It’s been a long journey, but that next road is on the horizon: College is up ahead, and we’re here to help keep you prepared.
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLAN
But the thing to remember is that you are not alone: Many resources are available to help with career research and college planning. School counselors are your go-to source of current information on employment and colleges. Taking a little time to meet with a school counselor can mean a lot of help with job ideas, assessments to gauge your career interests, vocational/technical schools and much more. Your school or local library is another helpful free resource for your future plans.
Concerned about college costs?
Does your child want to go to college someday? For many families, the decision may come down to how much financial aid will be provided and how much students will need to contribute. It’s never too early to learn about the financial-aid process.
For those of you who have seniors in high school, financial-aid submission deadlines may be approaching. Visit www.studentaid.gov to learn the types of aid available, how much aid your student qualifies for, details about applying for student aid and how to manage student loans.
And be sure to check out ScholarShare! California State PTA and ScholarShare — California’s 529 College Savings Plan — are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college. Here are a few steps you can take to develop a college savings road map for your child:
Start Small and Early
The task of saving for college can be overwhelming, but the sooner you get started, the greater the likelihood that your child will go to college and have the funds to pay for it. Various studies show that a child with a college savings account is 6 to 7 times more likely to attend college. The key is to get started.
Review Your Finances
Saving for college can be daunting. That’s why it’s important to take a careful look at your finances and identify any available funds that you can regularly contribute to your college savings. No contribution is too small. Every little bit helps.
Define Your Goal
Paying for 100 percent of a child’s future college expenses may not be a realistic goal for some parents. Fortunately, the share you save is only a part of a larger strategy to help pay for college. Define a goal that makes sense for your family and plan accordingly.
Understand Your 529 Plan
A 529 plan is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help families save for college. The State of California offers the ScholarShare College Savings Plan. In addition to the many benefits, you can open a ScholarShare account with just $25. Visit scholarshare.com to learn more.
Many free resources are available to help with career research and college planning. School counselors are your go-to source of current information on employment and colleges. Taking a little time to meet with a school counselor can mean a lot of help with job ideas, assessments to gauge your child’s career interests, vocational/technical schools and much more. Your school or local library are other helpful free resources for your future plans.
New from ScholarShare and California State PTA – Win Money for Your School with Scholar Dollars
California State PTA President Justine Fischer and the California State Treasurer announce ScholarShare California’s 529 College Savings Plan cool new contest where YOUR school could win up to $25,000! Register by February 22 at myscholardollars.com and learn more
GEARING UP & GETTING READY
In addition to local resources available to you, we’ve gathered further resources to help you with college and career planning:
APPLICATION AND TESTING ASSISTANCE
- University of California entrance requirements
- California State University entrance requirements
- ACT test information*
- SAT test information*
- National Merit Scholarships PSAT/NMSQT
*Community colleges don’t require the ACT or SAT, but most require on-campus math and English placement tests.
- College Navigator
- California Colleges.edu
- California Postsecondary Education Commission
- University of California
- California State University
- CSU Mentor
- California Community Colleges
- California private colleges and universities
- Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
FUNDING FOR YOUR FUTURE
- I Can Afford College!
- Student Aid on the Web
- California Student Aid Commission
- California Chafee Grants for Foster Youth
- FAFSA: Free application for federal student aid
- Sallie Mae College Answer financial aid tools
- Fin Aid Guide to financial aid
- College Board financial aid tool
- The Campaign for College Opportunity
- Latino College Dollars
- Federal Student Aid Gateway
- Resources in Spanish
- United Negro College Fund
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
And graduating seniors: Don’t forget PTA’s popular scholarship program! Graduating high-school seniors who also are PTA members are eligible to apply for the $750 Volunteer Service Scholarship and the $500 Dr. Ralph E. White Scholarship for medical-field education.