The Road to Scholarships

tips and hints for junior high & high school students planning to use scholarship monies to pay for their continuing education

Cost of a College Education

How much money will you actually need to attend college? The truth is, it varies. Much of it depends on which college you chose, it’s location, your location, and the type of education you need.

Often students and parents think the high dollar educations are the price of the Ivy schools. Schools like Harvard, and Yale. To be fair, those are expensive colleges to attend. A quick look at the tuition  page on the Harvard website shows the cost of $32,896 for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Since Harvard is located in Massachusetts, let’s look at the pricing of a couple of other colleges in that state.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts,   a four year college lists their 2008-2009 tuition/fees  yearly cost here, at, $15,350 for out of state students, residents of Massachusetts can expect to pay at least $6000 for tuition.

North Shore Community college has their costs listed on this page. They charged  Massachusetts residents $125  and  non-residents $357 for each credit  hour taken in 2008-2009. This totals about $3800 for a resident and $11,000 for a non resident.

You can see the basic  cost of a college education can vary from $4000 a year to over $30,000. How much your education will cost will be determined by you. Where do you want to attend college? How long will your education take? You need to be thinking on these things.

To get an idea of the cost of colleges in  your state, or colleges  you have in interest in attending this site by the University of Texas has links for most colleges in the United States. They have another site here, listing links for community colleges.

Remember basic cost is only the tuition and some fees. There are often other fees required. Don’t forget, you’ll need books, generally you can figure 40 per credit hour for books. This is $600 for 15 credit hours.  This is an average and a fairly good rule of thumb to use for estimating your costs.

In addition to your books, you will living somewhere. That will cost money. Most colleges require incoming out-of-town freshmen to live on campus. This is to your advantage. Each college will have a figure for the cost of a room. If  you live within commuting distance and choose to live at home, remember you’ll still need to pay for the additional vehicle expenses.

You will also need to eat. The cost for this will depend on you, and your situation. Living at home, your parents will probably underwrite the cost of your meals. If you live on campus the college will have meal plans for you. There’s also extra money for snacks, and when you don’t eat the college food, and the need for other miscellaneous items.

You can see the cost of a college education has a wide range, and it’s all in the high range. Determining what college is best for you will be another post. For now, I just wanted you to understand your higher education which will be well worth the money spent, is going to have a steep price tag.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , , , | 2 Comments

Stocking up Scholarships

A few days ago someone left this message:

Hi,
I was wondering if you knew of any scholarships for people who’ve run away from home. I’ve followed the steps that the university had to gain independent status but that was denied and now, I cannot apply for the FAFSA or any need-based scholarships.
I cannot provide people with my parents’ information because they are no longer in my life. I finally left that abusive home and I’ll drop outof college if I have out, but I will not go back to that environment.
Any information helps!
Thank you

Now I have no idea if this is a real person, or a real situation, but I know it could be. Here’s the thing, I mostly help younger students prepare for college and scholarships and I have no idea what all is available for that person.

I do know, he/she must first be emacipated from the parents. As I understand it that is a legal move and I know nothing about the law. However, there are lawyers that will help people pro-bono, or without pay. The commenter needs to speak to a lawyer and/or college financial aid advisor who can expand on the options available.

Now, for the rest of my readers. The reason I’m answering that comment, or attempting to answer it, is to point out that life situations change.

Mom and/or Dad may be making enough money now to safely see you through college, they may even have enough saved to pay for your college education. Except, no one can see into the future. What if something happens to Mom and/or Dad’s job?

Suddenly the family is living on have or less income and have to make some cuts. Guess what, college is going to be on the chopping block. They may not eliminate paying for part of your college expenses, but they won’t be able to cover all of them.

Or, a family may undergo a crisis that leads to them dipping into the college fund to pay current everyday bills. Now, I’m not talking about the student’s account where they’ve been stashing their scholarship/contest earnings.  That’s a whole different scenario that I’m not going to get into. However, I do know, most parents won’t touch that money. Of course, the student would need to have such an account for that to even be an issue.

Which means, they (you) have been applying for, and receiving scholarships. With the money already in hand, and with the money you will continue to receive from your efforts,  you will be able to finish your college education. And, as a bonus once you graduate you’ll be able to help your parents out of their crisis.

I hope the original poster (if he/she is real) finds a way to pay for the college education. I hope his/her story encourages the rest of you to begin the scholarship search and application process now. The sooner you start, the more opportunities you will have.  You can apply for the early scholarships now, and the others as they become available.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , , , | Leave a comment

Scholarship Scams Costly

Scholarships do not cost you, the student, or your parents money. While it’s been said before, that is something important enough to repeat on a regular basis.

Having never had any dealings with scholarship scams, I thought they cost students and their families $20-$100. That sounds like a minor costly mistake. But $20 would buy a month’s worth of groceries for the student to have in the dorm room. One hundred dollars, will buy one or sometimes two books. No student can afford to lose any amount of money in their scholarship quest. Sadly, some scholarship scams can cost you $500, or more. Yikes. That’s a lot of money, that could be funding your college education.

These scams are often disguised as workshops or seminars to help students learn the secrets to obtaining scholarships. They are presented in a flashy manor and made to sound helpful and promising. Unfortunately this sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish them from the good presentations available to help students.

It is possible to tell the scammers from the true scholarship experts.

Scammer – Makes unrealistic promises or guarantees. They may guarantee you will receive X number of scholarships if you take their seminar. No one can make a blanket guarantee that everyone taking a particular class will receive scholarships. That is determined by scholarship committees, and they don’t even know who they’ll choose until they see their choices.

True advocate – May say that IF you follow their advice you will increase your scholarship chances. Notice, they aren’t making a guarantee, and are being honest that you must do the work, just taking their class isn’t enough.

Scammer – Have no credentials to prove they know what they’re talking about. They’re banking on you believing all their hype in their advertisements.

True advocate – Can give you a breakdown of their qualifications. They may have helped students receive scholarships, in which case they can give you the name of a recipient for you to check with.

Have you avoided a scholarship scam, share your experience here with others lost in the scholarship maze.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | scholarships | , , , , | 1 Comment

Essays=scholarships

For most middle school and freshmen high school students, graduation and college still seem a lifetime away. They don’t understand the actions they take now impacts their choices at, and after, graduation.  However, they become a little more interested in preparing for scholarships when they learn they can apply for some now, and receive the award now.

Scholarships for younger students are generally in the form of essay contests, and pay out cash money (check) or a savings bond to the winning student. Theoretically, this money should be set aside in a special account for college. If it is or not, is the student’s choice.

The important thing for the student is that by entering, and hopefully winning, the early scholarships, they begin to take the steps that will improve their chances of receiving other scholarships when they’re older.

Some students are surprised to learn the early scholarships are essay contests. But, really since they haven’t accomplished enough during high school to complete any other type of scholarship application.  And really, a scholarship is simply another contest.  The student who best exemplifies what the committee is looking for is the winner, or recipient. Also, many of the larger national scholarships, will also require an essay. Entering the early contests will make the student’s better essay writers, and again improve their chances of being awarded the larger scholarships later.

December 6, 2007 Posted by | scholarships | , , , | 1 Comment