by Kianna Goss

With the cost of higher education increasing, it is important to understand and utilize financial aid resources.

As a first-generation college student—someone who is the first in their immediate family to attend a university—deciding to attend college was a financial burden on my family in the beginning.

The average cost of attending a public college in-state is $25,290, while the average cost of attending a public college out-of-state is $40,940, according to Research Analyst Justin Song, Sr. of ValuePenguin. The average cost of attending private college is $50, 900. As higher education prices increase, it becomes more difficult for first-generation students to attend four-year universities. According to Jessica Dickler of CNBC news, rising tuition leaves students unable to attend a university or leaves their families with a large amount of debt.

When I was a senior in high school, I wish I was more aware of the opportunities to receive scholarships. There are many scholarships created by individuals aiming to help students succeed at university. Carissa Chang Cress, writer for ScholarshipAmerica. org, explains why scholarships are important. She notes, “By providing sufficient scholarship assistance, we can enable greater success in college, providing backing for deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to society.”

  1. Going Merry is a great resource for finding scholarships. It provides personalized scholarship search to match individuals based on criteria and eligibility.
  2. Scholarspath.com provides tools for families and one-on-one help from the founders of the website. Follow their Instagram account (@scholarspath), where they help parents and students gain crucial knowledge about available scholarships.
  3. Another option to find scholarships is to ask your advisor about scholarships created by alumni.
  4. There are also wide-scale scholarships for students who are eligible—for example, the annual Coca-Cola scholarship or the annual Taco Bell scholarship.
  5. For individuals who attend a church, many provide scholarships for students who are going to attend a college/university.
  6. Another useful scholarship website is Fastweb. They find scholarships related to your skills and interests.
  7. Bottom Line is an organization that helps first-generation and low-income students apply to and get through college. The organization offers mentoring and guidance to students making their college decision. Their site also offers additional resources for scholarships, financial aid support, common application, and more.

If you feel overwhelmed by this list, you might be wondering how to apply for scholarships without consuming too much of your personal time. There are less timeconsuming scholarships, such as lottery drawing, where one has a 50/50 chance of winning or not winning. Also, many scholarships require essays—so here is a tip: write one great essay and customize it to fit the different scholarships applications.

About Kianna Goss

Kianna Goss is a junior at Bradley University, majoring in journalism with a double minor in sociology and advertising with public relations. Community involvement requires the use of one’s voice; in Goss’s case, her voice, which she expresses through writing, is one of the strongest platforms she has. Being a Black woman, Goss often writes to give a voice to the Black community. In doing so, she gains control over a media narrative that portrays the Black community in a negative way. As a writer who expresses herself through many different forms expressions, she has written poetry, blogs, newspaper articles, and opinion pieces. She is always looking for more opportunities to grow as a writer and personally. Goss is involved in many organizations at Bradley University. She is currently the marketing/ communications director for Bradley’s Communication Agency, a peer mentor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a writer for the student newspaper The Bradley Scout, and a caller at the Bradley Fund. Being able to explore her creativity is what Goss loves most about Bradley. The Communications department is molding her into the journalist she aspire to be.

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