Don't let the cost of college deter you from getting a college education. College is expensive, but there are many ways to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Check out some of these ideas to keep college costs down:
- If you are a 9th or 10th grader, check out Oklahoma's Promise. This is one of the largest scholarships offered in our state, and makes a huge difference in the cost of college. Once accepted into the program make sure you are maintaining a 2.5 GPA or higher in CORE classes, as well as overall.
- Students are encouraged to take their ACT or SAT several times in order to get the highest possible score. Above average scores can result in merit based scholarships at many schools.
- Seniors are encouraged to apply to 4 or more colleges. This helps increase your chances of finding a school that is a good fit for you, as well as one that might offer you the best financial aid/scholarship awards. Sometimes private schools with higher price tags can end up being less expensive once they apply the aid and scholarship package.
- Be sure and apply for scholarships. The more you apply for, the greater your chances. Some scholarships prefer students with high grades, leadership, extra curriculars, and community volunteerism. Other scholarships are not merit based, and may be related to all sorts of other factors. Get signed up for a scholarship matching service like Fastweb, or something similar.
- While state and national scholarships offer many opportunities, don't forget to ask around for your local and family connections. For example, does your church have a scholarship for graduating seniors? Some companies where you or your parents are employed may have scholarships. Were you or your parents a member of an organization that offers scholarships?
- Don't miss the deadline for University based scholarships. Typically a school has a deadline that you must submit your application in order to be considered for a University-based scholarship. If your scholarship is in the fine arts, make sure you know when the tryouts are being held for said scholarship.
- Don't forget to apply for FAFSA after Oct 1 of your graduating year. FAFSA is federal aid, and is based on your family income and the number of family members who will attend college. Some students may be eligible for grants, low-interest loans, and work study opportunities. You are not obligated to accept all aid for which you are qualified.
- If all else fails, consider attending a college with a less expensive price tag. Many students start at a junior college before transferring to a 4-year school. Smaller regional state colleges are usually less expensive than larger research universities.