Archive | Financial Aid RSS for this section

Financial Aid Information

The best resource page for all things financial aid is the following:

The following are the links to specific pages, a loan calculator, and the information about private student loans, and interest rates.

Loan Calculator:

Here is a link for a loan calculator, this is a resource given by the federal government:

“This Loan Payment Calculator computes an estimate of the size of your monthly loan payments and the annual salary required to manage them without too much financial difficulty. This loan calculator can be used with Federal education loans (Stafford, Perkins and PLUS) and most private student loans. (This student loan calculator can also be used as an auto loan calculator or to calculate your mortgage payments.)”

“The Federal Stafford Loan has a fixed interest rate of 6.8% and the Federal PLUS loan has a fixed rate of 7.9%. (Perkins loans have a fixed interest rate of 5%.)”

Private Student Loan Interest Rates

The current (weekly) interest rates are:

  • Prime      Lending Rate: 3.25%
  • LIBOR      (1 month): 0.29%
  • LIBOR      (3 months): 0.42%
  • 91-day      T-Bill: 0.09%

So a private student loan will have an interest rate of 3.25% plus the LOBOR percentage, and they are based on credit, so these rates are only for the most credit worthy. Students must co-sign with parents or someone with excellent credit history.

I could attach my student loan bill, or show students the $3,500 I am paying every month so we can get out from under my loans this year. Student loans should be a LAST resort, and going to a two year is still an excellent option for the financially wise.

College Life Planning is here to help plan for all your college admissions and financing needs. We hold a creed here, “know before you go.” This is means that before you decide to take out student loans, know what that might look like for you after you graduate! This means that before you go to college, know why you want to go, and what kind of major you might be going for! This means that you have all the knowledge and power, then make wise choices as you move into your college life, and then your career after life.

10 Beautiful, Smart Celebrities Who Got a Scholarship to College

Read Original Post Here

Most people don’t think of celebrities as academics, but the fact is that there are a number of well educated celebrities out there. Some of them were even promising enough to be given scholarships to pursue degrees in language, dance, acting, music, and even political science. Read on, and you’ll learn about ten celebrities who were smart and lucky enough to take advantage of scholarships.

1. Hugh Grant: This British actor received scholarships for two different schools. First, the Latymer Upper School where he participated in academic competition and sports including cricket, rugby, and football. Then, he received the Galsworthy scholarship to New College, Oxford. Grant studied English literature at Oxford and graduated with Upper Second-Class Honours.

2. Madonna: Madonna’s dance skills have served her from early on. At Rochester Adams High School, she was a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. She was awarded a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, where she was taught ballet by Chris Flynn.

3. Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington studied drama and journalism at Fordham University, earning a BA in 1977. While at Fordham, he enrolled in the Lincoln Center campus to study acting, and received a scholarship to attend the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Denzel and his wife Pauletta now have the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which offers awards to students in the field of neuroscience.

4. Jeri Ryan: Jeri Ryan graduated high school in 1986 as a National Merit Scholar, and received a scholarship to attend Northwest University. At Northwestern, she was a member of Alpha Phi. Jeri also participated in pageants, winning Miss Illinois and 3rd runner up at the Miss America Pageant. She received a BA in Theatre from Northwestern in 1990.

5. Alicia Keys: Alicia Keys attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, where she graduated as valedictorian. She received a scholarship to Columbia University in New York. Now, Alicia has donated to Frum tha Ground Up, an organization that offers scholarships to students from Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Harlem in New York City.

6. Sharon Stone: Growing up, Sharon Stone loved to read, and was awarded a scholarship to Edinboro University in Pennsylvania when she was just 15 yeas old. There, she studied creative writing and fine arts. Sharon is also a well known MENSA member.

7. Thandie Newton: Thandie Newton says that she likes learning and did well in school. At 11, she earned a scholarship to go to the Arts Educational School, a performing arts boarding school in Tring, Herfordshire. Later, she studied anthropology at Cambridge University.

8. Tom Cruise: Tom Cruise’s early life was tough, and he ended up in eight elementary schools and three high schools. He graduated from Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey, where he played as a linebacker on the football team. At one point, he attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati on a church scholarship, studying priesthood for a year.

9. Kristin Chenoweth: Kristin Chenoweth earned a full scholarship to study voice at Oklahoma City University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. Later, she earned a master’s degree in opera performance. She also finished runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma pageant.

10. Elizabeth Shue: While studying at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Shue took on modeling and ad gigs, but was still able to complete her studies. She earned a scholarship to study political science at Harvard University and appeared in TV and movie projects including Adventures in Babysitting.

