Have you been applying to scholarships for a while now, but don’t seem to be having any luck? We’re betting that there are plenty of students who can commiserate with you. We know it can get downright frustrating to send out 5, 10 or even 20 applications without any results. Of course, there are always a few students who seem to have money falling out of the sky (insert evil glare here). So, what gives? Do they have an inside connection or have they paid off the scholarship committee? It’s doubtful. In fact, those students probably have many of the same qualities you possess. They do, however, have one thing you don’t…the secret to winning scholarships. So, do you want to know how they win all that free money? Read on!
Here’s a news flash…college is expensive. No big surprise, right? But what is surprising is how few families with children under the age of 18 are currently saving money for college. Approximately half are setting aside money in a dedicated account for their children, but most are saving less than $16,000 overall. Even at today’s tuition rates, that’s not going to cover very much. Now, here’s the really scary part. Families with newborns can expect to pay more than $442,000 for a 4-year undergraduate degree when their children graduate from high school, if tuition continues to increase at a rate of 7% per year. That means, families would need to set aside approximately $875 every month in a college savings plan to help their children graduate with as little debt as possible. For many families that may not be feasible, but any amount saved would be better than nothing at all. Of course, the earlier families start planning and saving for college the better. That’s why this week’s post will be dedicated to reviewing some of the available college saving options for parents, as well as some other less conventional methods families can use to set aside money to help their children pay for college.
Occasionally, I get questions from parents and students regarding financial aid, especially when it comes to filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most are worried that they make too much money to qualify for any grants or scholarships, and want to know if they should even bother completing the form. And, in case you’re wondering…yes, everyone, regardless of income, should complete the FAFSA. Others, however, seem to be a bit confused as to what income should even be included on the form. So, I thought it might be a good time to tackle a comment from one of our recent posts. Laura writes:
“When my son graduates, he will be 18 and we will no longer financially support him. What we would like to know is if he would qualify for a Pell Grant?”
Next to purchasing a home, college will probably be one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make. It can be scary thinking about spending $10,000, $20,000 or even more money each year you are in school (yikes!). That’s why it’s so important to understand how the financial decisions you make now can affect your future. Sure, you could plunge blindly into the college waters and hope that you stay afloat, but why should you when there are so many free online tools available to help? Before you make any decisions regarding your future, check out these five tools that can help you make smart college money decisions and put you on the path to a healthy financial future.
Do you know when you should start looking for scholarships to help pay for your college education? If you’re like many people, you may think that you have to wait until your senior year of high school to start winning free money for college. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s a myth that could cost you thousands of dollars in financial aid. Every year, we hear stories about students who waited too long to start their scholarship search. You probably know a few of them. They’re the ones frantically applying to every scholarship under the sun between March and May, hoping that they will win enough money to cover the gap between their financial aid offers and the cost of their dream college. Most will be faced with the tough decision of choosing an alternate school or taking on more student loan debt than they anticipated. Neither is a decision you should have to face.