Save Money on College Costs

As it gets closer to the May/June season of graduations it’s time for many to think about college costs.

Even if you don’t think you will be awarded any income based grants, you should apply for aid using the FAFSA application just in case. It’s free to apply.

Remember to check that you want to have Work-Study grants on the FAFSA application. Work-Study grants allow for students have part-time jobs on campus. They are a great way to gain work experience and a decent wage.

Apply for grants from the school you’ll be attending as well as general grant clearinghouses such as Fast Web. Site should not charge you to have access to grant information.

Consider local, in-state schools as well as out-of-state schools. There are some very good bargains to be had in education. Don’t fall for the hype. Almost all undergrad degrees are equal. Going to a school with a great general reputation doesn’t mean that your major has a great department or that you’ll be offered a job automatically after graduation. Find a school that has a great department in your major and has great connections to jobs, research, etc.

Buy used textbooks. There is no reason to pay full price for textbooks. When you get on campus you’ll see notices from other students wanting to sell their old textbooks. Buying from other students is a great way to buy book cheaply. Another way to buy used textbooks is to visit the college bookstore or buy online.

Take out loans only as a last resort. Many students get stuck in student loan ruts.

Lastly, there are college and universities that will provide enough grants to make your college experience free! I found this list of 10 schools that will provide you with a great education and expect no payment.

For those that aren’t going off to college just yet, remember that high school students can:

– Take advance placement classes that will provide the student with college credit. Placement classes are available at high schools. Students sign up for these classes with their high school counselors. They are a great way to prepare students for the rigor of college coursework and shave a few dollars off of college costs.
– Take college courses at a community college while still in high school. Many students have done so well in their high school careers that by senior year they don’t plan on taking too many challenging classes. This is folly. Taking even two classes at a community college each semester over senior year, including summer, will knock off paying for a whole semester of college costs.

The Value of College

Many students are looking forward to the beginning of spring semester. They are hanging their hopes on earning a college degree, or graduate degree, that will help them get a job that will bring them stability, income, and a sense of pride. Too many of them will not achieve these things through college.

As we all know, college costs are going up while the return on investment (ROI) of college is decreasing. How many of us attended college, worked our butts off academically, graduated, and ended up in a job that has nothing at all to do with what we studied in college? Exactly! Why, then, do we still encourage our students to attend a school that will load them up with student loan debt while not provide them with a way to pay it off? Instead, why don’t we encourage students according to their interests.

For example, I have no idea why I went to college. Somewhere along the line I heard so many commercials for college that I started to believe that the only way to get out of poverty, because I grew up in, around the corner from, and was best friends with poverty, was to attend college, graduate, and get a fabulous job. No one told me that college costs are exorbitant and all jobs are not equal. Don’t get me wrong. I learned some great things in college: time management, networking, which fast food chain has the best $1 sandwich, but none of those things helped me get a job that paid more than $30,000. I know, I know.. if I would have gone into accounting, engineering, etc. I would have easily cleared that low threshold. My stumbling block was that I wanted to help my community.

After working for several companies, in a few states, I realized that what I really wanted to do was share the lessons I learned in the School of Hard Knocks with others in hopes that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes. It was a revelation! All those times I got in trouble in school for talking, laughing, acting, etc. were actually preparing me for a great career that I love. How much time, and money, would I have saved if I had been encouraged to do what earlier?

I’m not saying that college is bad. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t encourage students to pursue a college education. What I am saying is maybe we should encourage students to look at themselves and decide what strengths they have before we encourage everyone to attend a traditional 4 year college. Maybe some students would be better suited at a 2 year. Maybe some students would be better suited learning a trade.

Let’s start applying some critical thinking skills to what the value of college really is.

$500 Scholarship from Home Depot for Construction Trade Programs

From EC&M:

The Home Depot, Atlanta, recently established its first-ever trade scholarship program. Through the program, the company will award more than 600 students enrolled in building and construction trade programs $500 to help offset the cost of tuition, fees, books, and supplies. In total, more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded to support the future leaders of the building and construction industries this fall.

The Home Depot trade scholarship program is open to students nationwide currently enrolled in a building and construction trade school program at a college, university, or accredited educational institution who will be entering into the final year or term of their degree or career program. Winners will be selected based on academic performance, leadership, and work experience. English and Spanish applications are available online at The Home Depot Web site. The application deadline is June 20. Winners will be announced in September.

Scholarship for Undocumented Students in Los Angeles


Promoting College Access for Low Income and Immigrant Communities


Funding Your Future Scholarship

Application Deadline is: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


All application materials must arrive by Tuesday, 6/30, mailed together in a large envelope to:

Scholarship Program

Futuros Educational Services

6721 Leland Way #24

Los Angeles, CA 90028

If you have questions, please contact Paz Oliverez at 310.923.0803 or by email at

Minimum Student Requirements (High School Students):

· Be an undocumented immigrant student

· Have at least a 2.5 grade point average

· Be attending a high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

· Be available for future participation in Futuros College Access Mentoring Program (CAMP)

· Demonstrate financial need

Minimum Student Requirements (College Students):

· Be an undocumented immigrant student

· Have at least a 2.5 grade point average

· Be attending an accredited institution of higher education (i.e., CA Community College, CSU, UC, private college/university) located in southern California

· Be available for future participation in Futuros College Access Mentoring Program (CAMP)

· Demonstrate financial need

FINALISTS will also be required to participate in an in-person interview.