Scholarship help from a student who’s got the blues!

Scholarship Help

I have a student in Louisiana , planning to go to LSU for Biological Engineering. He has a 4.55 GPA and is as sharp as a tack. He has applied himself, pushed himself and now, he is ready to go to college; he will be the first in his immediate family to graduate from college. His dad works long hours to support a family of 6, and he has done that for nearly 20 years. Tonight he sounded despondent, I asked why he was so discouraged, he said that he was so disappointed about scholarships. This young man’s future may hinge on the ability to get scholarships because his dad makes just over $80k per year. This salary was just enough to make it through the years, put a roof over his kids head, and now his son has a chance at graduating from college, and it may be just out of reach.

I want to offer just a few pieces of advice from

  • You must to be able to organize and prioritize
  • You must be able to write about a variety of topics that may or may not be exciting to you in a fluid and thoughtful way, demonstrating that you are a scholar or would like to be a scholar.This may be the most difficult part about becoming a successful scholarship winner. However, we know that with some help, you can do it.
  • You must understand yourself well enough to create a compelling portrait of who you are. You must understand your audience well enough to be able to position your skills and strengths as deserving of their support.

Knowing yourself takes more work than writing down a list of extracurricular activities. But it can start there! You might find that with some help, and some of your own introspection, you will be able to find and apply for some of the best scholarships out there, and get them!

A few more tips from are:

  • Start with local searches: Foundations are often looking for worthy candidates for scholarships int heir own backyard, you may find some great scholarship help from businesses and organizations in your area- start there!
  • When you are doing a Google (or Bing) search, get specific. If you type in the word, “Scholarships” you get “About 61,400,000 results [in] (0.11 seconds) “. If you some specifying words like, “lsu scholarships for biological engineering” you’ll find “About 18,700 results [in] (0.09 seconds)” This will help narrow your search significantly. You can clarify further by putting [“”] around specific text. For example, “scholarships for Louisiana students” will find you “About 3,990 results [in] (0.20 seconds)” At the end of this, you might actually apply for all 3,990 of those!
  • Don’t give up!
  • Find similar scholarship contests in similar areas and write essays that can be “grouped”. This doesn’t mean turning in the same essay for each one, but you can write “themed” essays that can be slightly modified for specific scholarship contests (or projects) and submit them for multiple scholarship opportunities.
  • Have someone else read through your scholarships! Finding grammatical errors can be an instant turn off, and I am the WORST at this. I am a horrible speller, and I don’t slow down to check my work either- having someone else to read over and check for errors could be a huge asset for you!

These are just a few tips that you can learn from, and hopefully it will EARN YOU MONEY FOR COLLEGE! Let me know if I can do anything to help you in your quest to be debt free and pursuing your college dreams!

Tips to get more Scholarship Money:

The FAFSA is the primary document students and parents will fill out to receive federal financial aid. There are several types of federal aid that comes through the FAFSA:

  • Direct Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunities Grant (FSEOG)
  • PELL Grant
  • TEACH Grant (for Teachers Education)
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
  • The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART)
  • Institutional Grants

On top of these funds, there is also Campus based aid available:

  • Work Study
  • Perkins Loans

After this, there isn’t much else. So what happens when the Award Letter (this is from the school and explains how much aid students are awarded) doesn’t match the cost of going to the school? SCHOLARSHIPS!

The key to earning scholarships is 3 fold. This is of course speculation and opinion. While I wish I could say this is a sure-fire way to do it and I promise you’ll get more scholarship alas, I cannot. There are however some tips I can give you  to help make yourself more appealing.

  1. GRADES: This may seem simple to you, but grades are very important! Most scholarships include a “need” based caveat, but you often can’t apply without having a GPA above a 3.0. Study hard and keep your GPA up. This helps on a number of different levels: (1) It helps build self discipline, (2) It will help get you into college (or a better college) and (3) it will help make you attract more scholarship opportunities.
  2. Quantity: Our whole lives we have been taught “Quality over Quantity”. In this case, we need both! One author suggested applying for at least one scholarship every day for at least 6 months. That is 182 scholarships minimum! That may seem like a lot, but I can show you how to do it.
  3. Quality: This is more than just having correct grammar and sentence structure. While that is important, what you write about is also important. Most of the time scholarship judges are also professional essay readers, and they may read a thousand essays just to pick 1 out of 5000 applicants (quantity is important!) Writing about things you are passionate about, writing in a colorful manner, and creating content that speaks loudly are just a few ideas for writing essays that stick out. I can also help create high quality essays for scholarships.
  4. Activity: Stay active in the community. Get involved in politics, helping the homeless, or some other social service that appeals to you. You’ll find yourself growing in ways you never thought possible, and you’ll become passionate about things you never knew you were passionate about. This will come out in your writing and help you develop some life goals and direction.

