In January, I was at Phoenix Christian High School (PCHS) presenting my “Making College More Affordable” workshop. After my presentation, a mother of a PCHs student was gracious enough to share her expertise in finding college financial aid/scholarship money. Scholarships are not a part of my college financial planning practice, so I was very impressed by what I learned.
This PCHS family is a typical middle class family with college aspirations for their sons. After learning how much money they were expected to pay for college, they were devastated. They could not afford to pay what the government expected them to pay. If they wanted their boys to go to college, they needed a different strategy. They decided to get proactive and serious about finding college financial aid /scholarships money. They wanted their sons to have every opportunity to attend any college they could get into AND not go broke in the process!
Parents need to understand that the government expects families to pay for college. It is the family’s obligation to pay and sadly, there is no “free ride”. This financial expectation is measured by the EFC or Expected Family Contribution. The EFC is the amount of money the government expects you to pay, each year, to educate one child. For basic math, the EFC is about 25% of your gross income. So you see, all families will be expected to pay something for college.
This PCHS family started their search with the "Million Dollar Scholar"; http://milliondollarscholar.com/. Yes, it’s true, a student actually found over a million dollars in financial aid money! Every week, this PCHS student looked for eligible scholarships and filled out the applications. Every weekend, student and mom would review his progress on each application and chart their progress. To date, this student has collected over 40 different scholarships ranging from $250 to $2000 dollars. He has accumulated over $40,000 in financial aid money to apply to the college of his choice and he’s not done yet!
I have always said, if your student takes on finding scholarships like a part time job, applying to 30-40 scholarships, not 2-3 scholarships, they will accumulate significant financialaid/scholarship money. It does take time, organization, and commitment but when was the last time your kid made $100 an hour or $500 for that matter!
College is a very expensive venture and requires significant financial resources. Getting your child involved with their success by engaging in the most lucrative part time job ever, can make a significant impact to a families check book and, I might even add, your student’s character!
This is truly the most lucrative job your high school student will ever have. Now get them hunting!