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Getting Your Hands on Free Money for College

Golden Valley Patch wants your comments and questions so we can help you navigate the college scholarship process.

FAFSA, eligibility, need analysis, meal plans, housing deposit...  If you’ve ever heard these words and broken out in a cold sweat, you might be the parent of a high school senior.

$37,990.  That’s not for four, not two, but one - one - year of college at a Minnesota private school my daughter hopes to attend.  The cost of public universities continues to climb significantly every year, too. 

My daughter is a senior in the Robbinsdale schools, and these kinds of numbers can keep us parents up at night praying for a miracle.  So barring divine intervention, most parents will be looking for financial aid.

You know all the Golden Valley schools have guidance counselors, but have you thought about contacting one of  them?  If my guess is correct, you'd love to reach out for help, but the whole process is so overwhelming, you're not even sure which question to start with first.

Here's some good news.  Golden Valley Patch is working on it.  We're talking with counselors at the Robbinsdale high schools, and we're working with college financial aid representatives to provide some concrete steps to navigate the financial aid labyrinth.

So help us help you.  I'll be posting some helpful advice next week, but in the meantime, we want to make sure we get your questions and concerns addressed.

What are you doing, or what have others done to successfully find, apply and receive scholarship money?  Where do you go to help navigate the thousands of scholarship applications, and what really pays off?

Whether you’re a senior writing yet another essay, a parent trying to cozy up to the financial aid representative or a veteran of this college aid process that can offer some advice, we want to hear from you!

Patricia Aviezer March 02, 2011 at 05:47 PM
I am a private counselor who specializes in college counseling. One of the first suggestions that I would make is not to wait until your senior to apply for scholarships. There are scholarships available starting in 9th grade. A free website that I recommend to my students and families is: www.fastweb.com. You create a profile and the site will send you a list of scholarships that match you everyday. Please make sure you have exhausted your local scholarship opportunities as well, your high school should have a list-make sure you get a new one monthly!
Mary Costello March 02, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Thanks, Patricia. As Gail was researching this, she found many experts advise against using websites that cost money to use. So thanks for this website suggestion and for your other thoughts. -Mary
valerie broughton May 10, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Hi, There are consultants in the Twin Cities who can help you locate the best college at the most affordable price. The services we provide are not to find outside scholarships, but to match your student with the colleges where scholarships are available for a student with your child's strengths. Like Pat, I am a privatee counselor who specializes in college counseling. Help is definitely available. Valerie Broughton

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