Topic: College financing
Who is affected: College students
What you’ll need: Time and perseverance, good detective skills, and the old college try

What you need to know

So you’ve gotten past the hard part, getting accepted to college; now all you have to do is pay for it.

And what better way than to get others to pay for your hard-earned education?

Scholarships are one of the best ways to take some of the cost out of ever-rising tuition.

They may not cover all expenses, but they’ll free you from eating a strict diet of ramen noodles for months on end.

Of course your first place to start is to fill out your FAFSA form and determine your eligibility for grants and scholarships.

The trick to getting scholarships is to start small and specific and realize that every little bit helps. Your high school counselor may be the best resource to help you find local and state scholarships that are less known than national awards.

Your next step is to get on the Web. Do you have any special talents or other characteristics that set you apart? They may help you earn a few extra aid bucks for that first semester. Search scholarship listings to determine your eligibility for various awards. 

Here’s how to get started on your road to scholarship riches:
1. Fill out your FAFSA form — early.
2. Check with your school counselor for local scholarships.
3. Hit the Internet to find scholarships based on everything from merit to hobbies. Some helpful sites:,, College Board’s scholarship search and Scholarship 101.
4. Find and read books on how to win all the scholarships for which you applied.
Be careful about what you are getting into before accepting any scholarship. Some scholarships require you to keep up a certain grade point average or take a certain number of hours in a particular subject. Also know that not all scholarships are renewable. So, you may not have that extra green come second semester.