PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CollegeNET.com, the social network through which people create topics, write or video-cam about them, and then vote to determine who will win scholarship money, today announced that it has expanded its scholarship competition to include anyone who needs to repay their existing student loan debt -- regardless of whether they are currently enrolled or have already graduated from qualifying undergraduate or graduate programs. Effective immediately, CollegeNET.com members will be able to enter the weekly scholarship contest for a rolling award of up to $10,000 each week to fund their current tuition or repay a portion of their student loans.
CollegeNET.com is the first scholarship opportunity to extend the scholarship concept to help repay college-graduate student loan debt. Given rising tuitions, state budget cuts and the lackluster economy, student debt levels are at an all-time high. In 2010, college seniors owed an average of $24,000, a six percent increase over the previous year. CollegeNET.com, which has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships since 2007, is expanding its weekly scholarship offering to allow both current college students and graduates carrying student loan debt to compete. Unlike traditional scholarships, which require numerous essays and paperwork, CollegeNET.com awards are based on participation and a peer voting system, which encourages participants to think about and frame interesting topics and become involved in interactive discussions and advocacy.
“It’s easy to participate in the forums on CollegeNET.com, and they’re always interesting and informative. In addition to making my voice heard, I’m building relationships that help me to afford school,” said Loren Alexander, an incoming sophomore at Pace University. “CollegeNET’s announcement means that I can participate in the site beyond my tenure at Pace. I have not heard of another scholarship website that is willing to help pay off student loans, and I appreciate CollegeNET.com’s commitment to my education.”
In addition to breaking new ground in student loan debt relief, CollegeNET.com has deployed an innovative video component on the website which enables participants to easily record and post videos of them discussing topics. The video functionality, embedded directly on the platform, personalizes the experience of interacting with other students. As part of today’s site re-launch, CollegeNET.com has also created a “Hall of Fame,” which tracks the most prolific site participants, as well as those who have won multiple scholarships. Further extending the opportunity to win, the site now provides a $1,000 "Top-Ten" scholarship to any participant who does not win a first-place weekly scholarship, but whose forum topics are among the most popular during ten or more weekly contest periods.
“Who says a scholarship has to be for current students only? And who says graybeards sitting around a conference table have to make the decisions? The world has changed; we now have smart graduates out there trying to make a contribution to society who are buried in a student loan debt hole,” said CollegeNET.com CEO Jim Wolfston. “Here’s a chance for them to think up interesting topics, make new friends and debate their way out.”
To participate in CollegeNET.com forums and qualify for the weekly scholarship, students can sign up for a free account at http://www.collegenet.com/elect/app/app.
“Like” CollegeNET.com on Facebook.
About CollegeNET, Inc.
CollegeNET, Inc. builds web-based, on-demand technologies that help institutions improve operational efficiency, enhance communication with constituents and save money. The company’s systems are used by more than 1,300 organizations worldwide for event and academic scheduling, prospect and admissions management, web-based tuition processing and alumni development. CollegeNET’s www.collegenet.com is a social network through which students create topics, write or video-cam about them, and vote to determine who will win scholarships. This site has become one of the Internet’s most popular destinations for college-bound students. The company is headquartered in Portland, Ore.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6830700&lang=en