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Agrimarketing : AgCareers USA 2012
29 Once upon a time, there was a little mouse that spent his time scurrying around in search of scraps to eat. One day, the little mouse stumbled upon a BIG hunk of cheese. The little mouse couldn't believe his great luck --- he was set for life! Every day when he got hungry, he would scurry over to the secret place where he found this giant cheese and eat 'til his heart's content. He got very accustomed to always having his giant cheese to eat from; but one day when he went to get something to eat, he found that his giant cheese had gone moldy! The little mouse had finally run his luck with the giant cheese. Paying for college is a lot like being a little mouse with a giant cheese. For many of us, senior year of high school was a magical time filled with a plethora of scholarship applications and seemingly endless sources of free money to pay for college. This is all fine and dandy, but what happens when the honeymoon stage is over and our giant cheese has gone moldy? It seems that right about the time our funds from freshman year of college run out, so do the applications for scholarships. Fear not, little mouse --- there's still lots of giant cheese out there! True, it is harder to find, but believe me when I say there's still millions of dollars in scholarship awards for you to claim. You just have to know the proper technique to track down your next giant cheese. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GIANT CHEESE There are several types of financial aid out there, and it's good to know which sources to look for first and which sources to consider last when financing your education: Scholarships: Commonly funded through universities and private organizations such as clubs and community groups, scholarships normally have a more involved application process and are awarded to individuals who have similar interests as the organization or person who funds the scholarship. Grants: Programs funded through government that, just like scholarships, normally have specific preliminary requirements that the applicants must meet and are awarded to a specific group of individuals. Pell Grants (FAFSA): Using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, this is an award determined by financial need. All colleges and universities require this information each year you're enrolled, but filling it out before your university's priority deadline puts you in for more opportunities to get need-based scholarships. Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information regarding the FAFSA and Pell Grants. Student and Federal Loans: This is the last source of financial aid that you should consider each year to finish covering your cost of attendance. Federal loans for students and parents can be obtained by filling out the FAFSA. Private banks and financial institutions can be another source of lower interest loans for school. WHERE TO START LOOKING FOR GIANT CHEESE The most basic (and most important) part of getting scholarship awards to fund your education is to know where to look. Here are some good places to get started on your search for giant cheese: Scholarship Search Engines: Private web sites like www.fastweb.com can match you with scholarships you might be eligible for. They have thousands of scholarship programs in their database, but be forewarned: many are for national scholarship programs that are highly competitive; it's a good place to start, but most students have far better luck with local scholarship programs. Government and State Programs: Each state's respective State Board of Education web site has listings of statewide scholarship programs. Most of the scholarship programs listed are suited towards graduating high school seniors, but it's still important to take a look and see if there's something there for you. Professional-Technical Education FINDING THE NEXT GIANT CHEESE by Rachael Ashley, 2011-2012 AgCareers.com Campus Ambassador, University of Idaho AG & FOOD EMPLOYER GUIDE (more on page 30)
AgCareers Canada 2012