As parents of a senior in high school, we are navigating our way through college planning.
Austin has gone on field trips to local colleges such as San Jose State University, Cabrillo, and UC Santa Cruz to determine if that’s where he’d like to study.
He also traveled out of the area for a summer camp and stayed on Westmont College campus in Santa Barbara.
In addition, he has searched for prospective colleges in the Pacific Northwest near his cousins.
And so begins his college application process.
Parallel to chosing where he’d like to go, we are researching college tuition and funding.
So far we have learned of four ways to pay for college.
One way of paying for college classes, dorm fees, food, books, etc. is to save up.
Not every family can afford to pay for a higher education out of pocket.
2. Student Loans
Another way to supplement college costs is to borrow money. There are institutions that will lend students money at low interest rates.
3. Financial Aid
Another way to help with payments is financial aid. The federal program is called FAFSA and the application process starts this week for students starting in the Fall of 2020.
Another way to help with costs is scholarships. There are numerous organizations that offer money to students.
We began researching what’s available and learned there are varying amounts of money given away (i.e. $500, $1,000, $10,000, $25,000, etc.)
Each donor gives away based on a criteria such as being a student, living in a particular area, conducting a certain amount of volunteerism, grades, career choice, etc.
In order to obtain the funding, the student typically has to complete an application and/or essay.
We found it helpful to get a list of available scholarships from the school counseling office. Also, there are agencies out there who help you locate available funding. One such site is The Scholarship System. I watched their free webinar and learned how the owner was able to graduate debt free via scholarships. If you’d like in depth information, you must purchase their program.
Anyhow, we are investigating and discovering the right school and ways to fund it.
If you have gone through this process with your child(ren), I’d love to hear your advice.