BONUS: Comparing Financial Aid Offers

Scholarship Spotlight: The Ken Reeves Memorial AccuWeather Undergraduate Scholarship in Meteorology. They offer one scholarship per year for $1000 for any undergraduate student sophomore – senior enrolled in a meteorology program. DEADLINE May 27, 2016

Bonus- Financial Aid Offers

It is probably time for you to compare your financial aid offers.  How do you know you are comparing apples to apples? What do you do when the school you REALLY want has not responded with an offer? Today’s episode is a review of a recent article in USA TODAY about sticker price shock and how to effectively compare financial aid offers.


Ep. 34 Scholarships for First Generation Students & Athletes

Scholarships for First Gen

Athletes and First Generation Students

This episode of the podcast is a roundtable of scholarships for first generation students and also athletes of various sports. We give you information about 5-6 scholarships for each category.  Some deadlines were not available but click not the link in the show notes below to get more information.


  1. Sallie Mae Fund First In Family Scholarship – Sponsored by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. They award $500-$5000 each year to students who demonstrate financial need and have a 3.0 GPA.  DEADLINE March 30, 2016
  2. Mercedes Benz “Drive Your Future” Scholarship – Company awards 100 students $10,000 ($2500/year) for first generation students with financial need. Check their website in the fall of each year for application information.
  3. Coca Cola First Generation Scholarship Program – This is for students intending on going to the University of Georgia. This is a renewable $5000/year scholarship for students.
  4. Farash Foundation First in Family Scholarships – Tuition assistance is awarded to students attending colleges and institutions in Monroe & Ontario Counties in New York.  They also require you to work within a nonprofit organization during school. Students receive FULL RIDE scholarships for up to five years. Check their website for more information.
  5. High Point University Say Yes & First Generation Scholarships – They award $5000/year for four years to residents of Guilford County in North Carolina that attend the university. DEADLINE February 15, 2016.
  6. Catawba College Scholarship is no longer available as of this posting. 
  7. Culinary Institute of America – They offer various scholarships for students interested in food writing, food preparation business etc… They award $5000- $10000, various grants and merit awards.


Athlete Scholarships

  1. Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship They award $2000/year. Applicant must be a female high school senior who participates in golf. DEADLINE March 1.
  2. GCSAA Scholars Competition – They award up to $6000 to students enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to turf management. DEADLINE June 1, 2016
  3. Swim with Mike Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship – This is open to athletes who participated in competitive youth, high school or college athletics and subsequently sustained a life changing accident or illness (e.g. paralysis, blindness, cancer, amputation, head injuries). DEADLINE May 1, 2016
  4. Athnet Sports Recruiting Scholarship – this is open to high school seniors or current college students who are current or former athletes. They award $1000 and DEADLINE June 1, 2016
  5. The Gene and John Athletic Fund Scholarship – this scholarship is open to LGBTQ athletes looking to continue their education and LGBTQ students pursuing a sports career. The award is up to $5000 and DEADLINE September 10, 2016



Ep. 33 College Success and DEBT FREE!



The Scholarship System

This episode is with Jocelyn Paonita Pearson.  Her website is and she was able to graduate debt free by securing over $125K in scholarships for herself.

She talks about how it is really possible to find the scholarships you need and go through college without incurring debt. She then started her career in finance with her new corporate job but quickly realized that there were still alot of people struggling with understanding college finances.  She quit her corporate job and put her knowledge into a book – The Scholarship System (available on AMAZON).  This is a step-by-step blueprint that goes into all aspects of college funding.

The Book


If you prefer to take an online course and get the information about the scholarship system, you should enroll in her course – The Scholarship School.  Click on the graphic to find out more about the course which outlines her system to help you graduate debt free.  You can also view the webinar which gives you a sneak peak into the course.

Here are her tips:

  • Don’t quit! Keep applying for scholarships and treat it like a job with purpose and dedication.
  • Be aware of and stay away from the SCAMS (those sweepstakes that promise you $1000)
  • There is money out there for everyone


Links to contact Jocelyn:

Website – The Scholarship System

Webinar – Claim Your Spot at The Scholarship System’s Free Webinar Now!

Scholarship Spotlight: Jerry Fuchs “Making a Difference” Scholarship Program

This is sponsored by Minority Athletes Networking Etc., Inc. (@GeorgeMartinNYG on Twitter) This scholarship is open to student or athlete with a B or C grad point average, high SAT scores but low GPA, looking to go into technical/medical areas and have a single parent or at risk family.  Deadline is March 31, 2016.

Ep. 32 How to Deal with the High Cost of College

How to Deal with the High Cost of CollegeIn today’s episode, we interview Brad Baldridge, and talk about money strategies to deal with the high cost of college. Mr. Baldridge is a late-stage college planning specialist and podcast host (Taming the High Cost of College). He helps parents of high school students plan and pay for college using strategies such as merit aid, need based aid, tax planning, savings and investing for college, negotiating with colleges, scholarships and loans.

