By Marcela Evans
Your senior year of high school is such an exciting time. Your high school career is almost over and you’ve picked the colleges you want to attend. What is the next step?
No, the answer is not how to decorate your dorm room (that comes later). You need to start thinking about how to pay for the next two, three, four, or more years of school.
A college education is expensive. The costs soar with the tuition and fees, food, housing, books and assorted extras. According to The College Board (www.collegeboard.com) the price of a private four-year university comes in at a little over $20,000 per year, and the price of a public four-year university is around $5000.
That big price tag might be discouraging, but don’t fret. Did you know that the government and numerous organizations give out free money? Some students even pay for their entire college education through grants and scholarships. Lucky for Latinas, financial aid opportunities aimed at Hispanics abound. Simply doing an internet search for “scholarships for Hispanic girls” resulted in 96,500 hits. Many schools offer their own scholarships for individuals of Latin American descent. In addition to this, numerous private organizations also offer scholarships. You can find scholarships for Hispanic journalists, future business majors, engineers, creative writers, graphic designers, community activists, Salvadoreñas, Mexicanas and many other specific groups. You’ll have better luck if you start scholarship hunting early in high school.
Searching for opportunities can be daunting. You can start by searching the internet or visiting your local book store or library. Check out these online resources: www.finaid.org, www.brokescholar.com and www.fastweb.com. A good publication to read is the Directory of Financial Aids for Women. In addition, many organization’s websites have scholarships listed, like:
- Latin American Educational Foundation, www.laef.org
- The Hispanic College Fund, Inc, www.hispanicfund.org
- The Gates Millennium Scholars, www.gmsp.org
- The Sallie Mae Fund, www.thesalliemaefund.org
What’s great about all these opportunities? Well, you can apply for and receive several different scholarships. Remember to be mindful of the application deadlines and requirements and start looking!