Archive | June, 2009

The “1-2-3” Approach to Paying for College

Posted on 21 June 2009 by admin

You can’t beat free money for college. That’s why smart students use a 1-2-3 approach to paying for college: first, use money that doesn’t have to be repaid—like grants and scholarships; second, explore federal loans; and third, fill any gap with private loans.

How do students find scholarships? What are some keys to qualifying for them? The following are some tips you can give your students to help them locate and take advantage of scholarship dollars.

Don’t rule yourself out. Scholarships are not limited to class valedictorians and star athletes. They’re awarded based on any number of factors—from career goals to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest.

Apply for as many awards as you qualify for. Even small awards can be helpful in covering costs such as books and other expenses, and, taken together, they can really add up.

Understand the conditions of the award. You may be required to maintain a specific grade point average or even play in an orchestra to qualify.

Proofread: Review everything before you send it. Having a typo on your application may limit your chances of being considered for a scholarship.

Enlist support: Supplement your application with personal letters of recommendation.

Pay attention to deadlines. Miss a deadline and you’ll likely miss out on scholarship money. You may even want to try to submit your application early to stand out from the crowd.

Follow up. Confirm that the organization sponsoring the scholarship received your application.

Send a thank-you note after you receive a scholarship. This small courtesy often has a disproportionately big effect.

Make use of free scholarship directories. Never pay for scholarship information. and are two reliable sources of free scholarship information.

More information about scholarships is available at and

Sallie Mae and Champions for Higher Education are registered service marks of Sallie Mae, Inc. The Sallie Mae Fund is a registered service mark of the Sallie Mae Fund. SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae, Inc., are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America. Copyright 2008 by Sallie Mae, Inc. All rights reserved. 11/08.

Comments (53)