An initiative of Military Child Education Coalition ®
Easing School Transitions for Military Families
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Money, Money, MONEY!  College is EXPENSIVE!

01/27/2015 Published by: Amy Soupene

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Categories: Transition to College, Transition to College

Senior year can be exhausting.  Many times you may feel as if you are leading a double life; in your first life you are a high school student fulfilling all the requirements and classes of your senior year.  And in your second life you are preparing for college.  Finding the right college, filling out applications, completing the FAFSA, waiting for and responding to acceptance letters.  No doubt about it, it is a very busy year. 

Once you have been accepted to the college of your choice, it may seem like the perfect time to mentally check out and relax for a while.  Please don’t do that just yet.  You still need to pay for college!  I know, there’s always student loans you can take out.  Of course, those are not free money; you will have to pay them back – with interest.

Why not spend some time looking for free money?  Money that is given to you expressly for your higher education with no repayment required. “Free money,” you ask yourself, “who gets free money?”  Recipients of scholarships and grants, that’s who. 

On the financial side of paying for college there are many ways to pay the bills.  If your parents have invested in a college savings plan for you, consider yourself lucky.  They’ve been saving for years for your future.  Go give them a sincere, “Thank you.”  I’ll wait right here while you do it.

There are also student loans, work study programs, scholarships, and grants.  What’s the difference between all these?  Student loans are just what they sound like; a loan that you (or your parents) take out to help cover the cost of college.  Of course, while these loans are nice for covering expenses while you are in school, they will have to be repaid once you leave.  Work Study Programs allow you to work for the college and receive a paycheck which you then sign back over to the college to cover your expenses.  Scholarships can be based on academic merit.  These can vary in amount and are extremely competitive.  Scholarships can also be given on a myriad of other criteria.  Grants are given by the federal and state governments as well as the colleges and universities.  The amount of the grant is decided by your FAFSA results.  Grants and scholarships are free money which does not have to be repaid. 

In the SchoolQuest College Prep Toolkit there are many resources to help you along the way.  Among the many valuable resources here there is a Scholarship Finder.  We have partnered with Reference Service Press, the leading authority on scholarships. The Scholarship Finder easy to use and the results are quick.  Simply fill out the brief questionnaire, this will allow the service to match you up to many potential scholarships.  This list is saved so you can revisit as often as you want.  Particularly interesting options can be “favorited” so they are easier to find.  All scholarships in the database are reviewed on a yearly basis and are confirmed to be reputable.  You can quickly see what it required and the deadline for each scholarship.

If you start early, you can optimize your scholarship applications. Deadlines are posted all through the year, so your best option is starting early and checking back often. By keeping a few pre-written essays on hand, you can easily apply for many scholarships by simply tweaking your essay to better fit your scholarship’s requirements.

As with all resources offered by SchoolQuest, the Scholarship Finder is absolutely free for military-connected students and the MCEC’s JS2S/S2S students.  All branches, whatever the status of the military member - if you have a military connection you are welcome to use our resources.  We have ACT/SAT prep, College Preparation materials, and the Scholarship Finder.  Your future is worth the investment, please come in for a visit and let us assist you on your journey.


**Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest™ by liking us on Facebook!  SchoolQuest™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®).   Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!  

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