Holiday Tips to Pay for College
Congratulations, you’ve made it halfway through your senior year! We have a gift for you. A holiday tips to pay for college checklist.
This gift will turn into cash! Well, it will help you save thousands of dollars and make your college goals a reality on the least amount of debt possible!
Now it’s time for Christmas break. Time to enjoy family and friends… and… time to decide how you’re going to pay for college next fall.
It’s really quite an overwhelming task to many people.
However, there are many options and resources to help you do it. I’ve put together a basic list of holiday tips to pay for college.
These are things you can do over Christmas break to help you get started.
Getting started now will enable you to find more funding than if you wait until the last minute. By summer, many of the colleges may have already awarded much of their scholarship funds and have very little left.
Don’t miss out because you waited too late. Completing these holiday tips to pay for college tasks will help you be most prepared financially as you begin college next fall.
Apply for institutional scholarships at the school(s) you are considering attending.
Every school does their institutional scholarships differently. Some have a scholarship application. Others only require that you apply for admission and complete your admissions document file. Be sure to find out what is required and what their deadline is.
Your admissions counselor is your most valued resource for navigating this process. Stay in contact with them. Check your email often so you don’t miss any important information.
Apply for federal student aid
Complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online if you will be enrolling to begin college in the fall of 2020.
The FAFSA is the application that determines your eligibility for federal student aid such as Pell grant and federal student loans. When you complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA, you will use income and tax information from the 2018 tax year.
The most important thing to remember when completing your FAFSA is to take your time and read every question carefully. Most mistakes are made when people try to rush through it without thoroughly reading. It is best to complete this with a parent. There is parent information that will need to be provided.
Both student and parent will need to set up an FSA user ID and password. Once created, keep this info in a safe place because you will need to use it every year when completing your FAFSA.
Need assistance completing your FAFSA? We are always glad to help and have computers available in our office for you to use while we guide you through the process.
Apply for state student aid
Arkansas residents should complete the YOUniversal Application online for state aid.
This application helps determine your eligibility for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship (deadline – July 1) and the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship (deadline – February 1) as well as other scholarships and grants awarded by the Arkansas Division of Higher Education.
Make a college financing plan
Sit down with your parents and have a conversation about how you plan to pay for college.
The cost of college can vary greatly depending on the institution and where it’s located (in-state or out-of-state). Just like making any other purchase, you need a plan.
First, find out what the cost is. Do your research.
Ask questions such as, “What is the tuition cost?” “What are the additional fees?” “How much is room & board?” “When is payment due?”
Once you have gathered this very important information, then you can begin to decide how you will pay that cost.
What scholarships will you have? Are they renewable scholarships that carry over to each year or are they one-time scholarships? Will your scholarships cover your full bill, or will you have a remaining balance? How will you cover the remaining balance? Will you pay cash? Does the school offer any kind of installment payment plan? Will you need to use student loans? Will you work while attending college? Does your college offer any kind of work study program?
- Searching for Scholarships
The good news – There are tons of scholarship opportunities out there.
The bad news – They are not going to just fall in your lap. You’ll have to put some time and effort in to searching and applying. BUT, it’s most definitely worth the effort!
Many different types of scholarships are offered from various sources.
Civic and community organizations offer scholarships for local students. Businesses offer scholarships for their employees and employees’ dependents.
Businesses offer scholarship contests for students who write essays, tag lines, or videos as a marketing tool.
Where do you start?
- Talk with your high school counselor. They will have applications for many local scholarships.
- Check with the college you’ll be attending to see if they have any foundation or endowed scholarships. These are scholarships funded by outside donors specifically for students attending that school.
- Here in Arkansas, there is the Arkansas Community Foundation which is a great resource for finding scholarships. You can search by city, high school, college major, or college to find the scholarships for which you would be most eligible.
- Parents, check with your employer to see if they offer any type of scholarship for your dependents.
- Think about the name brands you use every day – toothpaste, clothing, food/drink, department stores. Search their name online to see if they offer scholarships. (ex: Colgate scholarship, Kohl’s scholarship, etc.)
- Most importantly, know the scholarship deadlines. Every scholarship is different. You may be required to submit not only an application, but also an essay, video, reference letters, or family tax/income information. Give yourself plenty of time to gather needed documents before the deadline.
Work during the break to earn funds
There are many businesses that hire seasonal employees during this time of year. If you don’t already have a regular job, use this time as an opportunity to begin earning some funds which can be set back in savings to use for college expenses.
Financial aid staff is available to help
As you can see, there are lots of questions you need answers for when it comes to planning to pay for college. Don’t let this overwhelm you! Follow these holiday tips to pay for college
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t think you are asking too many questions. You are not! It is okay to not know all the answers and need to ask questions.
The staff of Central Baptist College has the answers and are there to help walk you through the process.
Here at CBC in the Financial Aid office, we would rather you ask a thousand questions than for you never to ask any questions.
We are always available Monday – Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm for you to stop by or by phone (501) 205-8911, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text (855) 217-7072.
During the holiday season, CBC offices will be closed December 23 – 27 and on January 1. All other days we will be in the office an available to help.
Written by Tonya Hammontree, Director of Financial Aid.
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