Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sallie Mae Celebrates National College Scholarship Month with Expert Online Chat on Nov. 17

(BUSINESS WIRE)--High school seniors and returning college students take note: November is National Scholarship Month and the time to get serious about researching and applying for free money for college. To help, Sallie Mae today announced a free online chat with author and scholarship expert Kelly Tanabe from 9 to 10 p.m. EST on Nov. 17 via www.Facebook.com/SallieMae. Students and their parents are invited to participate in the chat and direct their live questions to Tanabe.

The average family covers 23 percent of college costs with scholarships and grants, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” national study, conducted by Gallup. In total, 43 percent of families received scholarships last academic year to help make the investment in higher education, up slightly from the previous year’s 40 percent. On average, scholarship winners received about $7,800.

“November is the time to kick start your scholarship search,” said Kelly Tanabe, co-author of 12 books on college admission and paying for college, the latest being The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2011. “There are more than 1 million scholarships available between November and February with a total value of $6 billion, so spending a few hours now to scope out your options, write your essay, and prepare other application materials could mean the difference between a missed opportunity and money for tuition.”

Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading saving, planning and paying for college company, makes it easy for students to research scholarships with its free online scholarship database. Available at www.SallieMae.com/Scholarships and on Facebook, the searchable tool contains information about 3 million scholarship awards worth more than $16 billion. Facebook users who are fans of the Sallie Mae Scholarship Search may access the Scholarship Search Facebook application to explore scholarships, share scholarship resources with friends, see potential scholarship matches and more.

“I have used nearly all of the scholarship websites out there and yours is the best,” said Samantha Duncan from Anaheim, Calif.

To access information on scholarships included in the Sallie Mae’s free scholarship search, students or parents complete an online profile form answering questions about academics, family background, career interests, extracurricular activities, work experience, college plans and more. Within seconds of submitting the form, which is available in both English and Spanish, families receive a customized, online list of scholarships matching their characteristics, including the award amount, eligibility criteria, deadline date and the provider’s contact information. Students and parents also can use advanced features to make the application process easier, including a printable calendar listing of potential scholarships by deadline.

Sallie Mae regularly offers scholarship tips via Twitter @SallieMae and Facebook at facebook.com/SallieMae.

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