The Best Way To Pay For College

The Best Way To Pay For College

"How do you “CU” paying for college?"

That question is enough to drive any high school senior crazy. I see me as a senior in high school with a bright future ahead of me.  Like many of my friends, going to college was the only option for me. I narrowed down my college options to three choices, and all were private colleges. I knew I would have to finance at least some of my school with student loans, so in my impressionable 17-year-old mind, it didn’t matter if it was $10,000 or $100,000. After all, one of my teachers had once brilliantly stated in class, “Even if you default on your student loans, don’t worry about it! The bank can take away your house, but they can never take away your education.” (By the way, this is horrible advice because an employer can refuse to hire you if you have bad credit.)

After sitting down with my dad and having a talk about interest rates and how having unmanageable debt impacts your ability to buy a car, purchase a home or even get a credit card with a good interest rate, my college answer was obvious. One school offered me nearly half of my tuition in scholarships, while the rest offered me nothing. I sent in my housing deposit and was well on my way to being a college girl.

I could have stopped there, but instead, I looked to local organizations who offered scholarships. I won quite a few from a community bank, a police department, and even my high school’s alumni association, but here’s the sad fact: Only 20 other students out of 500 in my graduating class applied for these.

If you’re a high school senior, college student, graduate or someone who pays attention to our economy, you've probably heard something about the student loan crisis. Could all of the students plagued with loans have gotten an extra scholarship, even one for $100? I’m not sure, but I am sure that Santa won’t be delivering any scholarships this year. It may be December, but it’s certainly not too early. Work on scholarship applications during your time off so you won’t have to choose between school work and scholarships later on.

If I've kept you reading this far, you’re in luck. I’m putting an opportunity in front of you. American Eagle Credit Union is offering six scholarships, each worth $1,500, to high school seniors. Yes, you have to write an essay, but if you win the scholarship, isn’t it well worth it? Think about it. If you’d like to apply, fill out this application and return it to the credit union by March 13, 2015. If you have any questions, contact Joel McDaniel at

If you’re a high school senior, how do you “CU” offsetting the cost of college? If you’re in college or post-graduate, how did you go about driving down that sticker price?

Holiday Budgeting

Values vs. Short-Term Gain: Who Really Wins?