With the cost of higher education rising, the financial burden can weigh heavily on military families with children pursuing a college degree. However, many financial aid resources are available specifically for military children. The summer is a great time to get a head start on compiling information, writing essays and completing applications.
If you’re thinking about a college education, here are some tips to get you started on the path to lessening this financial burden.
- Start applying for scholarships now.
You increase your chances of receiving scholarship funds when you apply for as many scholarships as possible. If you haven’t already applied for college scholarships, what are you waiting for? Applications are available for students as earlier as eighth grade in some cases. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) cannot be submitted before January 1 because it is based on household income from the prior tax year. However, you need to get the information needed for FAFSA as soon as you can. So, the earlier you can start finding, applying for and winning college scholarships, the better.
- Do your research.
For military children, finding scholarships is a bit easier because scholarships for children of active-duty service members or veterans are common. Our sister organization, the Fisher House Foundation has information tailored to military families and has an online scholarship search tool. You can also find many bloggers, like Semi-Delicate Balance, that have done research on scholarships available to military children. There are many general scholarship online tools as well, like College Board, Peterson’s and Fastweb. The U.S. Department of Education also has helpful resources to prepare for college. Most importantly, don’t fall victim to scholarship scams. Scholarship databases are free, and anyone who tries to guarantee scholarship funds for a fee is a scam.
- Get organized.
The key is to find scholarships that fit your experience and abilities. Be sure to have someone you trust proofread your essays. Finally, pay attention to the details, especially formatting and grammar. Check out these 12 tips to winning a scholarship to keep yourself on track. Whether it’s physically written down or on a digital spreadsheet, creating a calendar is the easiest way to keep track of deadlines and the applications on which you’re working.
- Submit your application on time.
What good is your application if you can’t submit it on time? Pay attention to your calendar and make sure you’re completing your applications with enough time to have someone review them, and for you to make any necessary corrections.
- Don’t stop searching.
With staggered scholarship application deadlines and new scholarships that come available daily, be sure to keep an eye on scholarship websites. If you can create an online scholarship profile, many times the website will notify you when a scholarship matching your criteria comes available. Take advantage of these tools to free up more time to work on applications. Especially with the numerous amount of military scholarships available, make sure that you don’t miss out on a scholarship that would be a great fit for you. Some branches of the military, like the Army and Marines, have scholarship foundations for children whose parents have served.
A final tip … Be patient. It may take a couple of tries but eventually you can find the perfect scholarship match.
Military families and children are well-equipped to handle the rigors of applying for college scholarships. It’s a tall task. But with the right amount of discipline and dedication you can arrive at college with the financial aid you need.
Posted on July 21 2017 in Blog