Ep. 75 Taxes and Scholarships, Kappa League (#WhyKappasMentor)& Charlie’s Journey

Taxes and ScholarshipsThis episode is a mashup of current activities for The College Money Maze. We started the weekend off by participating in the Kappa League Conference, sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (bear with us as we debrief our experience giving a presentation to 250 young African-American young men). The Kappa League is the mentor program (#WhyKappasMentor) sponsored by this fraternity and this was their regional conference of all the individual mentor programs from several states.

Students are able to gain valuable experience in community service, opportunities for leadership and are able to bond with others similarly situated. Most Minority Greek Letter Organizations (Pan-Hell) have youth auxiliary (for girls as well) that students can join and participate in.

We then get into the main topic which is about the relationship between taxes and scholarships, meaning whether or not you should be claiming scholarship funds on your tax return. Many parents are probably not aware of how they can be affected by taxes and scholarships when they apply for these awards or receive financial aid from schools. We dive into this topic and explain the difference between the educational deductions and credits that the IRS allows on an individuals tax return.

In summary, the portion of your child’s scholarship that covers tuition, fees and those expenses required for the courses (i.e. books, supplies and equipment) are not taxable. Other costs (room & board, travel etc…) if included in the scholarship ARE TAXABLE and must be reported. The institution will likely send you a statement that details the costs.

WE ARE NOT TAX PROFESSIONALS. Refer to IRS Publication #970 for tax benefits for education, FORM 8917 and the IRS website for complete information.

We end the podcast talking about Charlie Lovett and what is the plan or roadmap as he completes the second half of his junior year in high school. They have some decisions to make as a family (I am sure many of you can relate) if they are going to pursue merit aid, football scholarship or tennis scholarship monies.

Related links:

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. – National Kappa League Program @NtlKappaLeague


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

Ep. 74 Website Review: The College Board

The College BoardThe College Board website may be frequently used by some of you but I would venture to guess that a large part of you have no idea how vast and comprehensive this site is. This episode of The College Money Maze Podcast does a review of The College Board website.

Some would argue that although The College Board is a nonprofit organization, in terms of its’ overall structure, it has some tools, resources and services that is marketed to others at a cost.  Some might even say that it has a dual identity: one side is for educators, colleges, school counselors and the other side is for students and parents.

Let’s look at each side. First the professional services side for educators provides instructional programs, curriculum development services, materials, lesson plans etc… for educators. They also have content to help guidance professionals assist students with the application process and prepping for college. These would be best used by teachers of 6-12 grade students or high school counselors.

The higher education services is provided to help college admissions, financial aid administrators and those that are into recruiting to plan, coordinate and track all of their information in one software application.  They also provide data reports about PSAT/SAT trending to help direct marketing.

One of the final sections of the website is for the CSS Profile. This an additional form that is required by a number of universities in addition to the FAFSA for consideration of not only financial aid, but institutional aid (or non-federal aid) awards. This form asks additional asset and resource questions so that the admissions and financial aid administrators can make better decisions based on the resources available.

The other side of The College Board is a “sub-site” called BIG FUTURE. This is the section that is directed toward college planning, career exploration, career development and organizes information for students that are applying for colleges. First and foremost, you can access the PSAT/SAT/CLEP practice tests as well as register for the actual tests from this section. This is very user friendly for students and parents to access.

A little known feature is their college search database which guides you step by step to compile your college list. You can search for colleges and universities by acceptable test score, which ones give out merit scholarship, those that are ranked nationally by division (and filter by sport) etc…  There are several videos of students who have used the site and provide testimonials.

Connect with them:

Twitter – @CollegeBoard @OfficialSAT

Facebook – @TheCollegeBoard

BEST OF BONUS: How to Be College Savvy

The College Savvy Coach

We have a special guest for this BEST OF 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.

We are very fortunate to have her as a guest.  She shares some college admission 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!”]

She has a brand new APP – COLLEGE BOUND PARENTING.  Find it in ITunes or Google Play Store.

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

FACEBOOK – The College Savvy Coach

Instagram – College Savvy Coach

Ep. 73 Need College Money? Start HERE…

College Money for YOU!This is the second part of our ” A to Z” Scholarship episodes and talk all about college money for all kinds of students. We do however, start the episode discussing a recent article about an athlete who had his scholarship rescinded at the last minute from the University of Connecticut. Can you imagine how he and his family felt?

