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FAFSA SCAMS
Thursday, January 31, 2008
An interesting article was brought to my attention today and I wanted to share it with everybody. The article discusses a particular case where a mother searched the internet to fill out the FAFSA form, found what she thought was the FAFSA web site, but was charge $79.99 to fill out the "free" FAFSA form.

"It's been 11 years since I graduated from college, and I just assumed they started charging a fee," said Moyes, a York mother of four.
One of the things that I emphasis on the College Cost page of SMB College Life is that there are many web sites out there who claim to be the official FAFSA web site and actually scam people into paying to fill out the complete FAFSA form. Who knows what else these web sites could be doing with your information. Please, if you are planning on filling out the FAFSA form, be very weary of where you go to fill it out. The REAL FAFSA web site can be found at fafsa.ed.gov, which is a government run agency who will collect and PROTECT your sensitive credit information. The Daily Collegian at Penn State University covered the story where Mrs. Moyes had a lot to say about web sites who are scamming hundreds of uninformed parents into paying to fill out the free FAFSA form:

"It's a scam. They charge you money for something you could do for free," Moyes said.

"I don't understand ... What is the government doing?" Moyes said. "It's the federal government that's getting screwed."

"Everything from my e-mail address to the adjusted gross income -- everything I put in [at FAFSA.com] -- was either blank or needed a correction," Moyes said.


A spokesman of PHEAA, Short for Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, made a very important statement that should be heard by all:

"They should see a red flag whenever there's a cost associated with the FAFSA," Reiber said. "There's free help available, so they don't have to pay that $80 or a couple hundred dollars to have help completing that form."

Parents and students: Please read the article about the FAFSA scam, which is located at http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2008/01/31/applicants_confused_by_fafsa_s.aspx

Also, please be informed, and make wise decisions when it comes to planning, applying and financing a college education! It's easy to fall into being scammed into paying for things that should be free, not receiving proper financial assistance for college, and paying ridiculously high interest rates on student loans. At SMB College Life we provide you with all the information that you need to successfully plan, apply, and finance your college education and we frown upon the many people out there who try to take advantage of the uninformed parents and students.

Thanks for being informed by SMB College Life!

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 10:34 AM   2 comments
Live your dreams, don't just dream them.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've been trying to get back in the swing of things for the new semester so it has been a few days since I've posted. I really wanted to take some time tonight to share this new video which I've picked to be the video of the week in the Entertainment section of SMB College Life. I personally think this video is great, the song has a great message and we can forget to just let things go sometimes. I first heard this song when I watched "Meet The Robinson's," the new Disney movie. It might not seem like the typical movie that a college kid would watch, but I guess I'm not a typical college kid.

For those who have not seen the movie I highly recommend renting, no buying because I think you will like it so much that you will want to watch it again. The first time I saw it I liked it so much that I played it a second time. I guess I really relate to the story line and feel as though it's me they are talking about sometimes.

As a kid I've always had crazy ideas and have always been interested in fixing things, making things better, or figuring out how stuff works. As I grew older I found myself always thinking and trying new things. I love inventing things, making things better and trying new business ventures. Unfortunately I've always felt as though people, or things were holding me back from a lot of the things that I wanted to create.

College was probably the best thing that happened to me because it lets me work at my true potential. College has also opened multiple doors in my life and helped me to find passions that I never knew I could have. My college education has provided me with the knowledge, resources, and desire to accomplish the things that I've always wanted to do. One of the things that college helped me to accomplish is the creation of SMB College Life. I've wanted to create and operate my own website since I was about 12 years old, and have finally be able to accomplish it thanks to my college education.

Through the creation of SMB College Life I found a real passion for helping people. The main idea, the core or foundation of SMB College Life is the fact that I want to help students plan for their college education, pay less for their education, and save money on everyday things that they may need. The drive to get this website published was that I had a very hard time planning for college and paying for college. Basically my parents wouldn't or couldn't help me with college so I was on my own. I had to go through the process entirely on my own, without guidance, cosigners, scholarships or anything. I felt abandoned, and still do, but realized that I could do something about it by trying to help other students who may be in similar situations.