He works with many parents/families with high incomes that may not qualify for need based aid.  Here are some tips:

  1. Gift assets to your children to pay for college
  2. Utilize college savings plans for the tax benefits
  3. Shift more income into retirement plans for better tax planning

Mr. Baldridge talks about how to pay for the high cost of college utilizing tax scholarships.  That means paying for college tax efficiently.  For example, shift income to students if you own a business or rental property by hiring your student to do yard work or as a part-time employee.  This would create an expenses that is deductible on your taxes.  Another example would be to take advantage of the tax credit available to families with up to $2500 in education expenses per child.  Contact the website for information about tax credits for education expenses.

The last question I ask deals with the current political climate in which both of the Democratic candidates talk about their plan about dealing with the high cost of college:

Bernie Sanders’ Plan @BernieSanders

Hillary Clinton’s Plan @HillaryClinton

Links mentioned in this episode:

Website –

Scholarship Guide for Busy Parents

Contact Brad

Ep. 29 Scholarship Success Story: Meet Briana!

Scholarship Success: How to stand outIn this episode, we present another parents/student scholarship success story. We want to introduce Brianna J., daughter of Aretha and Kevin.  She is currently a freshman at Hampton University in Virginia. She and her mother talk in depth about the college search process, extracurricular activities, applying for local scholarship, sports (volleyball), HBCU and her entire journey.

The colleges & links mentioned in this episode:

Rutgers University

Morgan State University

Fairleigh Dickinson University

University of Maryland

Loyola University

Kean University

Howard University

Spelman College

Temple University

Ramapo College


The Common Application

Jack and Jill of America, Inc.


[spp-tweet tweet=”Scholarship Tweet: Don’t leave money on the table!”]

Tips for parents & students:

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan – start as early as possible, for example account for expenses related to additional tutoring and what the financial impact for applying to many schools can be on your pocketbook.
  2. Be committed to the process. Use social media as a vehicle to find your scholarship.
  3. Find a way to handle stress in senior year with deadlines (exercise, go for a walk, etc…)
  4. Don’t procrastinate! Learn good time management techniques. Start college and scholarship essays as early as possible.



Bonus: Super Scholarship Secrets from The College Savvy Coach

The College Savvy Coach

The College Savvy Coach

We have a special guest for this BONUS episode – Sia Knight, The College Savvy Coach. She is a former teacher, counselor, administrator turned entrepreneur (founder of The College Savvy Coach) and educational consultant. She brings us some “pearls of wisdom” about scholarship and college admission in general. She has a FREE webinarSUPER SCHOLARSHIP WEBINAR on February 4th, 2016 8pm EST (check FACEBOOK page for additional dates).  You can register HERE for the webinar.

We are very fortunate to have her as a guest.  She gives us a sneak peak into the webinar and share some of those secrets with us such as how to maximize your HS counselor to your advantage, how to compose an application strategy for college and some of the biggest mistakes that lead to less money for college.

[spp-tweet tweet=”It’s not Who You Know, it’s really WHO KNOWS YOU!”]

Register for the webinar TODAY!.

Tips from The College Savvy Coach:

  1. Get to know your H.S. Counselor. When they need to recommend someone for a scholarship, let it be you.
  2. Teach your child to be their own best advocate.
  3. Start your child with an internship or leadership building activity in middle school or early high school.
  4. Teach your student to foster relationships early with other volunteer organizations if you are not that academic super star (to leverage later for scholarships). An example would be Boys & Girls clubs, Urban League or youth groups of fraternal organizations.
  5. How to be a GREAT student – Good isn’t good enough! Colleges are looking for GREAT students: Grades, References, Extracurricular, Avatar (online presence) & Test Score.
  6. Take courses in high school that are rigorous enough to let colleges know you can handle challenging courses.
  7. Get recommendations from school counselor and supplementary ones as needed.
  8. Don’t rush senior year and load up on extracurricular activities. Plan for that earlier in high school.
  9. Believe that college reps do look at your online (google, Facebook, instagram etc…) image!
  10. Be aware of the upcoming changes to the SAT and ACT.

How to contact Sia Knight:

website – Sia Knight, The College Savvy Coach

Twitter – @SiaKnight


Ep. 28 FAFSA Series Pt. 4: Your FAFSA Application #financialaid


FAFSA Application

FAFSA Series Pt. 4

Today’s episode is the final part of the series and looks closely at YOUR FAFSA Application.  We take a closer look into the FAFSA application, whom would fill out each section, what types of questions to expect in each section and how to avoid common mistakes.

If you have not listed to the other 3 episodes in this series, they are listed below for your reference.  We will continue in future episodes to talk about the FAFSA application and all of its’ complexity with additional guests and would love to hear YOUR FEEDBACK with completing this form online or by snail mail.

Ep. 25 FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized

Ep. 26 FAFSA Series Pt. 2 EFC and CSS Profile

Ep. 27 FAFSA Series Pt. 3: Who Are Your Parents?

LINK TO AMAZON Books about the FAFSA and Financial Aid

Links mentioned in this episode:

FAFSA Application

(Download a PDF version HERE!)

EFC – expected family contribution


Good Neighbor Scholarship – (50) $2500 Need based awards.  See Scholarship America website.

