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Money for college

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Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:18 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Lisa Youngblood

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Money for education is available for you or your child.

National and state governments, private foundations, corporations and educational institutions offer scholarships, grants, fellowships and loans to prospective students. Start now. It's never too early to prepare yourself and your children for success and to research sources.

Improve your chances of getting money. In today's highly competitive educational atmosphere, universities, community colleges, technical colleges and private funding sources look for students who are most likely to succeed.

Choose high school courses carefully. Most colleges want to see students take four years of English, math, science and social studies and at least two years of a foreign language. College preparatory classes look good to prospective universities and funders. You could even get college credit for some of the AP classes offered in high school.

Taking the right courses is not enough. You must maintain good grades as well. Become involved in school and community organizations. Potential funders and educational institutions like to see that students are well-rounded and able to multi-task.

Volunteer in your community. By volunteering, you will gain admiration for your community involvement, important life skills and experience, and contacts who can later write letters of recommendation for you. Colleges and universities want their students to succeed.

Resources for finding money for college abound.

First, talk to your school counselor. Counselors can tell you which grants and scholarships are available locally. Show interest in your own future, and your counselor will think of you first when funding opportunities arise.

Next, discuss financial aid with the educational institutions to which you will be applying. Most of the funding from the government and from many foundations is funneled through individual colleges. Determine when you need to turn in any financial aid forms, and turn them in on time.

While financial aid is available even if you apply late, the most and best scholarships and grants are given early. Foundations and corporations provide private sources for funds. Your library provides access to specialized books such as The Scholarship Advisor and Scholarships.

Much information is also available on the Internet. Take a look at these helpful Internet sites:

College For Texans: www.collegefortexans.com/

Colleges, College Scholarships, and Financial Aid: www.college-scholarships.com

FinAid: The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid: www.finaid.com

College Funding Solutions Inc.: www.mycollegeinfo.com/

FAFSA on the Web: www.fafsa.ed.gov/

Librarians are available to assist you in looking for scholarships, grants, fellowships and loans in these materials and online. To set up an appointment, call the library at 953-5496.

Lisa Youngblood is the Harker Heights Public Library director.

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