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Tag Archive | "State Aid Program"

Missouri Access Grants On The Chopping Block

State budgets have been impacted hard this last year and it seems like most of the financial woes are trickling down in the form of funding cuts to various education programs. Now of course, I have come up with an alternative solution for state budget issues but for now it appears that the state of Missouri is following suit with a great number of other states and reducing the amount of money they will be providing to their students.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has consistently provided a need based grant called ACCESS MISSOURI to Missouri students attending Missouri schools. Unfortunately though, this program used to dole out about $100 million dollars a year but after recent budget constraints they are lucky if they will be able to disburse $32 million for this coming academic year. Based upon this budget adjustment and the demand of students, it is estimated that the maximum award will be $500 for students attending public universities and $1,000 for those that are going to private colleges. The worst part about this reduction in funding is that it is going to be impacting the neediest students (since part of the qualifications are based upon your FAFSA results).

The following are the requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the Access Missouri Grant:

For New Students

  • Have a FAFSA on file by April 1, 2010.
  • Have any FAFSA corrections made by July 31, 2010 (if you are eligible, you may add school choices until September 30, 2010 by contacting the MDHE).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and a Missouri resident.
  • Be an undergraduate student enrolled full time at a participating Missouri school. (Students with disabilities who are enrolled in at least six credit hours may be considered to be enrolled full time.)
  • Have an EFC of $12,000 or less.*
  • Not be pursuing a degree or certificate in theology or divinity.
  • Not have received your first bachelor’s degree, completed the required hours for a bachelor’s degree, or completed 150 semester credit hours.

For Returning Students

  • Continue to meet the eligibility requirements for initial students.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.5 and otherwise maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school.
  • Not have received an Access Missouri award for a maximum of five semesters at a 2-year school or 10 semesters at any combination of 2-year or 4-year schools, whichever occurs first.**

If you are a Missouri student that is being impacted by this reduction in funding, feel free to check out some of our approaches to assist you in bridging the gap in your educational expenses.

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Alaska Rolls Out State Scholarship Program

College students across the great state of Alaska are taking comfort in a new state scholarship program that was recently put into law. It is categorically known as Senate Bill 221 but the warm and fuzzy moniker is going to be the Alaska Merit Scholarship.

These scholarship funds won’t go to waste on the not-so-brightest and academic underachievers. The emphasis that Governor Parnell put on this program is that the scholarships go to students that have a proven academic track record and will be sure to put the funds to good use. This aspect of the scholarship program differs from many other state scholarship programs across the nation that are more need-based and not directly tied to academic performance.

“Positioning Alaska’s economy for growth and our children and families for opportunity — I can’t imagine anything more fundamental to providing opportunities than doing everything possible to make sure our youth stay in school, get their diplomas, and move on to job training or college prepared to work,” Governor Parnell added.

Students with a 3.5 GPA (or above) will be eligible for $4,755 a year. Students with a GPA of a 3.0 will get $3,566 annually, and those with a GPA of 2.5 will benefit with $2,378. Below a 2.5 on your GPA (or less than a B-) and you will net nothing from this scholarship program.

In addition to GPA requirements, students will need to take four years of math, science, and language arts during their high school experience. Students must also obtain a minimum score on college entrance exams (I have not heard what the threshold for those exams as of this time).

Funding for this scholarship program is still being worked through. The Governor has assigned a task force with the responsibility of researching different funding methods to insure the scholarship program is in existence for years to come.

If you would like to find more information about the Alaska Merit Scholarship or Governor Parnell’s approach on education matters in Alaska, please feel free to check out this link for more details.

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Virginia Colleges Raise Tuition & State Reduces Grants

Virginia has 15 public four-year colleges and universities canvasing the state and providing educational opportunities to tens of thousands of students.  Given the large cuts in taxpayer support (state subsidies), these students will now be getting the benefit of paying more for their tuition at all of these schools for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (a current list of tuition and fees can be found below).

Governor Bob McDonnell recognizes that annual increases in tuition will not be able to sustain the multi-million dollar budgets of these educational institutions for the long-term. His approach to a solution is to create an education commission consisting of college presidents and legislative law makers. They will be charged with the responsibility of creating and presenting a proposal by the end of November that will change the outlook of the budget stricken public colleges and universities in Virginia without adding extra expense to the tax payers and extra tuition (steep) increases to students. Certainly sounds like they have a tough task ahead of them. If they need a solution though, they can always follow suit with Zimbabwe’s proposal…

The information above only impacts those students attending Virginia’s public colleges and universities. However, it appears that students attending private institutions of higher education will not be without cuts as well. The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program awards state funded money to all Virginia residents that choose to go to private schools in the state of Virginia.  They recently announced that each qualifying student will still get an award but it will now be reduced by $400. It is estimated that this reduction will impact approximately 22,000 Virginia students.

If you are a student attending a college or university in the state of Virginia, feel free to check out my college affordability article to help give you some ideas on how to reduce the impact that these tuition increases and grant decreases have on your bottom line. In addition, don’t hesitate to check out my tips on finding scholarships.

