Going to college is only a dream if you have a plan to pay for it, and you continue to work your plan. Far too many families think money for college will magically appear, but it doesn’t. Students who go to college on a full-ride did a great deal to earn their award. The most important thing they did was to apply for scholarships and/or grants over and over, until they had enough free money to pay for everything.
Paying for college entails having enough money for more than just tuition. There are books, fees, room and board to consider as well. Students whose families are extremely well off, and have put away enough money for retirement, may be able to help. Most families probably won’t be much financial help, however. Of course, if you live at home, room and board won’t be an issue, but transportation might be. I lived at home when I went to college. My family bought me a very inexpensive car, and I drove to campus and work daily. Tuition then was minimal and books were inexpensive. My job paid enough to cover it all.
A simple financial plan to pay for college might include looking for scholarships and grants while children are still in elementary school. At this time, parents are doing the searching and applying. As children mature, they should take over. In high school, they should be applying for scholarships at least three times each week, and more over holidays and vacations. A major mistake many students make is they stop applying for scholarships once they’ve been accepted to college.
Acceptance is an important step, but most of the time it has nothing to do with paying for college. If a college provides financial help through grants, scholarships or a work-study program, that’s great. It does not mean students should stop looking for more free money. When they do, they often realize too late, they can’t pay their bills. Taking a job might help pay for books or some fees, but it won’t cover everything, not by a long shot. Scholarships and grants are the best way to avoid needing to take out student loans.
The only time a student need not continue to apply for scholarships is if he/she has received a truly free ride. This must include tuition, fees, books, room, board and travel for all four years. These awards exist, and are wonderful. But every scholarship is not a free ride. Some only cover part of tuition or tuition for the first year. Many do not include books, or room and board. There are thousands of college students who are homeless and food insecure. There’s money out there to pay for all of this, but it won’t come looking for your student. Someone has to find it.
Parents who have purchased my book, Free College, know I provide a place in the book to record scholarships and grants. If you don’t have my book, be sure to purchase a calendar and notebook to keep track of all scholarships you've applied for over the years. If you don’t, you’ll become confused and miss something important, like a deadline. You can buy my book instead by clicking on the book cover in the upper right hand corner of this page. Continue applying for scholarships until your student has graduated from college debt free.
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If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.