Scholarships: Don’t Leave Them A-loan!

Kate Ariano ‘18
EE Co-Managing Editor

With college on the horizon for hundreds of seniors, the presentation was a way for parents to be introduced to the application process for financial aid.

Student loans. Perhaps one of the most daunting factors to consider about college. For many students, tens of thousands of dollars in debt awaits them post-graduation. But this does not have to be the case. Between scholarships and federal financial aid, students have several opportunities to get ‘free money’ for college.

During the College Financial Aid Night presentation, hosted by Brianna Bono of the Sacred Heart University financial aid office, parents learned that the first step to getting college money is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Bono explained that no matter whether you believe you will get money out of the FAFSA or not, you should apply. Not only is it a free application, but many different factors go into determining how much is awarded, so it’s worth it to try and see what you can get.

“There’s never a good enough reason to pass up an opportunity to earn a $500 or $1,000 scholarship for college. With continuing tuition hikes, any scholarship amount is worth applying for, if you are eligible” says Susan Dutca, one of the head content writers for the organization Scholarships.com.

Although the FAFSA is a good start, scholarships provide hundreds of opportunities to get more money. Merit based scholarships – money awarded to students based on their academic achievement – are another option that schools provide. The criteria used to decide who is awarded the money varies amongst schools, but typically there is an SAT, ACT, or GPA requirement listed on the school’s website.

“Merit aid is one of the few bright lights in college financing now, ” says Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, a college counselor and author from Pennsylvania.

But maybe a student isn’t the best academically, however they have extremely red hair, or are the tallest in their class. Through Naviance, SchoolSoup.com, and other scholarship search tools, you will find that there are scholarships for quite anything. Look for all scholarships that you could be eligible for and don’t hesitate to apply.

“It seems like they have a scholarship for anything you can think of,’ says senior Abby Johnson. “They’re all great ways to help with paying for college so I’m going to apply for as many as I can.”

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