Posted On: 2005-10-25
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Good morning it is Tuesday October 25, 2005 welcome to the Financial Aid podcast episode 99 with your still under the weather but getting host Chris Penn that's me and I apologize in advance for any of the sound effects that are unintentional such as coughs, sneezes and all sorts of really odd noises. It's just been an awful weekend just hideous, the cold that I got it got a hold of me and wouldn't let go no matter what it is just awful, I don't even have words well I do have words to describe it and unfortunately they don't have a place on a show rated for PG 13 or lower so needless to say I was not thrilled and I am still not thrilled, I'm still not fully better. You can definitely here that I am fully congested and things so hopefully we can get through today's podcast without too many interruptions before we get to the financial aid news I wanted to talk about the celebration for episode 100. Which will be tomorrow and hopefully maybe I will take an extra dose of decongestants or something just so that my 100th episode doesn't like I'm chronically ill with something. To celebrate the 100th episode of the Financial Aid Podcast we are going to be giving away an Ipod specifically and Ipod Nano, the 4 GB not the 2 GB plus the dock based Lanier Headphones, this is a $300 value or we will pay your student loan bill for one month up to $300, either prize is available, not both obviously, but either one is available. To enter to be the winner of the Ipod / Student loan contest there are two ways to enter, the first is to apply for any our loan products on the Student Loan Network, the Stafford loan through www.staffordloan.com parent PLUS loan through www.parentplusloan.com , ACT Education loans through www.acteducationloans.com or a Federal Student loan consolidation through www.studentloanconsolidator.com and if you apply for any of those four services you will automatically be entered to win. The other way of course is because it's a no purchase necessary contest, you can go to www.financialaidpodcast.com and look for the contest link probably on the middle of the page and you will find it there and you can just fill out the form to enter as well. We will give no preference obviously to one or the other, so if you would like to have a chance at winning a $300 prize either in student loan payment or in an Ipod Nano plus the fancy Lanier Headphones, please do so.
Let's get to the news, we've got a lot to talk about today because I haven't done a podcast since Friday, so let's get started. Topping the news today what would you do with $3 billion? If you had $3 billion what would you spend it on? Well according to the Federal Government I guess their ideas is to spend it on cable boxes for your television. If you have no idea what I am talking about that's okay, there is legislation pending n Congress right now as part of the conversion of our nation's media infrastructure from analog to digital cable television. Congress is allocating $3 billion to help people purchase a new set top box, so that when the conversion from analog to digital goes over, millions of American's do not wake up one morning with no television signal and what so ever. So $3 billion allocated in the Federal budget to subsidize the purchase of and distribution of digital cable set top boxes. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that we could use $3 billion a lot more useful things than helping people buy cable t.v. boxes. In fact I think that nothing could do more for the education for the country, nothing would do more for the general well being for the country than if millions of people did wake up with no television what so ever and stay that way for indeterminate period of time. The $3 billion incidentally if you want to put it in terms of education and scholarships would pay for 75,000 to attend Harvard University or any other Ivy League school completely for free for a year, that would pay for 75,000 full one year scholarships to $40,000 plus school, obviously if you were talking about state schools and stuff like that then you are talking about either $75,000 for four years tuition or you are sending 300,000 students to college for one year for a complete free ride. Congress would rather have those students and millions of other Americans pay their tax dollars towards cable television instead. If you think this is a stupid idea, and I kind of think that it is, please let your elected representatives know that they could probably put that $3 billion to much better use and maybe for scholarships, grants, higher education or hurricane disaster relief, rebuilding people's live but certainly cable television probably very low on the priority list.
In other news your tax dollars still not at work the President's Tax Reform Commission voted for two options a simplified income tax and a consumption tax that each does away with a range of Hope tax credits, life long learning credits and other higher education tax breaks along with Coverdell and 529 College Savings plans they named after their section of the Tax Code. So for everyone who has set up a 529 College Savings Plan if they President's Tax Reform Commission has it's way, those accounts will be no longer valid, instead the panel is likely to recommend with replacing them the all purpose Save for Family accounts that will let individuals save up to $10,000 a year in after tax dollars for tax free withdrawal for tuition and other approved uses. The rationale behind that is many tax payers who are not advised by professional tax preparers don't take advantage of the existing education tax credits that are out there. The other motivation of course is if they eliminate these sections that IRS tax code they can retrieve up $56 billion a year in education tax breaks and reallocate that money towards, you got it, other national priorities. Congress will not act on the panel suggestions until the Bush Administration decides which if any ideas to propose in the President's Budget early next year. This will not take affect until 2007 which will begin July 2006 when the Government's fiscal year begins. Definitely keep your eyes open for this stuff, education tax breaks, education tax credits, if the President is gunning for them for additional savings to balance the budget, you are going to want to know about it, stay tuned to the Financial Aid Podcast, well keep you on top of this as well and like I said folks you know when it comes to politics and getting involved in the Political process there is only one real choice if you like having any of the benefits that the government provides you and that is to get involved in the process and be vocal about the issues that are most important to you. I mean come on $3 billion for t.v. boxes and they can't find enough money for education, clearly the cable industry has better lobbyists than the Higher Education industry does so-what did we decide there is 17.1 million in the United States, if every single college students donated $5 bucks that's all just $5 bucks to a political action group affectively that would be $85 million, you can buy an army of lobbyists for that. You could buy everything, anyone in Washington for that or even for just a portion of that sum and that's how you will enact the change and the influence that you need in order to make sure Congress and the really the entire Government stop hosing Higher Education in all of its different aspects. There is no other way, voting is good obviously voting is good being involved but things like debates and college democrats and college republicans those don't influence Washington D.C. much at all the only language that is spoken in the capitol is the language of money. If the Higher Education industry as a whole does not have lobbyists effective lobbyists working on their behalf with a lot of money backing them other national priorities are going to take affect over higher education. So I encourage you for anybody out there who wants to really take up the fight and take a to Washington, the way to do it is to get a lot of people together and get a lot of money together and really just start supporting those people in the Government who are going to be willing to step up behind Financial Aid and Higher Education and start really campaigning against those people who don't. It's pretty obvious who in the Government does and does not support Higher Education Financial Aid. Enough doom and gloom for the news, let's go ahead and do some Podsafe music.
