MTV prompts ads to promote finding financial aid ideas

September 16, 2010

Is this a marketing ploy or does the College Board and MTV really want to help find a solution?

Here is an article by JACQUES STEINBERG a writer for the New York Times.

MTV — Yes, MTV — Wants Your Financial Aid Ideas

As the stern proctor of the hardly hip SAT exam, the College Board would seem an odd recipient of prominent attention on MTV. It is difficult to imagine a scantily clad, lip-synching Katy Perry – to say nothing of Snooki or the Situation – rolling on a beach with a No. 2 pencil and a bubble sheet.

And yet, the music channel and the College Board are scheduled to announce this morning that they are joining together to stage a contest, the “Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge.’’ In it, “current and aspiring college students’’ are being asked to create “an innovative digital tool that helps more low- and middle-income students connect with money for school.’’

The winning individual or team will get $10,000, as well as a $100,000 budget to bring the idea to fruition. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to underwrite the project.

The announcement was made by John Legend, the Grammy-winning rhythm-and-blues singer, in a classroom at Howard University. His visit was recorded for the series “Stand In,’’ where celebrities play professor for a day; the series is shown on mtvU, the network’s channel for college and university students.

Mr. Legend’s educational background is a story in itself: mostly home-schooled through the sixth grade, he went on to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.

In a statement, the partners said that the contest was intended to raise college completion rates “by making it easier for students to navigate what can be a confusing financial aid maze.’’

“Difficulty paying for college,’’ the statement added, “is a key reason many college students fail to graduate.’’

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