Life 101: Beyond High School with Joanne Barnard

Post-secondary education is paid for by a combination of savings, funds that are awarded, money that is earned along the way, and loans. Loans will be addressed in January. Hopefully you already have some savings and plan to continue working, so for this month, seniors, concentrate on searching and applying for scholarships.

Make A Plan
Spending ten hours to obtain a $500 scholarship is equal to earning $50 per hour. Treat acquiring scholarships like a job and schedule time each week for research and filling out applications. It

will be tough at first, yet once you have filled out one application you will have completed more than half the work for all the others - they ask for similar information. Be mindful of deadlines and cautious of scams, you should NEVER have to pay for scholarship information.

Where Is The Money?
Last month you were encouraged to investigate institutional scholarships while applying - check the website of the institution you plan to attend, search under financial aid. This month solicit the help of parents, teachers, and your school counselor to filter through the plethora of available money. Go to the Lyons Middle/Senior High School website or contact Denise Rominger, the counselor, for scholarship opportunities. Organizations like the Lyons Booster Club, Lyons Chamber of Commerce, and the Lyons Community Foundation offer scholarships.

Ask your parents if an organization they belong to, or their employer, awards scholarships. Do the same with your own employer. Many corporations offer support, as do religious organizations, fraternal, and activity clubs like the 4-H and Boy/Girl Scouts of America.

Take advantage of your background; look back on what you have accomplished, your interests, and search by what makes you unique.

Ask your parents to spell out what is expected for you to obtain and keep their “scholarship” offer. This is reasonable because they worked hard for the money they have set aside for your education. Knowing and adhering to their parameters is a way of saying thank you for their support. See a sample of a College Scholarship Agreement below.

Don’t Stop!
Continue to search for funds this month, subsequent months, and even after high school graduation. At each stage of your post-secondary education there are opportunities for financial assistance. Good Luck.

For schools in Colorado, remember to sign up for the College Opportunity Fund (COF) - a per credit stipend paid directly to the school by the state. The amount per credit is determined by the Colorado Legislature. Apply online by going to

If you plan to obtain an athletic scholarship from a Division I or II school you must register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using 2016 tax return information. It is used by most post-secondary institutions to determine the financial aid package you will receive. Most federal aid is awarded first come-first served basis. The U. S. Department of Education is accepting the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year from October 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019. Apply at 

Next Life: January 4, 2018

Upcoming topics: financial aid and award letters


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