Fall is the start of a new chapter for many families, especially those with children at that critical age where college, SATs, and future careers are right around the corner. If your student is entering their junior or senior year of high school, then NOW is the time to be looking at colleges, asking financial aid questions on your college visits, and searching for scholarships! Many of our clients and employees have children at that age and are looking for money saving tactics to help pay for college.
There is $185 billion in financial aid available and 73% of this comes from the U.S. government. There are multiple sources available. Listed below are a few options to consider:
- Grants and Scholarship – money that you do NOT have to pay back
- Loans – money you will need to pay back usually after you graduate
- Work study – paid part-time work that is usually available on campus
Apply for financial aid early (when you submit your college application) before all the funds allocated for financial aid are allocated. Many private or outside scholarships (not provided by the college you are applying to) are available for many different ethnic backgrounds, majors, or employers. Some examples are:
- Local – scholarships that are sponsored by local women’s clubs, Rotary or Lions Clubs, or churches. Check with your high school guidance counselor frequently for any you may qualify for.
- State – scholarships available to state residents who are attending in-state schools.
- National – scholarships open to students across the country. You can do a search for these atwww.collegeboard.org or www.fastweb.com
Scholarships offered by individual colleges and grant monies are awarded based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid which you need to complete as soon after January 1 as possible. Getting this application in early greatly increases your chances of a larger award.
With tuition costs on the rise, it is imperative to start the college search early and to evaluate the resources available to help save your family money. This fall is the perfect time to get a head start and help your student prepare for their future.
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