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Stay Strong! Your Dream College Awaits

It is possible to see beyond the payments!

Diane Won

December 09, 2013

Stay Strong! Your Dream College Awaits
For most of us, cost is a burden to consider in our daily lives as common people. Only the other day, I came across a lovely jacket I wanted, until I checked the price tag. The price is enough to stop us - even in selecting which institution to attend. Tragically, the sky-high price may make us miss the chances of our lives, by instilling within us fear and hopelessness.

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However, we must not let the monetary value of the ideal school become an obstacle blocking our futures. Of course, the cost cannot be overlooked, but it can be overcome. A school’s expenses are one thing, and your aspirations, another. It is possible to see beyond the payments. There is a generous multitude of support available, as long as you are capable of searching around a bit.

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To be completely frank, not much in life is free. And when something is free, it is certainly not easy to retain.

Advice on Approaching Finances

● It is never too late to start saving up money. Set aside a college fund for yourself.

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● Getting a part-time job is not a bad idea. ● Spend wisely. ● Use as little as possible. ● Contemplate the real worth of every luxury in the long run. Do you really need a weekly dish from that expensive restaurant? Or that fourth pair of boots?

Obtaining the Money

1. One option is loans. It is necessary that you mull over these carefully; do not settle with just any random loan. Pick federal student loans over private student loans. Federal student loans are more beneficial and less expensive. Some examples of federal student loans are direct subsidized or unsubsidized loans along with Federal Perkins Loans. 2. Maybe your boss will chip in? Especially if you work for a company, your employer might be willing to contribute some dollars, if you continue to work for them. Employers may suggest tuition assistance programs. 3. Crowdfunding, in which plenty of people raise money for one cause, can work towards procuring some wages for college.
Round up willing family members and friends. 4. Enlisting to serve in the military (Air Forces, Army, Marines, National Guard, or the Navy) offers many benefits. You serve your country; you get back from your country. Service is appreciated- often times, tuition is paid for you. 5. Fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Dependent upon your status, a certain amount of money will be issued to you. And/or the PROFILE, a document you must pay for. The PROFILE is another financial aid application. The PROFILE is similar to the FAFSA in function, yet occasionally seen as a more insightful supplement to the FAFSA. 6. Awards, contests, fellowships, grants, in addition to scholarships are prospects in which one can earn money with no strings attached. Different Types of Grants ● Cal Grant (state grant): eligibility is determined by unweighted grade point average, economic hardship, and other factors such as registration with Selective Service if male, not to mention, enrollment as a regular student. ● Federal Pell Grant (federal grant): given on consideration of financial difficulty, school grades, and alternative criteria much like those listed above with the Cal Grant. A variety of sites offers free entries to many scholarships, which are your valuable tickets to money for school. Forms of “Free” Tender ● Merit money - determined by grades Taking the PSAT your junior year of high school automatically opens up a chance for cash from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Your university of choice may offer moolah for your academic performance in high school. ● Specialty money Submitting a video or a writing piece to a contest, on a site such as Fastweb, may result in some extra finances. Monetary awards are given to athletes, through societies such as GetRecruited, which is accessible on Fastweb. ● Money based on who you are There are gender-specific scholarships, scholarships given to those of every race, not to mention, scholarships for specific age groups. Moreover, foster children as well as orphans receive forms of aid, such as the Chafee grant. 7. Organizations such as Questbridge exist to help students in need. Questbridge allows students to enter schools that they are not fully qualified for. These organizations even lessen the fees.

For Your Information...

1. You need time; you get time. Tuition can be paid off gradually, through programs such as work-study. 2. Yes, your tuition can be haggled! Inquire within your school’s admissions office. 3. Use your high school, scouring offices for resourceful fliers. Ask your counselor about opportunities. 4. Surf the internet, including your school’s website. 5. Visit the California Student Aid Commission in addition to the CollegeBoard for handy facts. 6. Keep identity theft in mind. Always be careful in giving your birthday, your social security number, banking material, driver’s license number, and passwords. Closely keep track of your bank statements in case of odd flaws. 7. Beware of loan and scholarships scams. Avoiding Loan Scams ● Do an abundant load of research beforehand. ● Steer clear of high-pressure lenders pressing you for a deal. Again, look out for scholarship conmen. Avoiding Scholarship Scams ● DO NOT hand over your accounting, credit card, or Social Security information. ● DO NOT believe scholarships which guarantee anything. See Fraud! for more details. The California Student Aid Commission has further assistance for identify theft and scam victims. All in all, do not permit a school’s sticker cost scare you away. Such a wide range of payment methods is open to you. Despite the fright of high costs, persevere! Do not waver in your chosen path. There are always ways to get around complications. We see some things as unattainable, when really, the opposite is true. Never give up. It may be difficult and time-staking, but everything can be accomplished. The accurate saying that has been said since the beginning of time (or, by my family, as long as I can remember) - So long as you maintain a positive attitude, all, or most, of your wishes will come true.

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