… I hope I can just be a fraction as eloquent in writing a blog post to him as Michael O’Connor Clarke is in this birthday message to young Ruairi.

This post tugged at my heart strings, here to be sure, and I’ll be giving Amani an extra big kiss when I get home tonight.

Michael is a PR pro at Thornley Fallis Communications by day, and that’s how I came to find his blog in the first place. But he also a wonderful way of mixing in so much of everything else that life has to offer in his writing, and that’s what keeps me coming back.

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How about this … a clever holiday-style self-mocking promo from Fox for the upcoming season of “24“?

(RSS readers may need to click here to see the video).

Keyboard tip to Matthew Gilbert.

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I served as guest host for the Financial Aid Podcast today. Regular FAP host Christopher Penn will return the favor for me when he takes over New Comm Road next week.

Take a listen:

icon for podpress  Bryan Person guest hosts the Financial Aid Podcast: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

FAP431: Bryan Person guest hosts, and study abroad, info
Jill Parr

Student Financial Aid News

+ Bryan Person from New Comm Road hosts today’s episode!

+ Is financial aid in jeopardy for students at for-profit colleges in the State of California? That is what state officials are asking the U.S. Education Department, help following the decision by California Republican California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto a bill that would have extended the life of the Bureau of Private and Postsecondary Vocational Education. Should that bureau close down on July 1, as it is now scheduled to do, for-profit colleges in California may lose their “legally authorized” status, which allows them to adminster federal student aid. Stay tuned on this one.

+ Financial aid help may be on the way for members of the military in Minnesota. State attorney general-elect Lori Swanson has proposed a $15 million-a-year assistance bill for veterans and their family members. Nearly 8,000 soldiers from Minnesota have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last four years, including 3,000 currently. Under Swanson’s proposal, veterans who spent at least 90 days or combat or two years on active duty would qualify for aid. Veterans’ spouses would also be eligible, as would children of soldiers injured or killed in the line of duty.

+ Higher-education news out of Iraq … the prime minister there Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is ordering students and professors back to class … for the good of the country. Many students and professors have been avoiding the university … for their own safety. According to the Charlotte Observer … Iraq’s universities have routinely been a target for violence by insurgents since the war began there nearly four years ago. Gangs take over school buildings, issue death threats, and generally bring out plenty of fear and chaos at universities. Many obeying the prime minister’s orders to go back to school or risk expulsion have resorted to traveling to school … in disguise.

Focus on Financial Aid

+ Talking about studying abroad today — why it’s important and how you can finance it with financial aid. Questions to consider:

+ Are you interested in a study abroad program at your own school? How do the costs of a semester abroad compare to costs of staying on campus?

+ Are you selecting a program at another school that’s part of a network or consortium with your home school?

+ Is your program of interest being held outside of the normal semester schedule (summer session, winter session)? If so, using your financial aid for these programs may impact the amount of financial aid you have available in the rest of the academic year.

+ Are you studying directly at the international school? If so, you’ll need to find out whether that school is has received its Title IV certification from the U.S. government.

+ What are the work regulations in the country you intend to study? Are there any restrictions/prohibitions on working as an overseas student?

+ Does your school offer scholarships specifically for overseas study? If so, are they awarded based on need or merit?

Other steps:

+ Talk to your school’s financial aid office.

+ Talk to your school’s study abroad office.

+ Do a search for study abroad programs at:

Scholarship update

+ The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarshi was established back in 2000 and provides overseas study scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students at a 2- or 4-year colleges who are currently receiving the Pell Grant.

+ The program is funded by congress and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). This academic year 777 scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded, with the average award worth $4,000.

+ The overseas program must last at least four weeks and can last for a maximum of one academic year. There are two application cycles. The first is for programs starting between December 15 and April 15, which has just passed. But the next one is coming up soon and covers programs starting between July 15 and October 15. The deadline for the Fall 2007 cycle is April 3, 2007, and the application will be available online in February.

+ More details available at StudentScholarshipSearch.com

Podsafe Music

+ Jill Parr, Oh Come All Ye Faithful

+ Music via the Podsafe Music Network

Direct MP3 file download: FAP 431

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