Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where's My Money?

As I sit down at my computer desk for about the fourth straight hour, my first reaction is to start typing a meaningless essay when suddenly- BAM! I snap out of it and realize I'm actually working on my blog. Oh, silly me. I guess it's easy to forget such things when I'm applying for every other opportunity for free cash pushed my way. Everything just sort of starts to blend together... I start to wonder what's what anymore. And I got to thinking... I'm sure the readers at HCHS wonder, too. So, here's a handy blog about all the ka-ching that's up for grabs!

First off, fill out the FAFSA, or at least plan to. What's the FAFSA, you ask? Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you want financial aid for college, you'll need to fill it out after January 1st. It's like a report of all the money your family made filed after taxes and junk. It's super important if you want big money, like myself!

Alrighty, got that handled? Well, here ya go then. There's the obvious: Scholarships. Seniors, if you haven't tried for at least one yet, you might want to get on that. Why? Because these are arguably one of the best ways to go about paying for college. All you really do is ask for money, and private organizations/loaded individuals give it to you. Cake money! You don't have to pay it back, and there's a million and one of them out there to apply for. Are you smart? Here's some money! Are you super broke? Here's some money! Are you a stud on the b-ball court? Here's some money! Are you not talented, but still want money? Here's some money, now go work hard in college! You're in business.

Next up, it's grants. These are a lot like scholarships, except instead of private money, you're getting it from the largest cash cow ever spawned: THE GOVERNMENT. Yes, I see the dollar signs flickering on in your eye sockets now. You still need to apply for them, and if you get them, they still don't need to be paid back. Alright!

Then there's my least favorite: Loans. These don't require you to be anything special, but you have to pay them back. Obviously, if it comes down to loans or no college, you should go for loans. In the end, a college degree is probably going to get you a job where you can pay off your debt eventually. This is what Mr. Swanson would call "good debt". It'll pay off in the end.

While you're in college, there's a few other things you can do to pay for it.

Work-Study is offered at some schools. Basically, your money from a part-time job program goes right back into your schooling. In theory, it kind of stinks that this isn't 'free money' but, hey, maybe you can get a sweet job on campus related to your major or something you're interested in. Work can be fun, right?

Also, have you considered military service? If you're not exactly sure what you want to do with your life yet, but you're confident you'll figure it out eventually and don't want to waste your time in the meanwhile, maybe you should enlist. You can learn discipline, make some tough friends (that could probably totally back you up in a fist fight), and it looks pretty killer on job applications. Plus, the military tends to pay a pretty big chunk (if not all) of your schooling. Kaaaa-ching!!!

To be completely honest, there's one hundred and one ways to pay for college. I haven't really tapped the well of coinage there is out there that could be yours. If you want to get a degree, it's not impossible. Just work hard in high school and work just as hard on your applications. Are there some really good ways you'd like to share? Any questions you have about the previous methods? Be sure to leave a comment! This has been Danielle Hernandez, for HCHS News. You stay classy, Harlan!

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