Just in case you haven't heard enough reasons to kick your scholarship search into high gear, an article appearing last week in The Boston Globe reported that one third of parents have cut back on or altogether stopped saving for college. According to a study by Fidelity Investments, the current economic situation has left many parents less equipped to help their children pay for school.
The study found that parents have fewer resources to devote to students' college expenses due to drops in values of investments and home equity. To help make up this difference, 35 percent of parents reported plans to delay retirement in order to better help their college-aged children pay bills. Parents are also asking more of college students, with 55 percent expecting their kids to work part-time, 44 percent hoping their kids will live at home while attending college, and 37 percent encouraging their children to attend less expensive state colleges. Additionally, 62 percent of parents expect their children to take out student loans--a figure that makes sense coupled with the 16 percent increase in FAFSA applications reported earlier this year.
When coupled with anecdotal evidence, such as another Boston Globe piece highlighting Massachusettes families' increased interest in public universities for 2009, this study stresses the need for students to ramp up their efforts to find money for college. While federal student financial aid and private loans are being turned to more and more, college scholarships are still options for students industrious enough to find them. If you're already attending college or currently in the midst of the college application process and haven't yet started searching for scholarships, now is a good time to begin. Between now and February, a great number of scholarship opportunities will open up for applications, so the sooner you know what's out there, the better a chance you'll have of winning scholarships.