Now, more than ever, college-bound students are looking for sources of ‘free money’ - a/k/a scholarships - but trying to find out which ones are viable options can be a full-time job. Now MTV, GetSchooled.com, and the College Board have joined forces to create My College Dollars, a Facebook application that connects students with targeted financial aid options.
My College Dollars is the brainchild of 24 year old Devin Valencia, a graduate of the University of Nevada, who won a $10,000 for her idea. The announcement of her award was made at the Clinton Global Initiative University and was presented to her by the former president.
Here is how it works: using the ‘vital statistics’ from a user’s Facebook profile -- things like age, gender and geographic location -- the app sorts through the literally billions of dollars in private and public scholarship and grant opportunities, connecting dollars with scholars. But beyond its scholarship matchmaking ability, the My College Dollars app plugs prospective students into tools that can help inform their decisions about paying for their college education, and coach them through filling out forms and meeting deadlines. According to the College Board website, My College Dollars, the app:
Two of the partners in this new venture need no introduction -- the College Board is an acknowledged leader in education information and also is the creator of evaluation tests like the SAT, and MTV has been a trendsetting media giant for thirty years. However, Get Schooled is a new not-for-profit that focuses on the importance of education, and its primary corporate sponsor is Viacom, which includes MTV as well as Paramount Pictures, BET , VH1, CMT and Nickelodeon. The Viacom connection gives initiatives like Get Schooled and My College Dollars the advantage of tapping into celebrity talent in the worlds of music, television and motion pictures, and sports to help sell their message. Singer and songwriter, Jason Derulo is the latest entertainer to lend his muscle to My College Dollars, appearing in the website’s introduction video.
This is not the first time the folks at MTV have reached out to their core viewer constituency with a prosocial endeavor. Rock the Vote, launched by the cable network almost twenty years ago, has been a resounding success. In 2008 the project reported over 2.5 million voters. Now, by joining forces with the College Board, they are hoping to ‘rock the campus’ by making more college-aged students aware of their financial options, starting with signing them up with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and helping them set up a calendar to set goals, make application deadlines and give them the information they need to make a smart, informed decision about their educational opportunities.