Monthly Archives: February 2015

Does Free Equal Motivation?

A few weeks ago, media was all-a-buzz about President Obama’s “free community college” idea mentioned in his State of the Union address. Does it sound too good to be true? Let’s disect a little.

Doing a bit more reading on this idea, the U.S. News & World Report stated the following… According to the White House budget document, you’d have to be at least a half-time student with a B average whose family makes less than $200,000 a year. And the tuition would be free only for two years. That suggests that students would still have to fill out onerous financial aid forms. And many part-timers would still be ineligible.

Students, do you REALLY know what it takes to maintain a ‘B’ average in college? Only 36% of the first years students at the university where we work have a ‘B’ or better grade point average (GPA) at the end of their first term. Nearly 17% are on academic probation for having an average GPA of ‘C-‘ or lower! So, what is free tuition really about? It’s about academic motivation!

In addition to, or rather, excluding free money, what would motivate you to achieve, not strive for, but to actually earn, a ‘B’ or better average, in all your college coursework? Are/were you a 3.0 GPA student in high school? Do you think college is/will be easier than high school? The things other than free money, need to be your true motivators! Then, effective time management, dedication to studying, and knowing how to study, are the only things that will help you (a student) earn the 3.0+ GPA.

It’s our hope you are motivated by your own self, not just by money! No one is handing out free money once you’ve graduated! (Well, maybe your Grandma, but that’s wishful thinking too!)

Sleep! Who needs it?

The answer is: YOU! With the ‘YOU’ being college students!

As an academic advisor, one of the tips for being a productive student, I frequently give to students is: get at least eight (8) hours of sleep each night! I realize hearing these words from an adult means they are often dismissed, so here is your opportunity to learn about the importance of sleep, from a student at Western New England University, Bobby Caruso. Here is Bobby’s published work in the Huff Post’s ‘The Third Metric’ which has a terrific tag line of “Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power.”

Bobby writes: In the fall of my sophomore year, I was working 6 jobs. People would joke with me about how I did it all, and my common response would be “Who needs sleep?” or “There ain’t no rest for the wicked.” But why is that cool? Why is it, that we admire and aspire to sleep little.

I found the humor used in this article entertaining, but caution, foul language is used!

More FAFSA Tips and Links


The above image is borrowed from this informative website.

The most common deadline for the FAFSA is March 2, 2015.  There is STILL TIME.  This website here, administered by the federal government, has a more exhaustive list of items to have on hand prior to starting the FAFSA.  The same article also has a link to information specific to people using a MAC to file their FAFSA vs a PC.

Finally, read this article here to find out what happens and what to expect after submitting your FAFSA.  The article discusses how to check the status of your FAFSA, what to do if you need to make a correction to your FAFSA, and so on.  A great resource!

So, what are you waiting for?!  Go on.  Do it!  (See previous posts for FAFSA website).


The deadline for FAFSA completion is fast approaching.  Early March is a standard time by which you should get your FAFSA submitted.  However, in reality, each state has its own deadlines for grant based aid (for example, Feb 15, 2015, is the deadline for those in Connecticut who want/need “priority consideration”).  Check here for a 2 page list of specific deadlines or what to do if no deadline is listed.  Remember:  Each year you must REAPPLY/RESUBMIT the FAFSA.

Much aid is given on a “first come, first served” basis (there are nine states that follow this method:  Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington).  This means that meeting specific STATE deadlines is critical to have the chance to be early in line to get money — grants, scholarships, and loans.  Aside from those 9 states, people who fill out and submit the FAFSA by March 30 “receive, on average, twice the grant money as later filers” (according to an article by Kim Clark that you can read here).

There are some excellent tips for parents at that link as well; so, parents if you are involved with your students’ FAFSA filing, please read the article, too.

Remember:  Filing a FAFSA is the only way your college or university can understand what kinds of money (grants, scholarships, federal work study programs, loans) you are eligible to receive.  You will miss out on FREE money (as well as campus work opportunities and also loan money) if you don’t file a FAFSA.

What are you waiting for?  Go here to begin the process today!  If you filled out the FAFSA last year, you are a “returning user.”  If you have never filled one out, you want to “start a new FAFSA.”