Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paypal: Getting It Right

It seems so simple: Type in your bank routing number, account number, and type of account. But wait - they don't tell you: You can't make an error or you are locked out of Paypal for that bank with no way to go back and correct your mistake!

At least, that was the conclusion I came to after a frustrating 20 minutes of reading absolutely every page on their web site.

I have to give Paypal credit, they get straight A's in consistency. But like that old Microsoft joke about the helicopter, the information is technically correct but totally useless.

Here's the secret: You have to call them. And it's not easy to find the phone number. But Paypal's customer service line is 402-935-2050.

Visit Amaryllis to learn more and share in the fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Personal Invitation to Help Amaryllis

One theme of this blog is creation of wealth. A proven path to opening career choices is a college education. It is also the pathway to fulfilling dreams.

This article is devoted to helping one college student fulfill her dream of becoming an astrophysicist. I'd like to invite you to help by making a donation to defray the cost of her tuition.

Visit Amaryllis to learn more and share in the fun.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuition Funding Part III - "A little help from my friends"

A friend suggested using PayPal for donations.

Seems reasonable. Nice web site, but hard to get all the information in one place. For example, there is a tricky caveat about the type of account you need to actually receive the money that is donated.

Then the widget is only a beta version, and yes, there are some issues. For example, it asks for a description, but the icon doesn't seem to show it. Then it gives you option to add dollars amounts, but they aren't showing up. And finally, when you set a goal amount, it doesn't seem to display the actual amount you set. Why?

Well, I'll happily post answers as things progress and my "education" continues.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Creative Tuition Fundraising Ideas - Part II

How to pay for an astrophysics degree?

Step 1, when child turns 15, go on welfare
Step 2, when child turns 17, apply for federal financial aid
Step 3, when child turns 18, child will receive numerous state and federal grants to pay for college.

But what if you'd rather work for a living?

Well, then it gets tricky.

If you earn enough to buy your own house, you probably earn too much to qualify for state and federal grants.

If you are extremely disciplined, you start a college fund for your child as soon as they are born and contribute $7,777 each year to that account if you'd like them to have the option of attending a private college. If you are content with a government-run school, you can save considerably less.

But what if you get sick and lose your job, but get well again before the child reaches college age? Or if your job sector contracts, you lose your job, you have to retrain in another field, and succeed in bringing your income levels up, but not your savings account balances?

Then it boils down to a line from an old Beatle's song "I get by with a little help from my friends."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Supporting Science Through Tuition Fundraising

What to do with a brilliant 18-year-old astrophysicist-in-training with no funds to support her higher education?

One of my husband's favorite radio shows is Clark Howard. He's great for money saving ideas, finding out about scams, and personal money management advice. In a frequent piece of advice Clark gives, he tells us that there are a lot of ways to get money for college. While he may be right in general, I'm not finding that to be the case in this particular instance.

Imagine the scene:
Beautiful red hair, bright personality, goofy sense of humor, well liked by friends, family and teachers.
Built her own telescope when she was 10 years old (with a little help from Dad.)
Uses her telescope at community star parties to show the planets, stars, galaxies, and other cool stuff to 40-100 people per party.
Learned calculus and basic celestial mechanics (plotting the orbit of a comet) before she got her driver's license.
High school valedictorian.
Has been accepted to a prestigious private college to pursue an astrophysics degree.

Her quest: To raise enough funding to complete her bachelor's degree.

She goes out to the internet to search for scholarships. Two hours later she emerges from her room in tears with no leads and ready to give up on her dream.

You see, her family doesn't qualify for Federal Financial Aid because they work for a living.
Father is a teacher, mother is a technologist. Together, they make just enough money to support the family, too much money to qualify for "needs-based" federal financial aid, but not nearly enough money to pay the estimated $60,000 needed for tuition.

What to do? Some ideas in my next post.