The rest of the episode get more on a lively tone when we go over the second half of the alphabet and announce the following college money (scholarship) opportunities (you’re welcome):

NJCS – National Jewish Committee on Scouting

$1000 Award Open to HS Senior’s active in Boy Scout and received the Eagle Scout Award.

Deadline 1/31/17


New England FEMARA Scholarship – Open to those with a background in amateur radio (with a license)in the New England States only   $1000 Award

DEADLINE 1/31/17


Otto and Isabel Frings Memorial Scholarship 

Deadline 3/25/17  $1500 Award


Parr Family Memorial Endowment Scholarship

$700 Award Open to HS Seniors in the Mid-West states

Deadline 2/1/17


Pearl Scholarship – Psi Mu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.  Charlotte, NC area

$500 Award  Deadline 2/1/17


Quill and Scroll Scholarships

$500 Award Open to HS Seniors who are incoming journalism majors

Deadline 3/10/17


Return2College Scholarship

$1000 Award Open to all undergraduate and graduate students

Deadline 1/31/17


Sidney R. Baer Jr. Reintegration Scholarship

$1000 Award Open to students diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder or Schizophrenia (or in recovery)

Deadline 1/31/17


Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

$1000 Award Open to HS Seniors, undergraduate or graduate students. Respond to topic – What would you do instead of using technology?

Deadline 1/30/17


University of Delaware Trustee Scholarships and Grants

$3000-$5000 Deadline varies


Unpublished Writers Award

$1000 Award Open to WOMEN ONLY HS seniors, undergraduate or graduate students

Deadline 3/15/17


VSGC  Virginia Space Grant Consortium STEM Bridge Scholarship

$1000 Renewable Award to sophomores enrolled in one of the Virginia Space Grant Universities STEM program. Deadline 3/13/17


Wisconsin Minority Undergrad Retention Grants

$2500 (Renewable) Award  Open to Wisconsin resident undergraduates ONLY

Deadline 3/15/17


Xerox Minority Scholarship

$1000  – $10000 Need and merit based for STEM Majors

Deadline 9/30/17


Young Christian Leaders Scholarship

$1000 Award Open to HS Senior who are active in their church (any faith)

Deadline 3/1/17

Ep. 72 Scholarship Succes Story: $100k for Adult Students!

Money for Adult StudentsThe majority of those searching for scholarships today are high school students or their parents. Believe it or not, adult students need scholarships too!

Today’s episode is a great conversation with Shay Spivey who tells us how to earn over $100,000 in scholarships for adult students. She is living proof that it is possible.

Her story is one of determination, focus, disappointment but reassurance that there is hope for adults who return to school to further their education.  She has written several books about her journey which details the steps that it takes to be a scholarship success which applies to high school and adult students alike.

One great time she share for adult students is to not be intimidated with attending classes with younger students. Get a mentor within your major department to help with focus on your goals and visit the multi-cultural center if looking for scholarships.

Here are some tips for parents or students getting started:

  1. Start at least 1 year in advance (no later than junior year). January through may is the “THE” optimal time to be filling out scholarship applications.
  2. Meet and talk with the H.S. Guidance Counselor. They are there to help with the transition. Many schools even have a College/Career center located at the school with resources.
  3. Contact the scholarship office at the colleges that you are applying to. Many students do no utilize this office. Most know where the financial aid office but not the scholarship office.
  4. Online search websites such as FASTWEB or SCHOLARSHIP.com

Tips on how to create a winning scholarship application:

  • Collect 1-3 letter of recommendation IN ADVANCE. Don’t want until the last minute and make numerous copies.
  • GET ORGANIZED with a binder or folder to keep track of letters from colleges.
  • Put together a GREAT ACADEMIC RESUME. It contains not only grades or test scores, but also extracurricular activities such as clubs or sports. This is just one page summary.
  • Get involved in community service – THIS IS KEY!

“Foundations want to give back to students who give back to someone else!”   Shay Spivey

Tips to Parents who have “UNMOTIVATED” kids:

  1. DON’T GIVE UP – it is worth it. They will thank you later. Don’t let their attitude deter you.
  2. Start with 1/2 hour each night. Any more than that will turn them off.
  3. Have your student write out their “personal essay” NOW, ahead of time. You can recycle it within the numerous scholarship applications. The purpose of the personal essays is to have the student articulate their career goals, academic goals and describe what having that higher education would do for them.


