How much  money do you really need to go to the college of your choice?

Do you have a budget for all the items you have to purchase ? Do you know how much it will cost per semester or per year?

College tuition, books, travel, room and board, food plans, and a social life all costs money. Getting a real feeling of how much it is really got to cost you matter to having a successful college career and to a successful life! Below are some tips to get you off on the right foot.

The best first step is to identify all of the costs

  1. Do the research on the college’s website about their charges. The following websites have cost calculators which will help identify things to think about:
  2. Room and Board
    • Living with more than one other person will get you reduced boarding fees.
  3. Meal Plans:
    • Do you have choices with your meal plan?
    • Will you need to supplement the meal plans with food from other sources?
  4. Special course study:
    • Will you need additional supplies beyond books?
  5. Travel from School to Home
    • Think about the school’s location. In addition to room and board, how much will
      you need to return home? How often do you plan to go back and forth?
  6. Are you bringing a car? If so, will you need a parking permit? Is there a cost to the permit?

Where else can I find scholarships?

Merit Scholarships and Private Scholarships

Scholarships come in all forms and sizes. Researching scholarship availability takes some work on your part. National Scholarships, State Scholarships, and Community Scholarships programs are easily researched using the internet. You can also go to your local library and look at printed materials. Be sure to note the application deadlines. Don’t forget to contact your local religious community for information on their scholarships. Here are other ways that people research scholarships.

  • Scholarships from your Jewish Federation /Foundation
    • $500 Merit based scholarship for any CT state resident – Application coming soon
    • $3,000 Need based scholarship for any Waterbury resident – Application coming soon
    • $3,000 Need based scholarship for each year for 4 years for Greater Waterbury Area resident – Application coming soon
  • Scholarships that are Trending Now (i.e., women, minorities, sports)
  • Scholarships By Grade Level (high school grads, undergrad, grad)
  • Scholarships By Major (i.e., biology, language arts, education, pre-med, etc.)
  • Scholarships By Type (i.e., college specific, business and industry specific, etc.)

Federal Grants, Loans and Work Study on Campus

For information about both subsidized and unsubsidized programs and additional information, here are a number of sites to research:

College Scholarships Programs

Information about additional college scholarship resources can be found at college websites (i.e. college foundations) and community websites( service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions; religious institutions; private foundations, corporate foundations, etc.)

Other Items to Consider

Lastly it is time to build out your budget.

It’s only through detailing your expenses that you understand where your money is going and
how to control it. Create your list of expenses and come up with an approximate total cost of
your annual expenses.

How much money have you saved?

Now that you have a budget and you know how much you really need, how much money have you saved? How much money can you save in the future from summer jobs or part time work? If you have substantial savings you may want to divide it up over multiple years. If you don’t you may want to use it to get started the first year. Learning how to save money before, during and after college is also a critical skill for success.

What other sources of income do you have?
So, you have a budget, you know how much money you need and now you do the math! How
much money do you still have to obtain in order to cover all of your expenses? Your goal is to
obtain funds in the form of awards and scholarships that won’t incur debt vs. taking out loans, which will incur debt. At the end of your college career your goal is to have as little debt as possible. Family members and community organizations can help supplement summer work and part time jobs while you are in school. Your task is to be assertive and explore all possibilities. You are responsible for yourself and only you can and should advocate for yourself.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

This is the number that the federal government says your family can afford to contribute to your college tuition for the upcoming year. All financial aid will be based on that number. The lower the number, you would be eligible for more aid.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

You will be emailed this printed report from the federal government showing your family’s EFC (expected family contribution.) A copy of this report needs to be included in the Jewish
Federation’s scholarship application.

Other Things to Consider

  1. Speak with a financial planner/accountant
  2. Work Equivalency Formula
  3. Build your case for a merit scholarship with
    • Grades
    • Clubs, teams, committees, student government and other extracurricular activities
    • Community service
    • Recommendations from people who know you well
    • School officials
    • Clergy
    • Coaches
    • Community leaders
    • Employers