So basically, through the creation of something that I've always wanted I was also able to find a way to help others, and I feel great doing it. People always ask me why I spend so much time on the website and my answer is simple; I want to make a college education easier and less expensive to achieve. I don't want to see people have to struggle through the process or pay as much for their education as I have. The website is only one of the many opportunities that my college life has made possible to me.

My college life and education has been the break that I needed in life. It has allowed me to liberate myself from the things that held me back, provided the knowledge and resources that I needed to achieve some of my dreams, and opened the doors to endless possibilities in my life. Through my college life I was able to create something great, something that helps me feel better about myself, and helps other students achieve their college education.

My point here is the same as the song, and the movie. Let things go, don't stop fighting to achieve your dreams, and create something...no matter how big or small it is. I'm always thinking of new ideas and have created a lot of things in the past few years. I have failed more times than I can count and have succeeded only a handful of times. No matter how many times you fail, you have to get back up and try again.

Start taking action and turning your ideas into creations. You may succeed, or you may fail but at least you will be able to say that you tried; that you took action and accomplished something that you believed in. Most people can't get past thinking or wishing they could create something and never take action. That will not make your life fulfilling! Taking action on your ideas and creating something will make your life richer than you could ever imagine. In some cases this could mean money rich, but I'm talking about FEELING rich inside. I can wake up most mornings and feel absolutely amazing because I've been able to take action through my college life and create something. It just so happened that my creation is one that helps hundred and hopefully thousands of students just like me. You creation could do this too but you have to take action.

Listen to the video and watch "Meet The Robinson's" and my message might become a lot clearer.

Thanks for using SMB College Life!


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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 11:03 PM   4 comments
PSU Thon 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So to follow up from yesterday's post I want to present the Target Ten Challenge being held by Nittany Nation. What they are trying to do is get 10,000 student to show up for the basketball game, where Penn State will face Ohio State on January 29th. I just found out about this tonight through a Facebook invitation. If you are a member of Facebook you can also check out the group that has been started to get students involved. Check out this link: TARGET TEN CHALLENGE. This is the perfect opportunity to grab a couple of friends to do something new by going to see a basketball game.

The tickets are only $5 dollars and if we get 10,000 students to attend then ALL of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to Thon! That's $50,000 towards helping children with cancer. Guys, honestly, this isn't much to ask at all. The basketball games normally last two hours; I hope this isn't too much time to ask for helping a good cause.

Ok, so maybe you don't have the time to go but if you still by a student ticket it counts! Spending $5.00 for a ticket, which gets donated towards a good cause will probably be the best $5.00 you've ever spent. If you think about it, you could pay one less cover charge at a bar in State College, which goes to the rich bar owner anyway, and that money could be used for the student ticket. It's a great cause and a great opportunity for us, as students, to come together and support something other than ourselves this semester.

You don't even have to be a student to by a ticket that will count towards the Target Ten Challenge. I checked it out earlier today, and you can actually purchase a student ticket through Ticketmaster without a student ID. It's the same price, and it counts towards the 10,000 tickets they are trying to sell. This is the exact page that I used earlier to test this:
Student Tickets to Benefit Thon

I hope you decide to come out, and I hope you decide to bring all of your friends. I know I'll be there, or if I can't make it, I've at least put out the $5.00 that will help children with cancer. Honestly, what better way can you think of to spend $5.00?

Thanks for your support and thanks for using SMB College Life!

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 11:53 PM   0 comments
PSU Thon 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008



Not only do we provide a lot of useful information for college students at SMB College Life we also would like to encourage students to get involved in some sort of cause, by volunteering, donating, or making some sort of contribution. There are many organizations that you can get involved with on a collegiate level to help in the greater good of others. To find an organization all you have to do is look around. Almost all colleges and universities have some sort of campus groups or organizations to support different causes. The easiest way to find a cause to support is to look close to home.

From personal experience I was able to find an organization in which I support called Thon. For those who don't know Thon is an organization which helps collect money for children with cancer. The money they collect through various fund raisers and activities goes to helping children with cancer and research and development of a cure for cancer.