Contact Shay Spivey:

Twitter – @ShayMSpivey

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/authorshayspivey

Email – shayspivey@yahoo.com


Ep. 71 Happy New Year: Scholarships A-M

New ScholarshipsHAPPY NEW YEAR! 2017 has finally arrived with NEW SCHOLARSHIPS just for you. Regardless how you feel about 2016, a new year is ahead of us with new adventures and possibilities. We want everyone to seize the opportunities that come before you this year. Start fresh. Make new goals. Recommit to excellence in everything you do and demand no less from everyone around you.

Our goal for 2017 is to stay focused on what our passion is – finding new scholarships and sharing them with the world. We will be loading the first two episodes of this podcast for the new year with nothing but scholarships – from A to Z. Literally.

It will be broken into two separate episodes for easier digestion. YOUR WELCOME. HAPPY NEW YOU!


Selecting the Right College – Using DATA to Make Better Decisions

(w/ Bill Phelan of College Factual) @CollegeFactual



Aceable Scholarship – DEADLINE 2/1/17 $500 Open to HS Seniors, Undergrads and Community College Students. Submit an essay on your thoughts on being an “ACE” driver.

Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarship – DEADLINE 2/1/17 $10k Open to HS Seniors who are interested in career in BioMedical Engineering or Pre-Med.  They also have to be a participant of either FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Robotics Competition Team. (FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology)

C-SPAN Student CAM Documentary Competition – DEADLINE 1/20/17 $5k Open to students in grades 6-12. Submit a short video on their message to Washington. @studentcam

Deborah Canon Partridge Wolfe International Fellowship – ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, Inc. DEADLINE 2/1/17 $1000 Open to Undergraduate students studying abroad and foreign students studying in the United States. #ZNEF1975 #Zphibhq #zphib1920

EngineerGirl Essay Contest – DEADLINE 2/1/17 $500 Open to Girls and Boys Grades 3-12. Complete an essay on a topic related to working as an engineer.

Full Ride Scholarship (Tom Joyner Foundation) – Various Amounts DEADLINE 1/20/17 Open to students accepted at HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities). @tomjoynerfound

GIRLS IMPACT THE WORLD Film Festival Scholarship – DEADLINE 1/20/17 $5k Open to High School and college students up to age 25. Submit a 3-6 minute short film on the awareness of a critical issue affecting women and girls (or propose a solution).

Healthcare Leaders Scholarship – DEADLINE 1/29/17 $1000 Open to college students enrolled in a nursing or medical related program. Submit an essay on career goals.

National Italian American Foundation Scholarships – DEADLINE 3/1/17 up to $12k Open to High School students through post-graduate. You must be able to demonstrate that at least one ancestor immigrated from Italy.

Justice Empowered Scholarship – DEADLINE 1/20/17 $2500 Open to current college students. Submit a video on a topic related to justice (social justice interests).

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Foundation – Various Amounts, Open to college bound High School Seniors and current college students. Local Chapters provide scholarships. @kapsi1911

Lint Center for National Security Studies – $1000 DEADLINE 1/31/17 Open to college students pursuing a career related to national security ( i.e. counterintelligence).

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Scholarship – DEADLINE 1/18/17 $3k Open to High School Students who have been diagnosed with MS or have a parent with MS. @MSSOCIETY

BONUS BEST: Selecting the Right College: Using Data to Make Better Decisions

Selecting the right college

NOTE: This is a “BONUS BEST” episode to start off 2017. ENJOY…

This episode is an interview with Bill Phelan, co-founder of College Factual to discuss how data can help a student make a better decision by selecting the right college. This site is a data driven website that allows you to discover your unique strengths, matches you with the best major and begins selecting the right college according to that information. They publish significant data on their site for athletes, first year students as well as work with the Veteran’s Administration to identify veteran friendly colleges (@studentvets).

“An adult can make a bad decision and file for bankruptcy. A student at age 18 that makes a bad decision can’t walk away from their debt, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court”.

The goal is to have the most updated information about the true cost of a college, determine the value of selecting that major and what are the best colleges for that major and the outcome of your earning potential. This is also a great resource for Asian students since they have an office in #Beijing for the Chinese parents and students.

Changing the course while in college can be costly. The latest statistics suggest that 76% of students change their major once and then 50% of those students change their major for the second time.  The COST of each change is about $45,000

Links mentioned in this episode:

College Factual @CollegeFactual

Contact them:  FACEBOOK, Twitter, LinkedIN

USA Today College Rankings @USATodayCollege


Scholarship SpotlightThe Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship (in honor of Beyonce’s new album – Lemonade) @ShawnCarterSF

They offer varies scholarships for students up to the age of 25.  You must be at least a high school senior, received a GED, undergraduate or graduate student, U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a 2.0 GPA to qualify. @beyonce @S_C_



Ep. 69 How to Get Scholarships via Text: #GenZ

Scholarships via Text for #GenZ


If you don’t know what to call your teenager, don’t call them a Millennial.

