BY LENEL MATTEK
One of the biggest struggles college students is finances. Education is priceless but not cheap. Financial aid helps, but many students are in the dark about the many opportunities for students of any age to receive help.
“The biggest overlooked financial aid opportunity is simply scholarships,” said Robert Farrington, founder of The College Investor. “Seriously! There are millions of scholarships out there but students really need to spend the time finding them and applying (and many don’t want to).
“Some key places to look include parent’s employers, local organizations, business groups, trade groups, and nonprofits. Many colleges and universities also have scholarships available.”
Farrington also recommends that work in both high school and college. “Employment is the best way for students to gain real world skills, and at the same time earn money to help pay for college,” he said.
“Many students don’t seek aid through the most popular channels; such as completing the FAFSA for Federal student aid,” said Mary Lewis, director financial aid at IRSC.
“Many think the application is too complicated, so they don’t try at all,” she said. “However, most community colleges assist students with completing the FAFSA.
There are many scholarship opportunities at the college or university the student may be trying to attend, Lewis said. They have to go online to the website to apply for those, but many students don’t think to do that.
Students can also seek scholarships through the Internet, but they must be very careful because there are also many scams out there.
“If a scholarship application requires you to ‘pay’ money, it’s not worth your time and your chances of getting it are very slim,” she said.
Scholarship Development Coordinator Julia T. Keenan is a free resource for IRSC students.
“Every year, thousands of students looking for financial assistance to help them better afford a college education benefit from scholarships provided through the Indian River State College Foundation,” she said. “Last year, nearly 2,700 students were awarded $2.6 million in scholarships to help them further their educational goals.
The college is now accepting scholarship applications for new and returning students for the 2016-17 school year with a Jan. 31 deadline.
“With hundreds of unique scholarships to apply for, every IRSC student should take the time to see what scholarships may be available to them through the IRSC Foundation, Keenan said.
“Scholarships are awarded based on career interests, academic achievement, organizational affiliation, county of residence and other criteria. Information,” she said.
Applications are available online at www.irscfoundation.org and the MyIRSC dashboard,” she said.