In the past year I've been a lot more interested in Thon due to a family member being diagnosed. I'm pretty sure that a lot of universities have Thon and it is a great organization to support so please ask around your university or check out Thon.org for more information. The Pennsylvania State University will be holding their annual "Dance Marathon" where students, faculty, staff, athletes, and community members gather to show their support in a 48 hour event. Last year Penn State Thon raised over $5,000,000 to donate towards helping children with cancer. The event will be held between February 22-24 so if you are around or near State College Pennsylvania please stop by!


This video shows a student a Berkley who is helping to support Breast Cancer. Her cause was found after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then she has been doing her part to get involved and show her support for the fight against breast cancer.

It's too often that we say we will get involved in something great, or help some great cause, but fall short of acting. We have hopes of one day donating to support a cause but never do. We only have one question:
Why Not Today?

We want to know what is stopping you, or holding you back from getting involved in the fight for a better cause. Maybe you think that you don't have the money, but even donating one dollar will help to find a cure for cancer, or help support any other cause you may have. Don't wait until your family is affected before you decide to get involved. They need you now! Please pass this message onto someone else as a minimal effort to get involved.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for using SMB College Life!




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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 2:52 PM   0 comments
Back To School
Monday, January 14, 2008
A new semester has finally arrived and now is the time to prepare, organize and stock up on school supplies. It's also time for high school seniors to begin filling out the proper paperwork to make the transition from high school to college. Whether you are in college, a high school senior, or a parent of a student you should always be concerned with financing college and saving money on everyday items that you may need. Fortunately, we not only provide great information about the details of preparing for college, we also provide savings through integrated partnerships to help everyone save money.

If it's school or office supplies that you need you should check out our savings page for different products, sales and coupons offered through
various merchants. Visit http://smbcollegelife.com/OfficeSupplies.html for a list of merchants who offer savings on things like ink cartridges, printer paper, notebooks, backpacks and much more through SMB College Life. Below is short list of a few merchants that have current coupons or sale running:
For the full list of merchants please visit the Office Supplies page.

Textbook are another large sem
ester expense...or is it? If you search various resources properly then you will be able to potentially save hundreds on textbooks this semester, and perhaps make a few hundreds on old textbooks. To get the best prices on old textbooks and save hundreds on new textbooks check out SMB's Textbook page which is dedicated to helping students find and sell textbooks. Some people are more comfortable using one source for textbook sales and purchasing, but we have found through experience that it is best practice to expand your horizons to using multiple sources. This yields higher returns on selling textbooks, and higher savings on buying textbooks, but, as our mission statement states; "It's your choice to decide the best products and services."

For parents and high school seniors:
You're probably looking for any information you can find on college planning; particularly college costs, scholarships, college applications and more. You don't need to worry about this anymore as wee cover a lot of the inf
ormation that you will need to make the successful transition from high school to college. Click over to our College Planning section for more information, downloads, and links that will aid your college preparation this year.

As always, if there is anything that you need; any information that we do not provide on the site, more links or more details on certain topics, or guided direction please email contact@smbcollegelife.com and our team will try to answer your questions as quickly as poss
ible.


One last thing. Please be sure to check out our college cost calculator which was newly integrated into the site. It is part of our College Cost page, where you will find valuable information and answers to common misconceptions about the costs involved in going to college.

Thanks for using SMB College Life for all your college needs!

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 12:11 PM   0 comments
Winter Break
Sunday, January 6, 2008
One of the most enjoyable things of college life can be taking a break after a long semester. I have to say that as much as I love studying engineering it tends to wear me down and there's nothing I need more than taking a break sometimes. I decided to get away from the cold weather to spend my break relaxing by the beach. The past two weeks I've spent my winter break sleeping late, playing guitar, starring blankly into the horizon, and, of course, collecting information for SMB College Life. I've been taking this well deserved time off from my college studies to catch up on the things that I miss out on throughout the semester.

I don't have much time throughout the semester to do anything other than homework and studying so I've been spending my winter break doing the things I normally don't have time for. I've realized something today while blankly starring at the horizon today and wanted to share my thoughts. Today it hit me that I'm always "on the go" so to speak throughout my college life and am forced to think ALL the time. Not many people outside of engineering really understand how much time and effort we have to put into or education. As an engineering student I'm always working on something; whether it be homework, projects, or studying for exams. I rarely find the time to stop and let my brain relax; with the exception of my occasional 5 minute bus ride across campus. Even then I spend that 5 minutes planning for the rest of my day, or week, and trying to fit everything in.

