May 2018 Birmingham Parent

Page 12


12 Tips: How to Pay for College without Taking Out Loans By Pam Molnar

1. Start by getting good grades in high school. Your GPA and ACT/SAT scores will award you merit scholarships without even having to apply for them. Many schools have charts and scholarship calculators where prospective students can plug in their scores to reveal their automatic breaks. 2. Take AP courses or college credit courses. Many high schools offer dual enrollment college credit courses through a local community college. In addition, students taking AP classes in high school can test at the end of the school year and those who receive a C or higher on the test will get college credit for the class. The AP test is about $100 – much less than the cost of a college class and corresponding books. 3. Apply for national scholarships. Before you apply, make a list of all your associations as well as those of your

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immediate family. There are scholarships available for left-handers, children and grandchildren of war veterans and family of members of groups such as the Lions Club. Check out websites like or books like “The Ultimate Scholarship Book” by Gen and Kelly Tanabe for an unbelievable list of scholarships available to you. 4. Local scholarships. Check out your high school’s website for information on local businesses, churches and sports organizations offering scholarships. While none of them offer full rides, the generous $500 to $1000 scholarships add up quickly and cover things like books, housing and travel expenses that merit scholarships don’t cover. 5. Sport scholarships. Only 2 percent of high school athletes are offered some form of athletic scholarship and the

opportunity to compete in college. Some athletes seek less popular sports such as bowling or rugby, hoping for a smaller pool of scholarship contenders. Be aware that some small, private colleges do not offer athletic scholarships at all. 6. Get a summer and on-campus job. If a student works 20 hours at $7.25 per hour, they will gross $145 a week. Even after minimal taxes, that is more than $5,000 per year. 7. Consider joining a public service program. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, National Health Service Corps or ROTC often offer college scholarships, reduced loans or deferred loans in exchange for service. 8. Consider community colleges. They offer a lot of great college savings. Classes are available during the day or evening, so you can work full or

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