends continue, the asset protection allowance will disappear entirely in just a few more years.

Since the asset protection allowance depends on current income and retirement benefit figures, it can vary significantly from one year to the next. Even college financial aid professionals often find this lack of stability in the asset protection allowance to be confusing.  If you do not know your EFC or your families Asset Protection allowance, please contact The College Advisor.  We will provide this information to you Free of charge.

In addition, the asset protection allowance is based on a net present value calculation that involves unrealistic assumptions, such as a 6% annual inflation rate, an 8% rate of return on an annuity and a 6% sales commission on an annuity. The annual inflation rate was last at or above 6% in 1982. The average inflation rate was 2.4% over the last 25 years and 3.8% over the last 40 years. The rate of return on an annuity is closer to 2% to 3%.


- this post is an edited version originally published on eadvisors.com
 
 

Whether you're a high school student or a parent of one, you've probably stressed over the SAT.   Plenty of analogies, misleading multiple choice questions, and a score out of 2400 that everyone habitually reduces to 1600.

Well, the time has finally come.  In the spring of 2016 the new SAT test will come out and two of the most notable changes are:

1.  The score will be 1600 again (with the essay being optional):  The essay will become optional, returning the test to its original score of 1600 (800 in Math, and 800 in English). The essay score will be recorded separately, if the student opts to take it.

3. The guessing penalty will go away:   Students will no longer be penalized for answering a question incorrectly.  

Want to familiarize yourself with all the major changes to the exam?  The following is quoted from the college board web site:

  1. Relevant words in context: "SAT words" will no longer be vocabulary students may not have heard before and are likely not to hear again. Instead, the SAT will focus on words that students will use consistently in college and beyond.
  2. Evidence-based reading and writing. Students will be asked to support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.
  3. Essay analyzing a source: The essay will measure students' ability to analyze evidence and explain how an author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Responses will be evaluated based on the strength of the analysis as well as the coherence of the writing. The essay portion of the writing section will no longer be required. Two major factors led to this decision. First, while the writing work that students do in the reading and writing section of the exam is deeply predictive of college readiness and success, one essay alone historically has not contributed significantly to the overall predictive power of the exam. Second, feedback from College Board member admission officers was split; some found the essay useful, many did not. The College Board will promote analytical writing throughout their assessments and instructional resources. The organization will also sponsor an awards program modeled after the Pulitzer Prize for the best student analytical writing. The Atlantic magazine has agreed to publish the winners.
  4. Math focused on three key areas: The math section will draw from fewer topics that evidence shows most contribute to student readiness for college and career training. The exam will focus on three essential areas: problem solving and data analysis; the heart of algebra; and passport to advanced math. Students can study these core math areas in depth and have confidence that they will be assessed.
  5. Source documents originate from a wide range of academic disciplines, including science and social studies: The reading section will enable students to analyze a wide range of sources, including literature and literary non-fiction, science, history and social studies.
  6. Analyzing data and texts in real world context: Students will be asked to analyze both text and data in real world contexts, including identifying and correcting inconsistencies between the two. Students will show the work they do throughout their classes by reading science articles and historical and social studies sources.
  7. Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation: Each exam will include a passage drawn from the Founding Documents of America or the Great Global Conversation they inspire — texts like the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  8. Scoring does not deduct points for incorrect answers (rights-only scoring):The College Board will remove the penalty for wrong answers — and go to the simpler, more transparent model of giving students points for the questions they answer correctly. Students are encouraged to select the best answer to every question.

Contact The College Advisor for information on navigating the college admissions process.