Paying for college can be one of the toughest parts of earning your degree. This year, more than half of college freshmen will be taking out some form of a student loan of $6,000 or more. A recent survey conducted by the College Savings Foundation found that only 49% of high school students have started saving for college. Yikes! What’s even scarier, many of them only have about $1,000 saved – that will barely take care of textbooks for the first year.
Whether college is a few weeks away or a few years down the road, Unison has tips, tools and other resources to help you find the best avenues for financing your education including savings, scholarships, loans and more!
The only way to have a chance at getting a scholarship is to apply! You’ll also never know where the FREE money is until you make the time and effort to find it. Your high school or college Student Services (or counselors) office will be one of the best places to start. Find scholarships that match your eligibility and their criteria on trusted websites such as Scholarships.com and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley, http://www.cffoxvalley.org. Also, look to your local Credit Union! Unison awards $1,000 to up to three (3) graduating seniors each year.
Ok, so you have applied for every scholarship, grant and federal loan out there but you could still use a little financial assistance to bridge that gap in your education expenses. The Unison Credit Union Smart Option Student Loan® by Sallie Mae® is, well, a smart option! The online application is easy and only takes about 15 minutes to complete. The link is on our website unisoncu.org under the Borrowing/Student Loans tabs.
The earlier you can start saving money for college the better. Set a minimum amount to put away each month. If a high school freshman started saving $100 each month for the next four years, he/she would have $4,800 to put towards college! Besides the basic savings account (which only takes $5 to get started here at Unison), you can research other savings plans such as Education Savings Accounts or types of 529 plans.