If you think a college education is totally out of reach... think again. Yes, the pricetag for school is daunting.
Attending an in-state, public university or college runs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Private schools, Colorado College or D.U., The University of Denver... the pricetag: $40,000 a year.
An out of state school will again cost you at least 40-grand a year.
But don't panic. Schools say you don't have to come up with all that dough yourself.
Deanna Thirkell, a senior at Lewis Palmer High says, "There are a lot of scholarships you can apply for. I'm an applicant for the Boettcher Scholarship... which is a full-ride to any Colorado school so that would definitely help." Thirkell is a valedictorian candidate with quite an impressive resume, but she's a little stressed by the whole college-shopping process.
She's hoping her passion for children and volunteering at Palmer Lake Elementary will lead to scholarship opportunities to Colorado College.
Jim Swanson,the Director of Financial Aid at Colorado College says, "Here at Colorado College about 60 percent of our students receive some sort of financial aid."
At the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 68 percent of the
study body receives financial aid.
Brooke Koenig, A UCCS financial aid counselor says, "No, you don't have to be that 4.2 G.P.A. and president of your study body, no. Most of our scholarship recipients aren't."
Both schools suggest all students apply online for FAFSA... Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They say it's the springboard for everything else like free money in the form of scholarships and grants.
Koenig adds, "Even Bill Gate's child can qualify for a student loan so it doesn't matter what your income level is, there still is help available."
We learned of everything from $1,000 College Invest Scholarships... which are randomly handed out every year to 70 Colorado students... no matter what the G.P.A. or need... to service scholarships... free money for performing community service... as well as loan forgiveness programs... which can erase what you owe up to $4,000 a year... if you enter teaching, nursing, early childhood development, or law enforcement.
Educational consultant Shirley Darling says the biggest mistake families make.. is not even applying for financial aid. Darling adds, "Most people don't think that they qualify and they're surprised that they do."
The courses you take, your G.P.A., class rank, ACT and SAT scores, as well as extracurricular activities... are also huge considerations.
But the bottom line... don't be intimidated by the process. UCCS offers free help to anyone. In February, college financial aid officers will offer a free seminar... to help fill out those lengthy financial aid forms. We'll keep you posted.
The following are some helpful links as you investigate your choices for college: