Part of being college and career ready is having the ability to research and obtain financial aid. Teachers can help students do this in a number of ways:
- Work with students to help them understand and practice filling out the FAFSA and/or TASFA. These forms are complex and may seem overwhelming to students and their families, especially if the student is a first-in-family college attender. Although students will probably not be able to fill the forms out at school entirely (as they require parental tax and financial information), educators can still make sure that students understand each step in the process and know the kind of information they will need to provide.
- Do scholarship searches in class, in college and career readiness centers, or as homework. Consider a class assignment in which students must search and apply for a scholarship. This assignment not only gives students practice at researching and writing (as many scholarship applications have an essay component), but it gives students an opportunity to potentially end up with a financial award at the completion of the assignment.
- Discuss scholarship fraud and urge students to verify the sources of scholarships. Many families fall victim to scholarship scams every year. If students are receiving unsolicited mail or calls about scholarships, or if a scholarship is advertised as “guaranteed,” they are likely being targeted by a scammer. Encourage students to conduct their own research on scholarships through reputable sites, and remind them that they should never pay money up front in order to receive a scholarship.
Some reputable sites for scholarship and grant searches are listed below: