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Applying for College Financial Aid

Applying for College Financial Aid

School is out for the summer, and you’re probably thinking that you have a break from the stress of worrying about anything school related. But if you have a student who will be a junior or senior in high school next school year, it’s time to get serious about college.

Your student may have no clue what they want to “be” when they grow up – let alone what degree they may want to pursue in college – and that’s OK! But if you plan on continuing your child’s education, whether through college or a vocational school, it’s time to begin thinking about how you’ll pay for it.

Scholarships and other sources of financial aid have strict application deadlines – sometimes months before the end of their senior year of school. By scoping out your options now, you’ll be aware of the financial aid requirements from minimum GPA to volunteer hours.

This will give you and your student a chance to ensure that they’re in a favorable position to get as much financial aid as possible.  After all, each scholarship or grant your child can obtain is that much less you’ll have to spend out-of-pocket for their education.

Plus, there is so much to know about navigating college applications and financial aid that being prepared in advance will help make the process go more smoothly. When in doubt, make an appointment with your child’s guidance counselor next school year to ask for advice. They’ve seen many different situations and types of financial aid and may have access to resources you don’t know about.

Until then, start out by reading more about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other scholarship and grant opportunities. For example, Gulf Winds offers a $5,000 scholarship to four graduating high school seniors each year! Many other businesses and financial institutions do the same for their customers and members.

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