dorm, meeting new friends, and adjusting to a new city. But during her sophomore year, a Howard recruiter mentioned Johnson’s large amount of scholarship winnings to a reporter from the campus newspaper. The reporter eventually pitched it as a story.
“For a long time, I didn’t want people to know how much [money] I got, because I’m humble,” Johnson says. But the additional press helped expand her business. “After that, Howard students were like, ‘Can you help me?’ And my business started growing.”
Her business grew so much that she decided to take to the road. For the last two years, Johnson has been giving weekend workshops in cities from Boston to Los Angeles. She charges $300 per workshop for groups of 30 or less, sharing scholarship lists, teaching students how to write essays, and providing tips on saving and money management. Johnson also offers private consultations. Three months of service costs $150.
Today, Johnson is in the process of writing a scholarship book targeting minorities, thanks to a $2,000 grant from Howard. She says her personal experience as a scholarship winner and the book’s motivational tone will separate it from others like it. She hopes the book will be finished by May 2004, when she graduates.
FUNDING GRADUATE SCHOOL AND BEYOND
According to the College Board, the average full-time student received $7,827 in financial aid during the 2001–2002 school year. But remember, receiving financial aid isn’t the same as receiving a scholarship. Jordan E. Goodman, author of Everyone’s Money Book on College (Dearborn Trade Publishing; $15.95; www.moneyanswers.com), says there’s more than $75 billion in scholarship aid available, and he encourages students to begin searching for scholarships online and in books two to three years before applying to college. While universities and colleges also award scholarships, he says they are more likely to award loans to students who qualify for financial aid. “Students say they’re happy that they qualified for financial aid,” he says. “But, financial aid means loans hanging over your head for a good portion of your life.”
Fortunately, that won’t be the case for Andrea Tieler Giles. The 22-year-old knew she wanted to continue her education after earning her bachelor’s degree but wondered where she should begin looking for money. A major resource was right on campus in the form of Florida A&M University’s Graduate Feeder Scholar Program, a partnership with 47 universities that reserve at least three admission/financial aid packages for qualified students. The 16-year-old program allows students to pursue advanced degrees in graduate programs that are not available at FAMU.
Giles eventually decided to attend the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The university’s Graduate School awarded her a monthly $1,000 stipend to work as a research assistant. She also received a full tuition waiver, allowing the South Carolina native to attend the university for free.
“I knew there was a way to get funding, but I had no idea that I’d get to go all expenses paid,” Giles says. She points out that, “Funding for grad school