Academic scholarship money is much easier to obtain than athletic scholarship money. Coaches like smart athletes. If you apply for academic scholarship as part of your college application, it is likely that you will be granted some financial support from the universities academic scholarship fund.
Scholarship applications take time and energy. Often scholarship money remains unclaimed because people just don’t have the time or energy to apply. Start early and you will be the lucky student who gets the money.
If you are a First Generation or First-in-Family student you must search the web for scholarships. There are far too many opportunities for us to list here, but you owe it to yourself to do a little research. You will be surprised!
NCAA Eligibility Center – www.eligibilitycenter.org
High School student-athletes should register before they start their Junior year of High School. It takes time to attain NCAA amateur status and all coaches who need athletes review those who register to find possible recruits. This site will tell you every university that has a NCAA wrestling team. The information you enter is like a resume and you do have the opportunity to sell yourself.
Student Financial Aid – www.fafsa.gov
For California State Grants you need to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2nd of your Senior year in High School. This is very difficult because your family will be worn out from filing college applications. Also, you must make sure the school counselor provides Cal Grant GPA verification before the March 2nd deadline. If your school does not provide this service you can download the form at (http://www.csac.ca.gov). Federal Grant deadlines are much later, but you should file before the state deadlines for the schools you sent applications to.
Everyone should fill out a request for financial aid. The formulas for aid are complicated and the only way you will know for sure is to fill out the application. Almost every student will qualify for low interest rate student loans. And many are surprised when they qualify for government grants. Grants are government gifts that never need to be paid back. You must have a current fafsa on file to take advantage of specific first generation student benefits.
First Generation or First-in-Family students come from families where neither parent has a four year degree. If you are lucky enough to be identified in this category, many financial aid and support programs become available. Your university financial aid office will review your fafsa to see if you qualify.
Western Undergraduate Exchange Program (WUE) – Western Undergraduate Exchange website
Find all participating western universities from 15 states at this website. WUE allows students to pay only 150% of in-state tuition at any of the participating universities instead of paying out-of-state fees. This can save you tens of thousands per year for attending a university outside of California. Many schools on the list have great wrestling programs. WUE is governed by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). You can locate WICHE resources at www.wiche.edu.
Cost Saving Hints
Did you know that you can take an Advanced Placement (AP) test even if you didn’t take the AP class? If you earn a passing grade, you may receive college credit without even paying for tuition. Take all the AP classes you can handle and take all the AP tests that you might be able to pass. Challenging college credits by examination is almost like giving yourself a little scholarship.
Did you know that some high school classes qualify as part of the Regional Occupational Program (ROP)? These are sometimes referenced as, “Articulated High School Courses”. An articulated high school course is one in which a determination has been made that a course offered in high school is comparable to a specific community college course. Seniors with a light schedule can earn college credit by taking ROP courses while attending high school. These credits easily transfer and you don’t pay any college tuition for them.
Did you know that some universities offer lower tuition for summer school classes? After your student is enrolled, we suggest that you review the tuition cost of summer classes. For some students, it will be less expensive to take a few summer school classes and work in the college town instead of moving home for the summer. Make sure to review this again in your last two years of college after you have moved off campus.
Don’t take a car to school unless money is not an issue for your family. Insurance, parking, parking tickets, gas, registration, and loss of value over time are real costs!