If you’re worried about paying for college, know that you are not alone and that there are a lot of help options and scholarships. If you’re interested in applying for scholarships, here are some tips to help you nab the perfect one.
Since the scholarship world is competitive, make sure that you apply for them quickly and often. Use services like myscholly.com and fastweb.com to seek out scholarships that best match your interests and profile. These services will even email you when a new scholarship you qualify for pops up.
When filling out a scholarship application, use language that lets the choosing committee know that you care about getting the scholarship. Tell them where you come from and why this money will be helpful in where you want to go.
Few things can throw a larger spoke in the wheel of a scholarship application than a misspelling or grammar error. Read, re-read and then read again all of your applications before handing them in. Give your application to a friend or family member so they can check it as well. After all, they want you to get this scholarship too!
For more help with scholarships, talk to someone in the CU Denver Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. They have all the information you need about scholarships and offer guidance with the scholarship application process.
Manage Student Borrowing
Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the U.S., which means more families are aware of the need to keep college costs and borrowing to a minimum.
Our Financial Aid Office is dedicated to helping students achieve their education goals. They are responsible for administering federal, state, and institutional aid, such as grants, student loans, and work-study. At CU Denver, we know that college expenses can really add up, which is why we work hard to help our students pay for college. Borrowing money can be a necessity but managing loans is the tricky part.
Here are a few things you can do while you’re attending school to help lessen the burden of loans.
1. Work closely with an advisor.
The process of applying for and repaying student loans is more confusing than most students are prepared for. Work with an advisor, they will help explain which loans are right for you, which scholarships and aid your qualify for and how to best repay it all back.
2. Keep track of your tuition and spending.
Your freshmen year is the time to get organized. Use Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs or whatever to help you keep track of school costs and spending. Make a list of lenders you are borrowing from, how much the interest rate is on the loan, the lender’s website, log-in information, the total balance and whatever else you think you might need. The reason to get organized so soon in your college career is because it will give you a clear mind of what to expect when you graduate. Staying on track of how much you owe will also help you make decisions later during your college career.
3. Do not borrow for anything other than tuition and school supplies.
A nice apartment in the city, extra cash for a few nights out, or maybe even new skis – these are things that you should not borrow money for. We understand that once that refund check hits your bank account it looks like the sky’s the limit, but remember that you have to pay all of that back.
Are you looking for more information about student loan repayment options? CU Denver has several resources listed here to assist you.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
One of the most important items in your journey to college is figuring out how to pay for college. If it is not on your “journey to college” checklist, then you might want to put it on there. Going to school is fairly expensive, but I will outline a few things you an do to pay for your education.
One of the first things you should do before anything else is complete your FAFSA!
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; the keyword in the acronym in FREE.
You can apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If possible, do not use any other application, because those will most likely have you pay for an otherwise FREE application. By filling out FAFSA, the schools that you apply to (hopefully, CU Denver!) will receive the information you gave in the application and decide what types of aid you should receive. This can be anything from grants, to loans, to work-study. Once you receive your financial aid package you can choose to accept certain grants or loans and even just accept certain amounts if you do not want all of the package.
Just as a reminder, the FAFSA is FREE, so it cannot hurt to apply. Please visit our Office of Financial Aid for more information on FAFSA.
Another way to pay for college is with scholarships. Scholarships are usually merit, skill or characteristic based money awards that students can apply for. The best thing about scholarships is that you do not need to pay them back! They can help either pay for school in full or at the very least help reduce the burden of student loans. You can find scholarships everywhere; from churches to gas stations to non-profits organizations and more.
Most universities offer scholarships based on merit including CU Denver. Be aware, there is some work on your part to get these scholarships. You will need to apply for most scholarships and applications usually involve some kind of written statement or essay. Some even require formal interviews, but they are easily worth it.
So, apply for as many scholarships as possible. Scholarships can be large or very small, but if you are awarded enough you could possibly get school paid for in full. How could would that be?
Mel – Senior Biology Student at CU Denver