Entries for month: August 2013

Florida Bullying and the Law Scholarship

August 24, 2013 ·

Florida high school students are about to be treated to a rare scholarship opportunity by demonstrating what they know about bullying.  The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation has received funding for the first Bullying and the Law Scholarship.

Working with the Walser Law Firm in Boca Raton, Florida, CKSF has developed a concept that will direct high school students to a honed down version of the Florida anti-bullying law, otherwise known as the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act” and information on federal civil rights, then provide a college scholarship to the student that can performs best on a CKSF scholarship quiz.

Be on the lookout starting in October for the start of the Florida Bullying and the Law Scholarship!

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Starting Your Own Scholarship

August 20, 2013 ·

Starting your own scholarship can be exciting and rewarding for you and your recipient.  The process can be fairly easy if you follow a few main guidelines.  The two most important of which are:

    • BE SPECIFIC on every last detail
    • DO NOT MAKE EXCEPTIONS

In planning your scholarship – you should be able to very specifically answer the following questions:

WHO – who may apply for this scholarship?
Specific answers might be:

  • - high school seniors at Central High School
  • - female high school seniors that have documented 100 hours of community service

WHAT – what are the eligibility requirements?
This is tougher than it sounds – for every restriction you put on your scholarship you must follow up and verify the winner meets the requirements.

WHAT – what must the person do to apply?
Very specifically put this in writing so there are no questions – if there is even a sliver of gray area – expect a flood of calls from students and their parents.

An example: “Submit a typed  double spaced essay of at least 500 words but not more than 750 words on how you plan to help stop global warming.”

HOW - How do participants send you their application?
Here again, be specific if you want it via mail, email, hand delivered.  Whatever you state, stick with it as a requirement of the program, it will save you headaches later.

HOW - How do you evaluate the applications?
With traditional scholarships this is often a very subjective point.  To help simplify your process you may want to create a standard grid and check off “completed requirements” for each applicant.  If your scholarship has essays, you should have a list of things you are looking for and provide a score or check as each is found in the writing.

HOW - How do you announce the winner?
State how the winner(s) will be announced up front in clear writing.  Will you send a formal letter, announce it through the winner’s school, personal visit?  By the way, are you going to notify the applicants that didn’t win?  One solution to this problem, if you have the ability to email all the applicants at once, send one email on the announcement date congratulating the winner.  Use the Blind Carbon Copy Bcc feature so you are not broadcasting every applicants’ email address to the world!

WHEN - When is the application due?
Put this date in writing and do not waiver from it.  If you accept an application that is a day late you may well get complaints!

WHEN - When will you announce the winner?
Provide a specific date and stick with it.  A day early or a day late and you are likely to get calls, emails and letters.

HANDLING SCHOLARSHIP MONEY

When most people start a scholarship they want to know how to handle the scholarship money.  Do they need to start a not for profit, is the scholarship tax deductible, who actually receives the scholarship check and so on.

First, you do not have to start a not for profit to create a scholarship.  The easiest thing to do if you are awarding a scholarship to a high school student heading to college is contact the school and speak with the person in charge of scholarships.  Most schools have a fund you can donate the money to with instructions on how you want your scholarship named and awarded.  This is almost always tax deductible and you should get a letter from the school for tax purposes.

Another way to handle scholarship payout is to make your payment directly to the college or university your winner is attending.  You can make your check payable to the school for deposit into the student’s account once he or she is registered for classes.  You can also request a letter or receipt from the school.

Note of Warning

There are laws about awarding scholarships.  The most important deals with who can win your scholarship.  For example, you cannot create a scholarship in which your family member is guaranteed to win.  Generally, ensure that recipients are selected in an objective and non-discriminatory basis. Those responsible for selecting scholarship recipients must not be in the position to derive an economic benefit-directly or indirectly-from the scholarship process, and relatives of applicants also should not serve on selection committees. Relatives of donors are ineligible to receive scholarship grants from a donor-established scholarships.

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Student loan bill signed into law by President Obama

August 15, 2013 ·

On August 9th President Obama signed into law a student loan bill that allowed interest rates on loans to undergraduate college students to fall back to 3.86 percent. The interest rate on graduate student loans will be 5.41 percent.

It is entirely likely that most high school and college students neither know nor really care what this all means. It is unlikely that most students have ever had a loan they had to repay and if they did, concern was how much the payment was and not how much it would eventually cost to pay it off. Without President Obama’s signature on this bill that defines how much the federal government should subsidize student loans, students in the next several years will face heavy loan repayments.

Under the new law, the government establishes variable interest rates on Stafford loans for undergraduate college students, but caps the rate at 8.25 percent. The variable rate each year is tied to the rate on 10-year Treasury notes, plus 2.05 percent. The law also sets the interest rate on loans issued to graduate or professional students at the rate on high-yield 10-year Treasury notes plus 3.6 percent, but caps that rate at 9.5 percent.

For any student, investing in oneself is still provides the best long-term returns. Students should be smart, and do everything they can to offset the cost of their education with scholarships, grants and through federal work study. Take loans only when absolutely necessary and then use that money wisely. Only take what is needed to survive college, it will make life after college much more enjoyable.

Tags: CKSF News

Catcher in the Rye Challenge Helps Pay for Back to School Expenses

August 09, 2013 ·

CKSF is now offering electronic Amazon gift cards as its scholarship prizes. For its current Catcher in the Rye Challenge, the top ten scorers will receive a gift card to spend at Amazon’s massive online store, which can now be conveniently accessed from the CKSF website.

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Tags: CKSF News

Shark Week is Back!

August 07, 2013 ·

Marine enthusiasts, including myself, are drawn to the very entertaining line up of shark themed shows on the Discovery Channel. The 26th season of Shark Week began this month with 11 new episodes accompanied by a late night talk show, “Shark After Dark.”

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Tags: CKSF News

End the Summer with CKSF’s The Catcher in the Rye Challenge

August 06, 2013 ·

While many students see August as the Sunday of the year, CKSF sees an opportunity to end summer with The Catcher in the Rye Challenge, based on the novel by J. D. Salinger. 

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Tags: CKSF News

Playing Frisbee Part of STEM Project at Boys and Girls Clubs

August 02, 2013 ·

The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (CKSF) is always brewing up fresh ideas and fun projects, like the Living STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)  Project.

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Tags: CKSF News