Financing a College Education

Financing a College Education

I recently wrote about my niece who is a new Chemical Engineering student at Virginia Tech. She successfully completed her Engineering prerequisite course with a B-. She and her team received an A for their oral and written presentation. Understand, she’s did not take any engineering Virginia Techcourses at the two-year college that she attended. She did, however, have enough credits to be awarded two Associate degrees, one for arts, the other for science. Clearly, Jennifer is an outstanding, motivated student. Now, she has the next hurdle: financing her college education. Her parents have been divorced for most of her life. Her father, my wife’s brother, has not supported her for some years. Her mother is remarried and Jennie has two younger half-sisters. She has helped Jennie where she can. Fortunately, she has supportive relatives. Her grandparents, her aunts and her uncles have helped where they see a need. The original two-year college that she attended is Cottey College, a PEO International-sponsored institution for young women. PEO International through one of their Wisconsin chapters paid for most of her two years at Cottey. My wife, mother-in-law and aunt are all long-time members. Virginia Tech is another story altogether. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is located in Blacksburg in southwest Virginia. Founded in 1872, Tech has grown to over 30,000 students. It is ranked as 44th in research universities in the United States. More importantly, Virginia Tech is ranked #7 for Chemical Engineering by U.S News & World Report. Out-of-state tuition at Tech is close to $30,000 plus room, board and books.

In order to help in the financing of her college education, Jennifer received a scholarship from Virginia Tech for more than half of her annual cost. She is also receiving money from  Federal Perkins Loan Program. This program provides low-interest loans for needy students to pursue a post-secondary education. She has received monies through the Federal Pell Grant program. This program provides grants that do not need to be repaid to students in need. She also expects to receive a scholarship from PEO International, the women’s organization that paid for much of her two years at Cottey College. Finally, Jen is working to pay for her everyday expenses.

For a student like my niece, financing a college education is a struggle. In order to pay for all of her expenses she needs to maintain high grades. She needs to seek out sources of funds from a mix of scholarships, loans, grants, earnings and family assistance.

Our niece is appreciates everything that she has and looks forward to a great future. If you know a “Jennifer” why don’t you reach out and help in any way that you can. I’ll bet that you get a big hug and a heartfelt thank you. That’s plenty of thanks for me.

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