One way that parents can help students cut college costs is to work with high school guidance counselors to develop college profiles that focus on students’ interests, aptitude, and economic situations. These profiles can direct students to colleges that suit their career objectives. Then, if students and their parents are flexible in the college selection process, they can save thousands of dollars in government loans.

For example, students whose career objectives do not require bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions may pursue technical programs at two-year colleges or technical schools. In addition to taking basic core courses in high school, these students may enroll in multiple occupational and technical courses, setting the stage for their desired career and leaving little, if any student debt behind.

Another way to cut education-related debt is with grants/scholarships. There are several factors directing student financial aid that remain the same year after year. First and foremost are national test scores. Some colleges use financial aid as a recruiting tool and give grants based on merit instead of need. Thus, academic scholarships are often saved as an admission bonus for students with elevated SAT and ACT scores.

Many students are not aware of the heavy national competition they face from students who have received concentrated exam preparation from tutors. Because of the acceptance of the national testing programs for academic scholarships and admission into the best schools, students seeking merit based award should consider tutorial assistance before their final testing date.

Other factors that remain constant include a students’s grade point average and the essay entry. Students with good GPAs can make themselves more attractive to admissions committees by passing several honors and/or advanced placement classes. Most colleges and universities do not require an essay to be submitted with an a application. But schools that do require essays place a great deal of significance on students’ ability to express their thoughts in an efficient manner.

For students who have a sincere desire to attend college but they don’t have excellent grades, there is hope. Most student grant aid is based on finanical need. Neither the Federal Pell Grant nor the Supplemental Educational grant focuses on grades, test scores and /or essays.

It’s never too late to begin a search for grants and scholarships, but the best time to begin the drive toward academic achievement is when a student is still in middle school. It’s at that point that parents can help direct students’ interests and abilities and form a college-prep plan that can lead to multiple institutional grants and scholarships in just a few more years.

It’s never too late

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