Paying for college is becoming increasingly harder every year as it continues to get more expensive. With a crippling 70% of graduates owing a significant amount of student debt totaling $1.5 Trillion in America, it’s more important than ever for new students to explore options outside of loans. Here are five myths and facts to help you make smart financial decisions as you enter the new and exciting world of college.
FACT: College is expensive
Unless your last name rhymes with millionaire, chances are a college education can significantly set both you and your family back financially. With an undergraduate degree costing anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 a year in tuition alone, it’s no wonder our nation’s youth is drowning in student debt.
And if you think college is expensive today, expect it to increase in the following years. According to a Forbes article published earlier this year, the price of attending college is rising 8 times faster than wages. With a degree becoming increasingly unaffordable each year, it’s essential to consider alternatives to out-of-pocket costs and loans such as scholarships and grants in order to lessen the financial blow of an education.
MYTH: Only 4.0 students get scholarships
What if I told you there’s a world out there that values more than a perfect GPA? Sure, it is easier to get scholarships with better grades, but it’s not the sole deciding factor for universities and scholarship donors. Everybody has heard of the importance of getting A’s and scoring high on the SAT or ACT; what isn’t stressed enough are other ways to equally demonstrate your future potential through solid writing skills and strong community involvement.
Believe it or not, colleges and scholarship donors alike are willing to overlook if you got B’s your sophomore year or if you weren’t the best at Chemistry. What they’re looking for, are well-rounded individuals who not only possess the passion and drive to make things happen but can also showcase an ability to use available resources to reach their goals.
Don’t be discouraged by thinking you need to have the cure for cancer in order to receive an award. It’s a lot simpler than it seems. If you’ve been deeply involved in your community, have been working on something you care deeply about, or have overcome major adversity in your life, there’s someone out there that wants to help you achieve your dreams.
FACT: Student loans are not the easier option
Not everyone can afford college, so taking out a need-based loan to pay for your undergraduate degree may be something you can’t forgo. However, before you sign up for such a large amount of debt, there are a few things you must consider.
Applying for a student loan sounds easier than applying for a grant or scholarship. While that may be true in terms of initially acquiring the money, the dangers and consequences of procuring a hefty sum of debt are far greater than the potential inconvenience to apply for as many scholarships as you can. In other words, try to borrow as little as possible and find other ways to help pay for college.
A big assumption students often make is that they will find their dream job the moment they graduate with a salary to match it. Sadly, that often isn’t the case. Not only do some entry-level positions barely pay enough to cover the average cost of living in a major city, the average graduate takes over 7.4 months to find a job in the first place. Combine the time you’re out of work with accumulating 4% interest on a $40,000 -$160,000 debt, and say hello to a lifetime of student loan payments.
Taking the time to apply to 50 scholarships in hopes of getting a few and enjoying your hard-earned paychecks after graduating doesn’t sound that bad anymore, does it?
MYTH: Your odds of getting a scholarship are slim
The first and most crucial step to getting a scholarship is to apply. You may think there’s so many overqualified applicants that the likelihood of getting that scholarship is akin to winning the lottery. Fortunately for you, that’s just not true!
Here are a couple reasons your prospects of winning are better than you think. Many students focus on University-given awards and government grants, overlooking outside opportunities through foundations. Sounds silly to discount free money, but how many times have you heard a friend picked a school based on the amount of money they offered vs. going to their school of choice thanks to the help of a foundation?
Still not encouraged enough to apply? Neither are a lot of people! The common myth that scholarships are nearly impossible to get discourages plenty of perfectly qualified candidates from even applying. Your chances of winning increase 100% by simply submitting an application, so take a chance and just do it!
Someone has to win, why shouldn’t it be you?
FACT: GVTC wants to help pay for your higher education
At GVTC, we want to reward students who share our passion for giving back to the community by helping pay for their higher education. This year alone, The GVTC Foundation will be awarded four students within our service area with two $20,000 university scholarships and two vocational scholarships up to $5,000. That’s a grand total of $50,000 for higher education!
As in previous years, one senior high school student who exhibits outstanding leadership qualities and has used innovation or technology to make a positive impact in our community will receive the Ritchie T. Sorrells Leadership Scholarship, and another $20,000 scholarship will be awarded to a college bound graduate exemplifying extraordinary service, volunteer work and involvement in their local community with the Ola Armstrong Scholarship. #0000076105-001-2
We understand that not everyone envisions going to a four-year university, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t prepare for adulthood with life skills to enhance their communities and support themselves. That’s why in 2019, GVTC is adding two vocational scholarships each worth $5,000.
If you are a graduating senior in high school from a household subscribed to at least one GVTC service, you can apply to one of our four scholarships available through The GVTC Foundation. To learn more about these opportunities and to see if you qualify, click here for more details.