Attending college now easier with scholarships

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With the continual rise in tuition and college fees, more students today rely on scholarships to help pay their through college.

The good news is that college scholarships and grants are readily available to students willing to do the research. They are a good way to finance education because scholarships do not need to be repaid.

“Colleges and universities offer merit-based scholarships that recognize a student’s academic, athletic or artistic talents; some even offer full tuition scholarships, often called trustee or presidential scholarships,” said college admissions expert Dr. Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise, an internationally recognized college admissions counseling company.

Scholarships are available for many categories of students, not just the straight A achievers.

Senior Dana Fuerte said, “I’m applying for scholarships that Mr. Fong, my college counselor, suggested based on my SAT scores and academic performance. Also, I’m applying for scholarships suggested on sites such as the Hawaii Community Foundation web site.”

The Hawaii Community Foundation web site uses students’ information and awards financial support to qualifying students. On the site, the foundation provides information for scholarship applicants.

“On the web site, the application process was not difficult and was convenient. I had to fill out one application for every scholarship and answer any additional questions for each scholarship. I also finished filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a federal student aid that is applicable to everyone, but the amount of money awarded depends on the individual’s household income,” said Fuerte.

College counselor Randy Fong said,“There is also a scholarship listing from Family Connection (Naviance) that students can look at for scholarship applications. Futhermore, there are local scholarships that can be applied for, like the University of Hawaii, Rotary clubs, fastweb.com and wiredscholars.com.”

While such financial aid is available to many, most scholarships have specific requirements. Serious research is required by students to see if they qualify.

Senior Maya Waldrep said, “I started researching and applying for scholarships in December. I also have applied for six different scholarships so far.”

In addition to academic scholarships, a good idea involves applying for athletic, art and musical scholarships for those who have interest in those fields.

“I have applied for a ballet scholarship as well as merit-based/extra-curricular scholarships. It is my passion to dance and perform so I decided to apply for that kind of scholarship as well. It is very time consuming but even if I received one, the free money would be worth the time,” said Waldrep.

Junior Chloe Camello has begun her search early.

“I am now starting to look up possible applications during the summer to get scholarships. I make sure to read the requirements and to start building a good resume,” said Camello.

With 85 percent of students receiving scholarships, grants and financial aid  according  to National Center for Education Statistics, finding scholarships is attainable if students take the time to thoroughly research and apply. A little preparation in advance can ease the enormous financial burden higher education seems to bring these days.