Here is a list of the 15 public colleges and universities in Virginia and their expected tuition expenses for the coming 2010-2011 academic year:

  • Virginia Military Institute: $12,328 ($19,460 including mandatory room and board)
  • College of William and Mary: $12,188
  • University of Virginia: $10,628
  • Longwood University: $9,855
  • Virginia Tech: $9,589
  • Christopher Newport University: $9,250
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: $8,817
  • George Mason University: $8,686
  • University of Mary Washington: $7,862
  • James Madison University: $7,860
  • Old Dominion University: $7,708
  • Radford University: $7,694
  • University of Virginia College at Wise: $7,194
  • Virginia State University: $6,570
  • Norfolk State University: $6,226

Here are in-state rates at two-year public colleges:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College: $109.60 per credit hour
  • John Tyler Community College: $107.50 per credit hour
  • Richard Bland College: $3,284 (annual)

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One Two Financial Punch (in the gut) for Illinois Students

ISACYesterday, I wrote an article about how the University of Illinois was increasing their tuition by 9.5% for the upcoming academic year.  While this is sometimes hard to stomach, most families and students are somewhat expecting an increase in fees over the years.  Unfortunately though, thousands of students anticipating to receive financial aid from the state of Illinois just recently found out that the money has run out and many students will go without funding this year.  Certainly not a good time for students in the great state of Illinois.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is estimating that it will have $400 million dollars to award to needy students this coming year, which is a pretty typical dollar amount based upon prior years. However, as you can imagine, the number of eligible needy students has increased and the group just does not have enough money set aside to meet the demand. They have already turned down approximately 27,000 students and they anticipate the number of rejections to increase to 200,000 once all is said and done..

ISAC administrators state that rejections are nothing new and that they have been increasing in number for the past couple of years. In 2008-2009 they rejected almost 60,000 students and in 2009-2010 they turned down 120,000 eligible student applications for funding. The feeling that I am getting is that they don’t necessarily want to turn students away, they just don’t have a choice once the money is no longer available.


It appears that students are awarded on a first come first serve basis and your “number” in line is going to be based upon when you complete your FAFSA for the upcoming academic year. ISAC states that funding ran out this year by April 19th. So, I would recommend students next year to make sure that they complete their FAFSA on-time and ahead of schedule to insure receipt of the limited financial aid available from the state of Illinois. Here is a link to all the grant applications provided by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Enjoy!

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Oregon Opportunity Grant Exceeds Budget By $19 Million

The Oregon Opportunity Grant is a need-based grant that was established in 1971 to help Oregon students obtain their educational goals of going to college. It has been a successful program and has done very well in administering funds from the state budget… until now.

For the current academic year, the Student Assistance Commission (SAC) was provided a budget of $67 million dollars to grant to Oregon students attending participating Oregon colleges and universities. The problem came about earlier this year when the Commission announced that they had exceeded their budget by a minimum of $10 million dollars and once all is said and done that overage may reach $19 million dollars.

So whats the solution… The state appropriated an additional $9.7 million dollars to help offset the added expense but it appears that the SAC will be denying more of the grant applications this coming academic year to help bring the budget back in line.

My suggestion to Oregon students is to complete your FAFSA early this year to ensure receipt of the Oregon Opportunity Grant. The SAC states that they will not process awards for any students that submit their FAFSA after August 15th. They did say that they would consider applicants after the deadline but only if additional funding is made available (which is probably not likely).

The following is video coverage from a local news station:

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Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

KentuckyflagI have recently gotten some flack from some of my reader base coming from the great state of Kentucky. Apparently they were feeling like a “red headed step-child” since I have not covered any college affordability news in their region… Hopefully today’s article (as grim as it may be) will help to satisfy their concerns and provide them the attention in which they yearn. 😉

The state of Kentucky is following suit with numerous other states in that they are having budget issues that deeply impact the way they provide higher education to their students. Recently, the Kentucky Council for Post-Secondary Education imposed a 4% to 6% limit (cap is set by institution) on how much tuition can be raised for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (Details Below).

This is certainly great news for the students attending these schools but the college administrators are thinking otherwise. Given the current state budgets (or lack there of) the colleges are questioning the limit on tuition increases because even if they impose the full percentage allowed, they still will be unable to get out of the red and into the black (meaning.. they won’t have enough current revenue to cover current expenses).

After maximizing the full tuition increase allowed, the following is a sampling of some of the budget issues schools will be encountering:

  • University of Kentucky – Will have a $7.6 million dollar operating deficit
  • Eastern Kentucky University – Will have a $3.8 million dollar deficit
  • Kentucky State University – Will have a $6.2 million dollar deficit
  • Morehead State University – Will experience a $3.8 million dollar deficit

Given these budget shortfalls, any extra-curricular programs or activities on these campuses may be under scrutiny (and possibly on the chopping block) if the Kentucky Public College System doesn’t collaboratively work with State of Kentucky and the Council for Post-Secondary Education to come up with some viable solutions. In the meantime, the students get the benefit of this decision (capping tuition increase), for the short-term, in their checkbooks when it comes time to make those tuition payments.

