Helping your child pay for college

March 10, 2009 9:49:47 PM PDT
Seniors at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics worked very hard to score well on their recent college entrance exams.

"We were nervous, like usual, but we were well prepared and it went well," Miladys Perez said.

You can find online resources to help in the search for college money by clicking here.

The pressure is on, now more than ever before, for students to do well on the standardized tests, not just for college admission, but to qualify for scholarships and financial aid in our very weak economy.

"It's very important because I need as much financial aid as possible," Ashley Vargas said.

This school works with Kaplan, the test preparation company, to prepare its students for the big tests, either SAT or ACT. These days companies such as Kaplan do not stop there.

"In addition to the test preparation piece, one of the things we really focus on is, you know, the basics of how to get into college, what is the process, what to do, and the same goes for financial aid," Kristen Campbell said.

Kaplan advisers suggest that their clients carefully evaluate any financial aid package to consider the net cost of tuition; They say students could be able to negotiate a better deal; there are a number of tools to research scholarships.

"Financial aid is very important. I mean, my parents are still paying off college debts and they're well into their professions now," Victor Lekweuwa said.

Federal loans are cheaper than private loans, and students should submit their free applications for federal student aid of any kind immediately since applications are up 20 percent this year.

"It's tough now trying to make sure your kid's going to the next level of education being the way the economy is right now," parent Ron Childs said.

Ron and Via Childs' daughter, Joivonnah, has earned a full merit scholarship to college, in part, by winning an essay contest.

"It's a really hard process. Really difficult, but it's totally worth it," she said.

Families are reminded that there are still ways to find financial aid, with a little homework.

You can find online resources to help in the search for college money by clicking here.