I can help if you are looking for scholarships. Feel free to contact me!

Nathan Cornett

1001 Ways to Pay for College

No, I am not going to outline 1001 ways in this post. But from time to time I will be providing several ways to help student pay for college that doesn’t include the federal loan program. These ideas are from the book, “1001 Ways to Pay for College” by Gen and Kelly Tanabe and will be paraphrased by me.

Reason # 299: Turn your community service into scholarship dollars- Community service makes you feel better. No doubt. But why not utilize your ‘feel good’ and do good attitude into dollars and cents for college tuition? Many scholarships in the community are based off of your involvement in the community. The Chargers scholarship, the Better Business Scholarship, the Target All-Around scholarship; all of these require community service. You can ask me for help in finding these types of scholarships, and with help in proofreading your essays. Click here to contact me.

Reason # 92: Don’t ignore local businesses big and small- Check with your local chamber of commerce to see about local business scholarships in your area. Businesses are always looking for ways to say thank you to their customers. They are also looking for creative ways to get tax breaks! One suggestion (apart from the book, this is 100% Nathan here) I might have is that you find businesses in the field that you are interested in (preferably passionate about) and simply ASK them for a scholarship. You might be surprised at what they are willing to offer you. And if they say NO the first time, go ask someone else. The thick skinned get the most scholarships.

Nathan Cornett

From: Cornett, Nathan
Sent: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 2:14 PM
To: ‘’
Cc: Cary, Grace
Subject: Returning to class


You have financial aid ready to be disbursed, but you have a shortfall from your first Academic Year here, and it is important that you understand that you must return nearly 100% of any stipend you will be eligible for. If you agree to do this, we can get the hold lifted and get you back into class. Will you agree?

Nathan Cornett

Financial Services Advisor

Ashford University


866.974.5700 x2573

866.512.7607 fax


Higher education made affordableSM

Calculate your EFC:

Determining your families Expected Family Contribution (EFC) before you apply for the FAFSA can help you figure out what you might need to do to get more financial aid. If you find that the EFC is higher than you expected, you might want to speak with your CPA to see if there is a way to move funds around that benefits your finances, but also helps your child be more eligible for financial aid. As we all know, many of us have a little bit of money for retirement, too much for financial aid grants, but not nearly enough to pay for our kids’ college. Use this tools and let’s see what we might be able to do!

Bringing people in:

by: Phil Ortiz and Nathan Cornett

Community. We’re all in one. Be it a university, a church, an organization, a business. We are all living in community. Becoming a part of this community means that in your heart, or your being, you are a part of this community, you belong. Your have bought in to the friends, the vision, the reality that this group presents. For me (Phil) I never thought I was a part of my organization; I was involved. Trust me, I was involved. Coming to a realization now as an older man, I never felt that feeling of being in that community; I realized, no one is making an effort to bring people into that community. If I didn’t feel it, then no one is doing it. I am an outgoing guy. I am accepting. I am open to relationship and correction, and involvement. Still… I never felt involved. So think about this, a guy that is open, involved, out going, I still never felt included and a part of the community.

In your heart you know that the community, the vision, the group is good! It’s beneficial. It is truth, almost. You get to a point when you see two foundations, you know that it’s good. But secondarily you see that people don’t feel included. That’s where you see the need. It is in that moment that you decide that someone (i.e. ME!) has a role. Someone, me, needs to bring people in. Me. No one else will do it. Just me. You see how people live their lives, you  see how they operate, you see how they live their life, yet there is no expansion.

Without that expansion, the community will DIE. People have either ignored or not seen the need for the expansion. If you see it, it is something powerful, something that requires response. Everyone should have availability to that kind of life. When people aren’t perusing that culture of “success”, the people who listen to Mark Hoffman, who know that kind of life; it is boarder line sin. When you’re not doing that it is selfish. You’re looking to yourself. When you invite others in it is a benefit to yourself!

Not that Mark Hoffman is the point. But being in community is! When you don’t feel that you are a part of the community, it takes courage to become a part of that community. “I am this community”. “I am this church”. “I am this organization”. When you don’t “feel” apart of it, that kind of a statement require courage.

“Paying your dues” is not part of community. Jesus said that following him makes you part of the community, not paying dues.