Future college students strive for financial support

A multitude of payment options are being offered to graduating students in order to financially help them through their college journey.
There are different ways to help pay for college through types of payment. The three available are grants, loans, and scholarships, each one having its own meaning, requirements and award. Grants allow students to receive money because of their financial need.
“Grants typically are awarded by the government through filling out the FAFSA. This is free money that does not have to be paid back. Grants are often given out based on financial need. This is why it’s so critical to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January instead of waiting until the spring – government money runs out!” said guidance counselor Shannon Garcia
Loans must be payed back, and usually award a larger outcome of money.
“Loans are offered through the government (or private companies if students seek them out). These become available based on the FAFSA, as well, and they do need to be paid back. Most loan payments can be deferred until you graduate, though, so you don’t have to pay them while you’re still attending college,” Garcia said.
Other scholarships are based on academic level, and the higher performing student one is, the more aid they are able to recieve.
“Scholarships are usually merit-based, meaning they are earned by meeting specific criteria (i.e. good grades, leadership roles, community service, etc). Many universities offer scholarships based on GPA and ACT scores when they offer acceptance to their university,” Garcia said.
Scholarships can ease the financial trouble that many students encounter through their college career, but only if they seek them out. Students need to apply for scholarships, and North has plenty of help that they are willing to offer.
“Students must apply for scholarships (other than those directly awarded to them through admittance to a university). Requirements vary much like they do for college applications – some scholarships require specific GPAs, ACT scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and a list of activities/community involvement. At North, we have both local and general scholarship packets in the College and Career Center. We update these packets monthly and post them under the guidance tab on our school’s webpage,” Garcia said.
Scholarships are very beneficial to those who do apply for them, and both students and faculty advocate for students to seek these opportunities.
“It’s basically like free money. College is expensive these days, so everyone could use some extra money for college and books,” said senior Alex Kendzior.
Not only will scholarships provide financial help, but applying for them will also teach students life lessons.
“Even more important than the money is empowerment. It encourages students to take ownership of their college experience and goals,” said head of social studies department Christopher Kubic
Plenty of scholarships are being offered here at Grayslake North, and anyone interested should go to the College and Career Center to check it out.