By Anne Stanton
Even if you can get into the college of your choice, there is the big
question of affording it. Finding scholarship money takes dedication
and time with your efforts paying off most in your senior year.
To begin on this journey, Google pay for college + government. That
will bring up the ed.gov website, which explains in detail the
financial aid process, such as when and how to fill out the FAFSA
formthe key government form that determines how much youll qualify
for government grants, loans, and work study money. Many colleges will
also use the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as a
basis for dispensing aid from their own coffers. So even if your
parents tax return might not be done in January, make sure the FAFSA
form is filled out at that time with your parents estimated earnings
and submit to your desired college to get first dibs on resources. Do
Once you are accepted into a college, make a phone call to the
colleges financial aid department to find out your next steps to get
help. All award packages are offered in spring of your graduation year
so this is the time when students make their final decisions. And
decide they must because May 1 is when most colleges want a deposit to
reserve a space.
When it comes to Internet scholarship searches, first check in with
your high school counseling office. There are legitimate and not so
legitimate websites and scholarship offerings; its important to know
how to tell which is which as you proceed.
Fastweb is a great search engine online for scholarships and other
information about paying for college tuition. Its free and provides
constant information all through the school year and summer. Avoid
paying online for access to scholarship information--it is usually a
scam, said Sally Stilwill, who helps students with the college
Also, some high schools each have their own scholarship awards given
out each year, including merit scholarships, as well as those created
in memory of former students who have passed away and are celebrated
for their special interests. Its always a good idea to check with the
counseling office for scholarships and award information.
Be sure to check out your local service clubs and community
foundations because you might have a pretty good chance of getting
one. The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, for example,
awarded more than $130,000 this past spring to about 100 students
living in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau
There are close to 40 scholarships awards available for a wide range
of students. Here are a few:
Financially needy and high achieving Benzie Central High School
graduates who are going into the science field.
-Graduates from the five-county area who demonstrate an adventurous
spirit, a passion and zest for life, and have played in a soccer
-Bellaire High School students who want to pursue art and/or attend
Michigan State University.
- Aspiring writers who are required to submit a piece of poetry,
nonfiction, or fiction (or all three) for a writing competition.
- The Suttons Bay senior with the highest ACT score automatically
wins a scholarship, no application required.
For more information on applying for these scholarships, go to
gtrcf.org and hit the scholarships button. And do it today!