Every high school where I’ve taught has had at least one counselor who was an expert in “all things college”. What do you do if your high school doesn’t have such a person? I recommend you take a look at Free $ For College For Dummies by David Rosen and Caryn Mladen. Click HERE to get a copy.
It won’t help you become the ideal college scholarship applicant, like my book, Free College. It will, however, help you through the process of finding and applying for scholarships. It consists of twenty-four chapters containing important details you need to know. I wasn’t sure if my grandson’s high school in another state had an expert on campus to help him, so I sent him a copy of this book when he started his junior year.
The book is like having a mentor walk you through the process. It can’t nag you to complete forms on time, of course, but it does give you a timeline to follow. The first four chapters include an overview of the process of finding free money. It explains what you can expect and how to avoid scams, (yes, as we have seen on the news lately, there are con men out there).
The second section of the book helps you optimize what you can receive from the federal government. Although there’s more than $46 billion in grants and scholarships available annually, over $2.9 billion in free college federal grant money went unclaimed last year. Read these chapters carefully, so you don’t miss out. This section also helps you avoid problems with the Internal Revenue Service. There’s a right way and a wrong way to report money received, do it right, so you don’t have problems.
Section three goes into finding money from the state in which you live. Like with the feds, there are grants and scholarships available. Free cash for college exists on a local level too. This part of the book helps you go after this money.
Next, you’ll learn how to negotiate with colleges for a lower tuition. Just like with cars, it's possible to pay less than the sticker price. Plus, you can apply for merit, athletic and even international scholarships from the college itself. All of these, naturally, must be appropriate for your student. As with the recent college admission scandal, students and parents who try to scam the system end up in trouble, and might even go to jail.
Lots more scholarships can be unearthed from private and public organizations. The next section of the book explains how to find them. Some are obvious, like charitable and fraternal organizations, unions, and the military. The last section of this chapter includes a resource guide for finding more obscure scholarships.
The final four chapters of Free $ For College For Dummies explains what else you can do, as well as what you should avoid while looking for ways to pay for college. Whatever you do, avoid taking out student loans. They can't be forgiven in bankruptcy, will follow you everywhere, and often grow so large, you’ll never be able to pay them off. I know people in their seventies who have student loan repayments taken involuntarily from their monthly social security benefits. Whether you buy this book, or mine, do whatever you can to avoid student loan debt.
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If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children, 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.