This week marks the start of another school year at many colleges throughout the state. A college degree can be one of the best investments you make in your lifetime, but it comes at a cost. According to Forbes, graduates collectively owe $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, with an average of $37,172 per student from the class of 2016. That is why applying for scholarships is so essential in helping you bridge the gap between the increasing cost of tuition and what you and your family can afford to pay out of pocket. I’ve put together a list of reasons why you should apply for scholarships NOW!
More Value Per Dollar
Every scholarship dollar that you are awarded helps more than you would think. If you were chosen to win a $1,000 scholarship, you wouldn’t have to take out an extra $1,000 in loans. This saves you more than the initial $1,000 in the long-run, as you have to pay interest during repayment. And the longer it takes you to pay that money back, the more it will end up costing you. Apply any scholarships you receive to your tuition or other college-related costs immediately rather than saving it to cover your payment costs down the road.
State Support Has Decreased
It seems as though the U.S has weathered the worst of the recession, but there are many states that are still recovering from the economic slump. Budget cuts to public service funding, which includes higher education, is common. Because of this, public colleges and universities have increased tuition to compensate. You’ll need to pay more to attend and scholarships can help you out when you fall short.
The Cost Of Living Is Up
Not only have tuition costs increased, but so has the cost of living. Rent prices are at an all time high. And unless you’re able to live at home with your parents and commute to school, high rent prices are hard to avoid. It’s a safe bet to plan on paying a lot more than your parents, or even your older siblings, did for your apartment, food, books and other supplies. Even if you are fortunate enough to have your tuition costs covered by grants, apply for scholarships to help out with your cost of living.
Your Parents Can’t Help
As much as they’d love to, not all parents can afford to help you with the cost of your education. While parents still value contributing whatever they can toward your future, the amount that families can afford to contribute has declined. A study by Sallie Mae shows that families who planned to cover few if any of college costs has risen, while those planning to cover more than the half of costs have dropped. Most parents plan on contributing less than $5,000, which is barely enough to cover four years of college textbooks.
Bucks For Books Is Back!
Bucks for Books is a fun scholarship in a contest format that can help you with your textbook costs. You can enter to win a random drawing of $500, $300 or $200 in CASH prizes! And if you have an Instagram, don’t forget to enter the Bonus Bucks Battle for a chance at winning an additional $500! All you need to do is post a photo of yourself at your school and hashtag #Bucks4BooksME. If you’re a college student from Maine or attending college in Maine, you’re eligible, so get your entry in by September 15! Good luck!
Have you applied for any scholarships yet? I’d love to know!