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Tuition Talk

Scholarships
There are a great variety of scholarships out there. The trick is finding the ones that match your profile. Some are specific to your prior academic achievements, your community service, your major, a written essay, or a physical or mental obstacle that you have overcome. There are some for unique circumstances, like children of disabled parents, children of parents with cancer or other specific illnesses, or students of a particular race or heritage. There are even a number that are sweepstakes. When searching, have patience, as many will show up that do not pertain to you.

Where to find them:

• The financial aid office of the college that you will attend

• The department of your major at that college

• Foundation scholarships that are not funded through the college, but are privately given scholarships for that college only

• Local businesses, churches, clubs and organizations

Where to find them:

• The financial aid office of the college that you will attend

• The department of your major at that college

• Foundation scholarships that are not funded through the college, but are privately given scholarships for that college only

• Local businesses, churches, clubs and organizations

How to apply:

• Have a resume ready; list all awards, community service, work experience and extracurricular activities.

• Read directions carefully.

• Meet deadlines.

• Proofread everything.

• Apply for as many as possible.

• No one can guarantee you a scholarship.

• There's no such thing as being a semifinalist or winner for a scholarship if you never entered or applied.

• Never pay someone to find scholarships.

• Never give out a credit card or bank account number to apply for a scholarship.

• When it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

State Grants and Scholarships
There are a number of Florida state grants and scholarships, and only some of them are based on financial need. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship is one of the main ones, but you have only one year after high school graduation to begin using it. Go to www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org for more information on these and other state grants and scholarships.

• First Generation Matching Grant: Need-based grant for students with substantial financial need and whose parents have not earned baccalaureate or higher degrees.

• Florida Fund for Minority Teachers: Performance-based program for African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American and Native American students going into the field of education (begins junior year of college).

• Florida Residency Assistance Grant (FRAG): Tuition assistance for students attending an eligible private Florida college or university.

• Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans (or MIA/POW): Funding for tuition for students between the ages of 16 and 22 whose parent was killed or disabled while on active duty.

Federal Grants
The U.S. Department of Education offers grants to students attending four-year colleges or universities, community colleges and career schools.

• Pell Grant: Usually awarded only to students who have not already earned a bachelor's degree. The maximum award is $5,645 for the 2013–14 award year, and the amount you get depends on financial need, cost of attendance, your status as a full-time or part-time student and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

• Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Students who will receive Pell Grants and have the most financial need will receive FSEOGs first. Amounts range from $100 to $4,000 a year, depending on financial need, when you apply, the amount of other aid you get and the availability of funds at your school. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if they participate.