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Tips & Tricks for Making College Affordable


Authored By: Adele Garcia on 2/7/2019

A mother kissing her daughters cheek while she's wearing a graduation cap and gowne and holding her diploma.

Tips & Tricks for Making College Affordable

Last summer, I wrote about my realization that my oldest daughter would be graduating from high school soon. Well, soon is here. We have officially hit her senior year, and I have yet to figure out a way to keep my oldest a baby forever.

If you’ve survived high school years and college planning with your children, my hat goes off to you. I'm serious; you are my hero!

When kids get to get to their final year, they find themselves floundering around with college applications, deciding on their entire future, and then (gulp) figuring out how to pay for it.

While my kids are floundering, well, I’m dang near drowning!

My husband and I did our best to save for our children’s college, but the reality is this; We don’t have enough to cover four years at a large university, books and room and board.

With that being said, I knew I would have to pitch in to help my oldest baby fly the coop (as unwilling as I might be) and hopefully without a lot of student loan debt.

Because I am extremely task-oriented, I sat down and wrote out a list of everything we would need to do before she leaves.

Once we had a high-level list mapped out, she started applying to schools. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve learned along the way:


Choosing a college early is important!

I quickly found out that many scholarships want to know where the student is going before they award them.

Choose your top three schools!

  • Visit all three
  • Apply to all three
  • Ask about any school-specific scholarships or financial aid

Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This is a step you shouldn’t skip, even if you have a scholarship or other financial assistance.

  • Don’t forget to find out your state’s FAFSA filing deadline.

Do some searching for other financial aid, such as scholarships and grants

  • Google is your friend! Start your search early and apply for all scholarships that fit your situation.
  • There are thousands of scholarships out there. Get creative in what you look for and be sure to put in the time and effort to search and apply.

Your high school counselors are there to help

Ask them for advice on resources you may have missed.

  • My daughter’s counselor told us about www.Fastweb.com to connect us with scholarships, colleges, and financial aid.

Stay organized

You don’t want to miss out on free money because of a missed a deadline!

  • Use a paper calendar in a high traffic area such as a refrigerator
  • Create an Excel spreadsheet and share it with your family
  • Schedule times to write essays and complete applications. Remember, this is their future. They need to be invested in the scholarship process.

Don’t give up!

Financial aid can be a frustrating process, but don’t give up! Every scholarship, grant, or form of free assistance helps your child graduate college with less student loan debt!

 

To right of the image a daughters face is shown hugging her mom in her graduation cap and gown. The words Honor CU Community Committment Scholarship show to the right and bottom of the mother and daughter.

 

Why stop here? Keep on reading!

Be sure to follow Honor Credit Union on Twitter @HonorCU, on Facebook @HonorCreditUnion and on Instagram @honorcreditunion!

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If you are using a screen reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call 800.442.2800 for assistance. All products and services available on this website are available at all Honor Credit Union full-service locations.