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What’s the Least Amount I Will Have to Pay for College?

Submitted by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy on October 5th, 2012

Free.  How do we find a free college education or at least greatly reduced from the published price?   Makes sense families are concerned about the costs of college and their ability to pay for those continuing-to-rise costs.

Scholarships seem like the likeliest possibility for reducing the out-of-pocket costs.  They are free money…(i.e. you don’t have to re-pay anyone at anytime), BUT students and parents have to put in effort to applyEffort  is THE issue–since, who doesn’t want something for nothing?

Increasing the likelihood of a student and their parent putting forth the effort required to transform college essays for scholarship applications and walking through the counseling offices once a week to get the latest opportunities for free money, starts with understanding the value of the college degree the student is seeking.

The finding scholarships is NOT the issue.  Scholarship search engines will help families make the first step to applying–www.fastweb.com and www.collegeboard.org both allow students to customize a profile and have scholarships sent to them.   It’s the KNOWING WHY you’re searching for free money and WHY you should put forth the effort to apply that’s important. 

Thinking through college selections, taking extra time to investigate the college before, during and after applying, starting in the freshman year to discuss the value of a college degree–not just to get a good job or leave home–but why a student and their family values the “good job” or what it means to be independent will help possibly reduce the out-of-pocket costs of college or at least take some of the sting away from paying for college.

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