#GenZ (or  also known as iGeneration)are profoundly different.  Born after 1995, have grown up with amazing technology, are more entrepreneurial and less focused than the previous generation.

Today’s guest has found a great way to service #GenZ with info about scholarships (via text messages) and more efficient ways to pay for college: NEXTGENVEST.com.

Kelly Peeler is the founder and chats at length about her business and how she is delivering scholarships, advice and assistance to high school and college students all over text message communication. She has a team of trained college students that she call – MONEY MENTORS who are paired with a student and help them with whatever is needed.

The average attention span of #GenZ is about 8 seconds! NextGenVest gets their attention by using various tactics such a delivery of pizza, DD gift card or other incentives to get your kids to do the things that YOU (the parent) can’t get them to do.

NextGenVest also has a robust SNAPCHAT channel in which students can view college campuses virtually through tours conducted daily. How awesome is that!

The overall mission is to erase student loan debt and help students get through college with no debt. She believes that students can easily digest complex concepts around money or finances  in 140 characters.

Links mentioned in this episode:

NextGenVest.com (Use the promo code MONEYMAZE for a discount!!!!)

Connect via SNAPCHAT

Connect via INSTAGRAM

Connect via FACEBOOK

Ep. 68 Reconsidering Community College? They Have Dorms Now!

Community College with Dorms

Community College w/ Dorms, a new concept

We have a brief overview of the article and the topic of community college with dorms and meal plans across the country. I first came across a great article from the website diycollegerankings.com, Cutting College Costs: 209 Community College with Dorms.

This might change the game for some people. Community colleges are admittedly less costly than a traditional four year institution. A community college with dorms might be able to compete for attention now. The reason for this expansion is simple, dollars and sense. It makes sense because it can bring in more dollars!

Students can take their core general courses, take supplemental courses, take specialized certification programs, take remedial courses to get up to college level etc… There is something there for everyone to take advantage of. Community colleges are trying to improve their image. They now have honor programs, honor societies and even sports for students to participate in.

Considering a list from your state of a community college with dorms allows you to stay on campus, focus on your studies without the hassle of commuting. Currently, Texas has the most with 29 followed by New York and Kansas. NJ has 1 and PA has 7 schools.

If they are trying to compete with larger state institutions such as RUTGERS UNIVERSITY who now is focusing on attracting higher achieving low-income students with their Future Scholars program is a losing game. They will get swallowed up. Making themselves nimble and more attractive with dorms and meal plans, allows that low-income student to stay close to home at a lower price point.

I suggest you take a look at the original article with the list and see which schools in your state now have dorms.

Links mentioned in this article:

Essex County Community College

Rutgers University Future Scholars Program

Ep. 67 Making Good Credit Decisions ‪#‎preparingtheyouth‬

Credit Decisions

Your Credit Teaches You how Alive You Are…


Today’s conversation is like being back home. So warm, comfortable even if we are talking about credit. Our guest, Timika Massey is an Account Executive and Sales Director with FES. This is a credit counseling service that also has a 501C3 nonprofit foundation that provides scholarships for high school seniors and college freshman.

You will have to pardon the background noise and laughter but we had a great time prior to recording reminiscing and continued into the podcast.

The purpose for having her on is to promote their scholarship (YFLFoundation.org) and encourage students to apply for (one of the 40 awards) up to $25000. DEADLINE DECEMBER 15, 2016.

The other conversation I initially wanted to talk about was the importance of credit education, youth financial literacy but time got away from us – we will definitely have her back in a couple of months.

She does talk in the beginning of the dangers of students making poor credit decisions at college, it can ruin your future and saddle you with debt that can take years and years to pay off.  Don’t make the mistake of falling for the t-shirt or shiny tech gadget in return for applying for a credit card. It is not worth the headache. USE CREDIT RESPONSIBLY.

Her mantra is – EDUCATION IS POWER! ‪#‎preparingtheyouth‬

Your Credit is Your Other Vital Sign!  Timika Massey, Ms. CREDucation

Here are links mentioned in this episode:

SCHOLARSHIP Opportunity!!! – Youth Financial Literacy Foundation

Financial Education Services

Timika’s email – 4thebestscore@gmail.com

Contact her – TEXT the word “BESTSCORE” to #76626

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