New Podsafe music from Melissa Cox that was "Goddess," via the Podsafe Music Network. Incidentally the legislation I was talking about is-introduced by Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska, and it is to subsidize the purchase of cable television converter boxes, $50 boxes will be subsidized so that U.S. representative only have to-U.S. citizens only have to pay $10 per box or we could just not pay any money for it at all what so ever and put that money towards education instead. Let's talk now about some scholarship updates. Today's scholarship update is yet another update to our Scholarship Search Secrets E-book, if you haven't already subscribed to the podcast do so because the 10 page PDF is a starting point for searching for scholarships for free online. I do these updates on a fairly regular basis actually to it, kind of like supplements, new key phrases you can use in your search for scholarships and today is no exception. Today is one I really hadn't thought about until I was searching for scholarships myself just to see what was out there. I found a great new keyword, so today's scholarship update is scholarship catalog and what this delivers-it's really interesting it delivers a list of scholarships available at individual institutions this is really something. Let's do scholarship catalog Boston. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants at Boston College, book builders of Boston. Basically what this delivers is a list of websites that have a catalog or inventory or directory of scholarships for the keywords that you are searching for. So, instead of just finding one scholarship you will find a page full of them and this is really a terrific way of locating a ton of scholarships in a very short amount of time. The one I am looking at here for BC is a scholarship at the Graduate School of Social Work and it's got probably about 35 scholarships on it in addition to that it's got some links here for other types of scholarships as well at other sites. It's a terrific way of find a whole bunch; type it in either by itself or with additional keywords so for example if you were looking for just scholarship stuff at Harvard you would type in scholarship catalog Harvard. If you were looking for let's say an MBA, scholarship catalog MBA, and suddenly you have here catalogs of scholarships at different schools and things like that. Terrific way to locate a lot of them once the Scholarship Search Secret update is scholarship catalog and that is our scholarship update for today. All right one more piece of Podsafe music.
That was Alabaster Queen with "Retail," via the Podsafe Music Network of course new Podsafe music. All right we have one last piece of information to deal with today and that is from our mailbag, Nat from Mongolia writes in to ask the difference between scholarships and grants? This is a very good question I actually had to give it a lot of thought and to research on it myself because I didn't know the difference. There is very little difference between the two, predominantly scholarships are based on criteria for an award usually it's academic performance although not always as we have talked about in the past things like the David Letterman Scholarship for poor academic performance. It's usually given as a form of merit based aid, where as grants sometimes are more focused on need based aids. You might get a grant that would have some academic requirements or some merit based requirements but the predominant criteria for the grant would be the financial need where as for the scholarship the need is not necessarily the first criteria in some cases it is, and in some cases the financial aspect takes precedence but not always where as with grants the financial aspect usually takes precedence so it's a very good questions between the two, I tend to use them interchangeably scholarships and grants and that's why we say in the Scholarship Search Secrets book that when you are doing your keyword searches, you should be using the two terms interchangeably because you'll find more stuff that way. For example, if you took today's search term scholarship catalog and used grant catalog you would find almost an equal number of awards base on that. It's a very good question from that and he also asked how to guide him to find scholarships obviously the easiest way to do that is to download the e-book it's in the RSS feed, if you don't know how to get to that; very simple go to our website www.financialaidpodcast.com and on there are directions, three easy steps to subscribe to the feed. That is the mail bag for today and let's see, let's do one more piece of Podsafe music and then I think we are going to call it a show before I break out into a coughing fit.
That was "Cannon Ball," by Musayo from the Podsafe Music Network. All right folks that is going to do it for today's show, I am really close to breaking out into a coughing fit. Until next time tomorrow is going to be our 100th episode so we have to figure out what to do special for the show it's self; like I said stop by and apply to any of our Student Loan Network sites for automatic entry into our Ipod Nano competition or stop by www.financialaidpodcast.com to enter for free, you can enter and you can actually refer as many people as you want. Every time someone puts your e-mail address in as a referral you get extra vote and extra entry into the competition so you could recruit 100,000 people and your chances of winning would be that much greater. Show notes at www.financialaidpodcast.com as well and if you have any questions or comments e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are not subscribed get subscribed, it's easy, directions are on the website, get your friends subscribed as well. The competition deadline is actually going to be December 1, we are not going to do it on the 100th show because it's such short notice but it's a celebration of the 100th show. You have about a month and a week or so of lee time to get as many people referred as possible to improve your chances of winning the Ipod Nano be here just in time for Christmas which will be very exciting, if you don't celebrate Christmas, well that's okay because it's the larger secular holiday anyways these days, full of gift giving. Otherwise, so stay tuned, stay subscribed, and I am going to try and get some rest now, actually no I can't I am at the office, I'll have some coffee, more coffee and maybe I will have a scoop of vanilla in my coffee. Anyway folks take care we'll see you next time for the 100th show bye-bye.