Grants for High School Students
Start Early Searching for College Funding
High school students begin planning for college on or around their sophomore year. Some advisors say this is even pushing it, but many students have no notion of career goals prior to this.
One of the most important issues facing college-bound students is where the money for tuition is coming from. Parents may have saved a bit, but probably not nearly enough. High school students may already have been pushed into after-school and summer jobs to help defray college expenses, but still we are talking about the tip of the tuition iceberg.
High school students aiming for a private college should expect tuition to exceed $20,000 annually. A state university will likely cost about half that much and a vocational or community college will cost around $5,000. No matter how you look at it, most students incur debt.
How to find Grant Money
The easiest route to finding grants for high school students may be through the college to which you are applying. Before the application part even happens, part of your exploration of the institution should be its grant and scholarship funding for undergraduate students. Surprisingly, small, private colleges that cost the big bucks are some of the more generous when it comes to disbursing grant money. Their goal is to diversify their student bodies; this makes for the most well-rounded college environment.
Also, make friends with your high school guidance counselor. He or she should already have developed a relationship with college-bound students with the goal of making sensible student-college fits.
Most states maintain quite comprehensive databases of student grant information. One of the more consistent programs is the federally-funded State Student Incentive Grant Program. This program makes it possible for individual states to award hundreds, even thousands of grants to undergraduate students who will attend colleges and universities within their home state.
Want to try something different right out of high school, but earn some funds for your college education at the same time? You might explore a volunteer organization such as Americorps. Americorps is a volunteer service organization that matches groups of volunteer individuals to not-for-profit, public, and high-need organizations that are in need of volunteers to work on projects. The advantage to an Americorps term of service is it engages you with other like-minded youth from across the country and may take you to different locations and regions and offer experience you would have not have received otherwise. Also, Americorps offers an educational funding incentive. For every year of Americorps service you are eligible for nearly $5,000 toward a college of your choice.