I normally give up things like playing guitar, drawing, reading about business.....basically all my hobbies when the semester rolls around because I just don't have the time to fit them in. That leaves little to cut out of my schedule when the work begins to pile on. Eating is the first thing to get cut from my college life in order to make more time for my workload. The next thing to go, unfortunately, is sleep. This past fall semester I found myself spending at least one night a week without sleep due to the various projects, homework and studying that I needed to do for all my classes. Some Friday's I found myself so worn out that I'd end up crashing after my last class and sleeping through Saturday morning. So how did I make it through the semester? Caffeine....A LOT of Caffeine!

I think I've made Starbucks rich this past semester with my multiple daily trips to get coffee to keep my brain functioning. At this point I'm thinking they should sponsor me to walk around campus in my normal sleepless haze, carrying their branded cups. They should honestly consider making me an offer before I switch to the new Dunkin' Donuts that just opened up down the street from them. They have a lot better coffee anyway!

The whole point of me ranting on about last semester is that I cherish this break from my college life. We should all take this time to not only recoop from our very hectic college lives, we should also catch up on the things that we miss out on thorough the semester. You know my grandfather laughed at me the other day saying that I've been sleeping half of my days away, and THAT IS EXACTLY what I intended to do after the many sleepless nights throughout the semester.

I also used a lot of this break to let my mind rest. Like I said before I never stop thinking, solving or planning throughout the semester; I never have time to let my brain rest. Because of that I've been using this time to rest my brain by doing a lot of nothing. Granted, I have spent a few days in the bookstore reading a ton of information and gathering even more resources to provide to you through SMB College Life, but to me, that's relaxing. It's also very rewarding as I feel that the information I provide will help parents and student to not only plan and prepare for college, but also to save money on various products you may need through SMB College Life partnerships. If I can help one person then my efforts have been a success, and I am very satisfied.

I hope that everyone is enjoying, or has enjoyed their winter break and I encourage all who are still on break to make sure you spend it the way you want. Do the things that make you happy, the things that define you, and the things that you may have to give up in only a few more days to survive another college semester.

Thanks for using SMB College Life!

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 10:06 PM   0 comments
SMB College Life Updates
Thursday, January 3, 2008



We've been working very hard to bring you as much information to our website as possible, in an attempt to satisfy everyone. One of the most recent additions to the site has been our featured music video which will appear on the Entertainment page each week courtesy of AOL Music. This video will be updated weekly and previous videos will be store in an archive which will become our new music video section.

Development has also taken place in our Shopping section as we continue to find new place and things to save you money on. The most sub-sections of our Shopping section is our Office Supplies section where you can find a lot of great coupons, discounts, and saving on school or office supplies this semester.

Recent development has also taken place in our Guys shopping section, where we've been working on clothing savings, sports savings, entertainment savings, and more. Be sure to check out these sections as we will be updating them later today. I previously discussed updating the Guys section as a whole once development was entirely complete but I now believe that this information and savings we have is very important to you guys out there so we will also be uploading our progress later today.

I want to thank you all again for your great support throughout the past few months as development of SMB College Life may not have been as prompt as it could have due to our college course work, final exams, etc. Unlike some developers of great websites we intend to stay in school throughout the development of SMB College Life because we believe education comes first. This decision may slow development at times but we assure you that this will not affect the quality of our site.

We know that our website has become important to many users now as our web rankings have climbed from over 9 million to just above 1 million in the past month alone according to Alexa. We believe this is due to the rapid development that has taken place in the past month and we plan to continue this development while we enjoy winter break. We want our site to be as helpful as possible as we hope to impact a lot more college lives in the spring semester. We also know that high school seniors will be graduating soon so we want to provide as much information as we can to make their college transition as smooth as possible.

Thanks for all your help and continued support of us delivering important information and great savings to college students and thanks for using SMB College Life.

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 10:56 AM   0 comments
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