While the cost of attending college in Michigan continues to climb, the good news is that finding scholarships to apply for has been simplified for South Redford and Redford Union students. The districts use websites that help gather information about the multitude of available scholarships.
Added with local opportunities, students have a real chance at making a dent in college costs. The South Redford district uses “Naviance,” a website that bills itself as a college and career platform, to help make students aware of as many scholarship opportunities as possible.
Thurston High School Counseling Office’s Camille Grayson said Naviance has been a real boon to students. “It’s a tool students can use all the way through high school to help prepare for college,” she said. “It’s a great tool.”
Redford Union utilizes a similar platform to Naviance called “CareerCruising.com,” said Redford Union High School Counselor Paulette Rancour. She said it has been invaluable for students trying to pay for college.
“It can be overwhelming,” Rancour said of chasing scholarship dollars. She said very few students apply for everything that’s available. “But I would say that 50 to 70 percent get something.”
Students need all the help they can get. According to CollegeSimply.com, a full-time, in-state student at Michigan State University will pay a whopping $27,290 per year as of 2018. That figure includes tuition, books and supplies, room and board and other expenses.
By comparison, a year at Madonna College costs $32,712, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor $28,776 and Oakland University comes in at $24,482, CollegeSimply.com reports. Two other popular in-state schools — Eastern Michigan University and Central Michigan University — check in at $23,749 and $23,494, respectively.
Students are trained how to use Naviance as freshmen, Grayson said. Among many features of the site, she said students can also develop a resume. Away from the computer, Grayson said she also advises students to be proactive in going after scholarships.
“I tell them they should always contact the financial aid office of the college they want to attend and even make a trip there,” she said. “A lot of colleges may have scholarships we’re not aware of.”
Students can also apply for Thurston’s own $1,000 Eagle Award. Applications can be picked up at the school’s main office and must turned in no later than 2:30 p.m. on April 27 to Monique Kincaid in the principal’s office.
The scholarship is for seniors only, Thurston Secretary Nancy York told the South Redford Board of Education at its Monday meeting. Students must carry a 3.3 grade point average and be involved in co-curricular activities to qualify. A committee comprised of Thurston teaches will screen the applicants and make the award, York said.
At Redford Union, eight local scholarships are still available, Rancour said. Awards will be made at RU’s Honors Convocation on May 18. Awards will range from $200 up to $1,200.
While applying for so many scholarships can be daunting, Rancour said it can pay off in the end. “If you consider you’re working on something for an hour or so to possibly get $5,000 or $10,000,” she said, “putting time into is definitely worth it.”
Like Grayson, Rancour encourages students to start earlier rather than later. Some scholarships are available starting in middle school years, she noted.