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PUBLISHED: 5:08 PM on Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Paying for college
With graduation quickly approaching, parents of high school seniors are starting to consider how exactly they will pay for the higher education that some of the students will pursue.

The first step, said Dr. Troy Johnson, a university dean of enrollment management, is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA determines the level of financial aid the government will give per student.

In addition to getting some possible grants and low-interest loans, the FAFSA is also required for many scholarship applications and loans from other entities.

Government money that is available includes the Pell Grant, which students do not have to pay back, student loans, which are low-interest and are deferred until after the student graduates, and parent loans, which are also low-interest.

In addition to the FAFSA, Johnson said students should fill out the university scholarship application, which has opportunities for scholarships for everything from first- generation college students to regional awards.

The work-study program, also awarded based on need, allows students to get jobs in campus offices to earn some extra cash, and the offices are able to work around their class schedules.

Checking with outside organizations is another place that might have some extra money.

Clubs such as Rotary or Daughters of the American Revolution are just a couple of places that often offer scholarships.

Often, high school counselors or the financial aid office at the university will have information on how to apply or who to contact for more information.

"The most important thing to do is to apply," Johnson said.

"There is an immense amount of money out there.

"If you don't apply, you are selling yourself short. You don't know until you apply what is available."

To find more scholarships that are available, students can check out the scholarship searches online at www.salliemae.com and www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Both searches will search for scholarships the student is eligible for, based on background, region and interests.

Once the results are in, all that's left is applying for the cash.


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