Funding Your Way Through College

By Daina Potter ’17

Finding the perfect college is easy for students, but paying for it can be stressful and can ultimately affect where some go to college. That is where scholarships come in; they help students pay for college and are completely free.

“When I got a scholarship from Hunter-Yalow, I was ecstatic. Now, I won’t have to worry too much about paying. I can actually enjoy my freedom and college life,” said Xiu Ling ’16.

Scholarships are a form of financial aid available to students going to college. They are used to help pay tuition. There are many different types of scholarships. Many different institutions offer scholarships. They can come from religious groups, private companies and social organizations. Furthermore, scholarships can range from athletic to academic. As stated in college.usatoday.com, most high school seniors qualify for 50-100 scholarships. So really anyone can receive one.

There are about six different scholarships. The most popular scholarships are Merit based. Merit based scholarships are based on a student’s academic, athletic and talent. According to studentaid.ed.gov, in order to get this scholarship a person needs to meet a certain standard set or level.

“I think merit-based scholarships can be very helpful for incoming college freshman. It is especially good for students who excel in an area,” said Kaitha Agant ’17. But a merit-based scholarship isn’t the only one.

Another type of scholarship is need based. This scholarship is based on a student financial situation at home. Need-based scholarships are based on the income of the parent and the living situation. Most colleges will give a student need based scholarship that cover all their expenses, if their parent makes under 65,000 dollars and owns only typical assets.

According to debt.org, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filled out. The FASFA calculates a student’s family’s income based on different pieces of information. In previous years the FAFSA was submitted in the spring term, but in the fall the juniors will be handing in the FAFSA form. There are tax forms you will need from your parents to complete these documents.

Other scholarships can be awarded based on gender, socioeconomic status and other groups that a student may belong to. These scholarships are extensive and can be very helpful. But finding scholarships can be hard as well as applying for them, so what should a student do?

First, getting organized is important as well as research. According to bigfuture.collegeboard.org, starting research early is vital. Scholarships applications have strict deadlines and can run out fast. So start now and get scholarships. According to collegeraptor.com, 122.7 billion dollars in scholarships and grants were awarded from 2013-14.

“I’m looking at scholarships now. My guidance counselor told me to look at fastweb.com because they have good scholarships,” said Mukhsina Nurilloeva ’17. “So we will see what happens.”

Websites like fastweb.com are helpful resources. Some other websites to look at are Unigo.com, collegeboard.org and finaid.org. This is just a few out of many. They show you where to go and apply for the scholarships. In applying for scholarships, the requirements are different for each one.

Scholarships may not be the only financial aid but they make a difference in the long run. They may let you go to your dream school which is more expensive compared to a school that is cheaper but wasn’t your choice.

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