College expenses are rising an average of 7 to 10 percent per year. At that rate, the cost of going to college could triple by the time your toddler is ready to go.
Fortunately, there are millions of dollars worth of free scholarships available if you know where to look.
Your child gets into Yale University medical school. You stop celebrating when the tuition bill arrives.
“My girlfriend is in her first year there. She just took out a loan for $38,000,” says one student.
And that’s not even including other expenses. It costs around $50,000 a year.
That kind of change isn’t generally lying around. But financial help is available through more than $1 billion worth of college scholarships. Tapping into that motherlode requires a bit more effort than your regular load of homework.
“So I just applied and I thought what’s the worst that could happen?,” says David Myles.
David started his scholarship quest during his sophomore year of high school.
“I might have applied to 50 or 60 scholarships and after 10 to 15, the essays started to resemble each other. So casting your net wide is very helpful,” David says.
It took awhile to hear back.
“I started in October and for 1.5 years, I didn’t hear anything until March of my senior year,” David says.
The wait was worth it.
How much money did David get from the seven scholarships?
“Including the one I got from Yale?,” David says. “Approximately, $500,000.”
How do you get that kind of cash? Having good grades helps, but David says it’s important to stay involved in extra curricular activities.
“I did a lot more through the school I was attending, my high school, through the guidance counselors there, as well as church organizations, places of worship, my job and my parent’s jobs, all of which I obtained money from during the years,” David says.
Degrees in computers, mathematics and the sciences have more scholarship opportunities than if you’re studying liberal arts, but financial aid experts say there are plenty of scholarship dollars, many of which attract just a few applicants.
Start your search at some of the 2 million scholarship sites, including www.fastweb.com and www.scholarships.com. Books like Kaplan’s Scholarships: More Than $1 billion In Free Money for College and How To Go To College For Almost Free provide some great handholding.
“It’s definitely helped my parents in that I have a younger brother who started his first year and he’s costing a little, but it’s been a big blessing,” David says.