Seniors find various different options to save money on higher education

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She sat before the monitor, staring at the application that had the potential to change her life forever. She was excited for the possibilities looming just as soon as she hit submit, but nervously realized that once she did, she might not be able to live out the dreams she had created for herself.
Senior Ayanna Walters is one of thousands of high-school students in the process of applying to college. The process is one that is stressful not only emotionally, but financially. Often times, college tuition as a whole costs more or as much as a brand new car. With today’s economy, finding the way to pay for schooling is becoming a difficult task.
“It’s going to be very hard because college is very expensive, and a lot of people don’t have the money to go because it’s tight right now,” Walters said.
Walters is amongst those who cannot necessarily afford to go, but she hasn’t given up her dream nor will she.
“I’ve been doing a lot of scholarships,” Walters said. Scholarships are a great way to earn ‘free’ money to help pay for schooling. This money is money that does not have to be paid back and takes a weight off the shoulders of students.
Junior Ricardo Adler has also gotten onto the scholarship train.
“I did the WizAnt scholarship,” Adler said. “But I will probably still have to take out loans.”
Loans, unlike scholarships, have to be paid back. By the college graduation date, most students have a job in the field they’ve been working toward for several years.
“Even though I will have a job when I graduate [college], I won’t be able to pay it off right away,” Adler said.
President Barack Obama developed an initiative to get more students into community colleges, which cost less than universities, in an attempt to boost graduation rates. Students enrolled in universities often drop out because they cannot afford to pay the price of tuition.
Walters believes going to a community college would definitely save money.
“It would be a lot easier on my parents and me,” Walters said.
Another option that Adler explored was the military.
“I could go into a branch of the military and be trained in what it is that I want to do for free,” Adler said.
If re-elected for president for a second term Obama may shrink the military, which would make it harder to join the forces. That would do away with using the military as a way to earn an education; however, money saved in that area could go towards lowering the costs of earning an education through higher institutions of learning.
“I really hope it becomes easier to get into college and that the economy improves. Not only for me, but for my brothers and sisters too,” Walters said.
Walters has five siblings who are next in line to attend college.
“We don’t have a lot of money, so the whole idea of all of us going to college is stressful,” she said.
Walters has yet to fill out her FAFSA, a financial aid service offered by the government in order to further assist students but hopes that she will be able to receive a lot of money.
“It would be a great help,” Walters said.
As a junior student, Adler has not yet had to complete his FAFSA.
“I’ll be doing that and a lot more scholarships,” Adler said. “I need all the help I can get.”
Students need to explore every avenue of the financial help that is out there.
Both Walters and Adler suggest applying for numerous scholarships and keeping grades up so that scholarships will be easily awarded, but there are other factors that can help award scholarships.
“I would tell other students to volunteer at different places and join clubs because a lot of colleges like that,” Adler said.
Though the economy is on its outs, going to college isn’t impossible. Experts say using facets such as the military, community colleges, and going the extra mile to win scholarships are great ways to pursue the dream of higher education.
“It’s a dream that no one should give up on,” Walters said.

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