Although the first days of a college career may seem far away at the moment (only 6 months!), now is the time to plan for it financially. If you haven’t already done so, seniors, the search for scholarships is in full swing. Most of the scholarship deadlines occur in the spring, so adopt filling out scholarship applications as a part-time job right now. Several places to check regarding scholarships include: 1 – your high school guidance counselor, 2 – civic organizations in your community, 3 – your local church, church association, and denomination on a state-level, 4 – employers (yours and your parents’), and 5 – scholarship websites, many of which allow you to create a profile so scholarship applications are matched to your criteria.
Other important sources of funding are the federal and state governments. This funding, though, is only available through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you or your parents have not already done so, file your taxes as soon as possible. I know it is easier to put it off until mid-April, but this is one thing that you should not put off. The FAFSA has an IRS link that will autofill your information from the IRS, so file your taxes a couple of weeks before filling out the FAFSA to ensure that the IRS has your information. Additionally, secure a PIN before trying to fill out the FAFSA; it will be needed as your signature (if you are a dependent, your parent will need a PIN as well). You can obtain a PIN from the website www.pin.ed.gov. To fill out the FAFSA, visit the FAFSA website at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to list the colleges of your choice on your FAFSA so they will receive your results; Gardner-Webb’s FAFSA code is 002929. Colleges and universities use the information from your FAFSA to add Federal Pell Grants, Direct Stafford Loans, other sources of federal aid, and state funding to your financial aid package.
Colleges and universities also typically have their own scholarships they award to students. Check with the admissions counselors of the universities of your choice to ask about scholarships they award. Gardner-Webb awards merit scholarships to accepted students based on GPA, standardized test scores, and class rank. There are also scholarships for minister’s dependents and for those who plan to go into some form of Christian service after college graduation. You can contact your admissions counselor at Gardner-Webb by calling (800) 253-6472 or (704) 406-4498 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.