Unfortunately, those students that are used to receiving funding from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) may need to start looking at other options based upon an announcement earlier this week. It appears that KHEAA has ran out of funds and is in the process of sending letters out to 16,599 students to let them know that they will not be receiving any assistance. The maximum amount of this award for the coming academic year is $1,900 per student. Local colleges are going to try and minimize the impact for their students but they say that the pool of money allocated for these situations is quite small and will never be able to fully cover the loss…

Well… that is my Kentucky Higher Ed snapshot for the day.. some good news (cap on tuition increases), some bad news (KHEAA grant out of funds), and some ugly news (state budget crisis impacting public colleges).

Here is the information regarding the pricing for the 2010-2011 academic year:

Increase up to 6 percent

University of Kentucky


2010-11 ceiling: $8,610

Increase: $487


2010-11 ceiling: $8,859

Increase: $501

University of Louisville

2010-11 ceiling: $8,424

Increase: $480

Increase up to 4 percent

Kentucky Community and Technical College System

2010-11 ceiling: $130 per credit hour:

Increase: $5 per credit hour

Increase up to 5 percent

Western Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,560

Increase: $360

Eastern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,628

Increase: $316

Kentucky State University:

2010-1 ceiling: $6,216

Increase: $296

Morehead State University

2010-11 ceiling: $246 per credit hour

Increase: $12 per credit hour

Murray State University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,264

Increase: $288

Northern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,128

Increase: $336

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Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

CPAIn the state of Ohio, the minimum credit requirement for those wanting to sit for the CPA exam is 150 semester credit hours. As most of you may know, most students graduate from a 4-year college program somewhere around the 130 credit hour mark. So how are they supposed to bridge this gap to achieve the required credit criteria requested by the Ohio Accountancy Board? Glad you asked!

One option that many students take advantage of is going straight from their undergraduate experience to graduate school. CPA’s tend to migrate toward MBA programs. When they graduate with their MBA degree, they will have more than enough credit hours to be able to sit for the Ohio CPA exam.

Another option for the CPA minded student is to attend their college of choice for a fifth year to help boost their completed credit hours. Financially this option can sometimes be a costly approach but as more institutions embrace their fifth year seniors you find that most of the aid received in prior years will still be available for that fifth year (9th and 10th semester).

The state of Ohio realizes that their 150 credit hour requirement may be a little onerous in comparison to other states, so they have established a scholarship fund to help students offset the additional costs associated with completing those extra credit hours. The title of this grant program is the Fifth Year College Scholarship. I find it a little humorous just because it appears to be rewarding students that don’t graduate on-time! 😉

It is a great scholarship program and it certainly encourages students in the state of Ohio to become a CPA without the added financial burdens. The only caveat that I can find with the scholarship program is that the state will make you repay the monies if you don’t sit for the CPA examination within 2 years of the final grant disbursement. So tread lightly with this program if you are not fully committed to becoming a CPA. Of course though, it only requires you to “sit” for the exam and not necessarily pass it to be absolved from repayment…

Here is the application form. It appears that they accept scholarship requests twice a year (each semester) and that it is available to upper-class students that are enrolled in an accredited accounting program at a qualified college or university. Enjoy!

Also, even though this scholarship program is specific to the state of Ohio, I can imagine that other state CPA programs may have something comparable (if you are reading this and you reside in another state).

Know anyone that qualifies for this funding? Be sure to send this link to them using the “share tab” below…

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Cal Grant Application Deadline Set for March 2nd

calgrantThe California Student Aid Commission is officially starting to accept applications for the Cal Grant program. Students who qualify for this program can receive up to $9,700 per year to attend any public California college and most private and independent colleges. The Cal Grants can cover tuition, books, living expenses, and other necessary classroom supplies.

To be eligible for a Cal Grant students must:

  • Submit the FAFSA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (your parents don’t need to be citizens or eligible non-citizens)
  • Be a California resident when you graduated from high school
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Attend a qualifying California college
  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree (except for Cal Grant A and B extended awards for a teaching credential program)
  • Have financial need based on your college costs
  • Have family income and assets below the established ceilings
  • Meet any minimum GPA requirements
  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • Be enrolled at least half time
  • Have registered with U.S. Selective Service (most males)
  • Not owe a refund on a state or federal grant, or be in default on a student loan

You can apply for a Cal Grant Entitlement Award in one of four ways:

  1. Within one year after you graduate. So, even if you have to go straight to work before going to college, you don’t have to miss out on a Cal Grant.
  2. As a community college transfer student, as long as you are under the age of 28.
  3. As a high school senior.
  4. Within one year of getting your GED.

Instructions to apply for this FREE education money can be found here. If you know of anyone that may qualify for this program, please use the share tab below to forward this information onto them.

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