ASK AUNTIE QUESTIONS

I am a sophomore in high school, and I really want to go to college. How do I save for it?

Alex, it’s awesome that you are thinking about how to cover your college costs right now. Auntie gives you an A+ for initiative! These tips will help youon your way:

First, if you don’t have one already, get a job. Duh, I know. But getting a job when you are in high school is super helpful for saving for college. Everylittle bit you save helps. If transportation is an issue, you can work close to home – maybe somewhere you can walk, bike, or ride the bus to. If you livein a super rural place and can’t transport yourself to many places, you could post fliers offering to do yard work, child care, or other services.

So now you’ve got a job, but the trick is actually saving the money you earn. This can be tough. To learn more about how to save, go to a bank or creditunion in your town with your parents or caregiver. Ask to talk with a customer service representative about saving for college. They can describe the differentkinds of accounts you can deposit the money you earn into and talk to you about different savings plans offered. Most have accounts designed specificallyfor people trying to save for school.

Third, call the financial aid office at a nearby college to learn how most people pay for school. In my experience, most people who go to college receivesome sort of financial aid for school. The majority apply for grants, loans and scholarships. Ask the financial aid officer about these and ask if theycan refer you to any good websites so you can learn more.

Forth, email or call the American Indian Student Services or the Office of Minority Student Affairs – or something similar – at a college or universityclose by. They will know (or can connect you with people) who will know about certain scholarships or grants you are eligible for. Also, talk to peoplein the education department at your tribe or counselors at your high school to learn more about grants, loans, and scholarships your community may offeryou for school.

Finally, Alex, check out the scholarships listed by the Center for Native American Youth. Even though youwon’t need to apply for them until your senior year, it’s a good idea to learn what’s out there and make a list of the scholarships you’d like to applyfor in the future. Write down their approximate deadlines, so you’ll have an idea about when you’ll need to start the application process.

Lots of luck Alex!
You are on your way, Auntie

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