Hello Class of 2008!
Great news, you are being accepted to the colleges of your choice, you are picking out your dorms and residence halls...and you are getting your award packages in the mail...and the gap between what you can afford and what you need to attend is enormous. What do you do?
First of all...DON'T PANIC!
There are options. Contact your Admissions representative at your university of choice (there should be several universities of choice) and tell them your problem. See if there are merit scholarships within the university that you are eligible for that can begin to fill the gap.
Go to Fastweb.com and look at at scholarships that you can apply for with immediate deadlines and money that is disbursed before August 1, 2008...around the time you will need to have your gaps filled.
Okay, so you're a good student, fine in sports, but not the top NCAA recruit. That doesn't mean you can't play college sports. Let's suppose that you play basketball at your high school (men or women), and you don't play well enough for consideration for a scholarship to your university. Look at some of the other sports...fencing, rowing, etc. Maybe they have some spots open in those areas because there are not enough student athletes to recruit for that particular sport at that particular school.
Contact the Athletic Director, or the coach in that sport. Find out if they need what you have to offer, and let them tell you what you need to do to get in the NCAA Clearinghouse. You may have enough talent, or they may be willing to work with you, and give you some athletic grant-in-aid to meet the gaps in your education funding.
Look at organizations in your community for scholarships: Elks, Rotary, local unions, etc. There may be some scholarships that you or your student may qualify for that could reduce those costs.
Also, some universities have their own financing programs.. You and/or your parents sit down with your prospective university's financial aid representative and see if they can come up with monthly payments you may be able to afford. Do this before going to some predatory lender.
As a matter of fact, if the Financial Aid Package contains an extraordinarily large portion of outside lending (beyond the university and federal loans and grants), I would seriously reconsider that university for myself and /or my child.
If you/your student is a good student (3.5 or higher GPA, good SAT/ACT scores, plenty of leadership skills and great AP/IB test scores), your student should look at all awards packages from every university they applied to very, very carefully. One of the points of consideration should be: how deep in debt am I going to get sending myself/my child to this school?
There are great schools with great names, and then there are great schools who may not be as well known, but are fully capable of meeting your student's needs, as well as giving them an attractive financial aid package (awards package). Small, private universities can be very competitive in terms of offerings in the classroom, and for the pocket. Hear everyone out, and see what they are willing to do for your very good student. Don't be afraid to tell a university that you prefer that another school has offered more merit money than they have. If they are worth their salt, they will at least try to match that offer.
There is no way we can afford the university I got in to...now what do I do?
Don't panic. There are a lot of fine universities that take students on a Rolling Admission basis. Even at this late point, there are schools that you can apply to that will give you an admission decision in weeks, not months. From there, they may have sufficient merit aid to help you. Many smaller schools are very generous. Keep applying to independent scholarships! Ask for an application fee waiver if you can't afford to pay yet another application fee.
The key is to not give up! Keep your head up. If you have been accepted to a college, you know that you have done what is necessary. Now, the key in this tough financial climate is to go where you can afford to go, and to a university that will give you the skills and the business connections to be successful; that combination does exist!
Falcon and Dove
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Hello Class of 2008!