National Merit Scholarships – $2500 awarded to finalists of National Merit

Scholarship Program.  See National Merit website.

State Farm Companies Foundation Scholarship – (100)$3000-$8000 awards up to four years to legal defendants of state farm agents, associates and retirees.

ICONJ (Islanders Cultural Organization of New Jersey) – Scholarships awarded to caribbean heritage youth with demonstrated need.



Ep. 27 FAFSA Series Pt. 3: Who Are Your Parents?


FAFSA Series Pt. 3: Parents

Who Are Your Parents?

Milton Fisher Scholarship for innovation and Creativity – (up to) $5000/year for four years for high school juniors, senior and college freshman in the Connecticut or New York City metro area (or any student in the US planning to attend college in Conn or NYC area). **************************************

Todays episode is an exploration into different types of parents or parental relationships and what a student would report on the FAFSA depending on their family structure.  This can be quite complex to explain and include situations such as divorced parents, LGBT parents, remarried, single, never-married etc…

This can delay the review of your FAFSA application if not completed correctly.

LINK TO AMAZON Books about FAFSA and Financial Aid

Links mentioned in this episode:

FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized

FAFSA Series Pt. 2: EFC & CSS Profile

Apply for your FSA ID Here.

FAFSA Application

Parental Relationship Guide for the FAFSA

Pinterest Infographic about Parents


Ep. 26 FAFSA Series Pt. 2: EFC & CSS Profile


FAFSA Series Pt. 2: EFC & CSS #FAFSA #Financialaid


* (new search engine)

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship ProgramDeadline February 15, 2016


This episode is part two of the four part FAFSA Series: EFC & CSS.  The EFC is the acronym for Expected Family Contribution.  This is the minimum amount of money that colleges expect you (the parent or student) to pay toward college costs.  Colleges use a formula to calculate the EFC for every student that is seeking need-based financial aid. You submit your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which contains details about your income and assets, colleges use that information to determine your EFC and if you qualify for need-based federal aid (and some state aid as well).

The CSS Profile is an additional form that some colleges require along with the FAFSA to determine if you qualify for institutional aid.  There are about 300 hundred colleges that require this form and consider themselves very selective.  This form goes into greater detail about family assets, extended family assets, student assets etc…

We provide concrete examples of how to calculate financial need as well.  That is result of taking the total cost of attendance (tuition, room & board, fees, expenses, travel), subtract your EFC (expected family contribution) and the sum is the students financial need.

$28,000 Total Cost of College A

$13, 500 is the EFC


$14, 500 is the students financial need

Most financial aid offices attempt to meet as much the students financial need (not your portion) as possible for those that they choose to admit into the school.  There is often a gap at this point. The gap is the balance of the financial need that remains UNMET.  The student would often consider taking out a student loan.  Oftentimes, part of the financial aid package would contain subsidized or unsubsidized parent or student loans.

We are suggesting you supplement or replace the gap with SCHOLARSHIPS.

LINK TO AMAZON Books on FAFSA and Financial Aid

Links mention in this episode:


CSS Profile

EFC Calculator

2016 Federal EFC Quick Reference Table


Related Episodes

Ep. 25 FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized

Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Ep. 9 Financial Aid 101


Ep. 25 FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized #financialaid

FAFSA Series Part 1

Are you ready for the FAFSA?

It’s FAFSA SEASON! This is the first of a four-part series on everything you need to know about the FAFSA.  Part one of this series is to help you get started by getting organized. The FAFSA is the starting point and the gatekeeper to all of the federal and state aid and grant programs.  We will provide you with a checklist as well as information about what to do and know ahead of time.  Get Ready!

  1. Educate yourself about federal (and state) student aid programs. Do you know what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is? Here is a calculator to find out.
  2. Understand that it is really your child that needs to complete the FAFSA.  Help them understand whether or not parents (one or both) information is needed to be included or not.  For example, is your child considered a dependent or independent student for FAFSA filing purposes?  If they answer YES to any of the following questions, they are considered INDEPENDENT.
    1. Are they 24+?
    2. Are they going to school for an advanced degree (Masters, Ph.D.)?
    3. Are they married?
    4. Do they have children of their own that they provide 1/2 the support for?
    5. Are they 13+ and parents deceased or have been in foster care?
    6. Are they on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?
    7. Are they a veteran?
  3. Go to the FAFSA website ( to get a FSA ID.  You need to obtain one for yourself and the student must get one also.  The reasoning is so that both of you can view and edit the FAFSA application online.
  4. The documents that you should start to locate and gather are as follows:
    1. Social Security number or Alien registration number
    2. 2015 tax return (if you have not filed as of yet, you can use your 2014 AGI info)
    3. Bank statements (including investment accounts)
    4. Any additional information about untaxed income (business income, real estate investment income, unemployment etc…)
  5. Know the deadlines for your state for the FAFSA as well as state aid.  Here is a PDF to download and review for your state: Deadlines

LINK TO AMAZON Books on FAFSA and Financial Aid

Additional Resource Recommendations:

Getting IN by Standing OUT

Related episodes:

Ep. 9 Financial Aid 101

Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Ep. 23 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Program for High Achieving Students

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