HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — “I know a lot of kids are thinking about college right now,” said Kristina Ellis, personal financial expert and Ramsey personality.
Especially high school students as they gear up for the start of another school year.
“They’re trying to determine where they’re going to go to college, how they’re going to pay for college,” said Ellis.
According to recent data from the Federal Reserve, there’s about $1.75 trillion of student loan debt from both federal and private loans.
That number is projected to rise.
So financial experts are encouraging parents to talk to their kids about looking into scholarships.
“So that they’re not immediately tempted to get student loans when they start looking at college. The more proactive you are on the front end, the more you can save money in the long run,” said Ellis.
Of course, any student can apply for scholarships, but the sooner they start, the better.
Experts believe students who are entering their freshman year of high school this year have the best bet of getting as much money as possible.
“My mom told me my freshman year of high school, and she got me super excited about scholarships. I started doing a ton of research throughout high school, and it led me to win over a half a million dollars in scholarships,” said Ellis.
Many kids make the mistake of waiting until their senior year to begin the process, but often that can be too late and can limit how much money they’ll be able to get.
If students start early, they’ll have time to prepare, research, and build up a resume
For students looking for scholarships, don’t forget to check out the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program. Also, look into community service organizations, local churches, local businesses, banks, and credit unions. Those are all places that usually give out scholarships.
“I just want to encourage you to have conversations with your kids. If you’re a parent, start talking to them about the true cost of college and what they’re going to be responsible for when they go to college. Help them understand how much college costs, what are scholarships, how there may be free community college in your area,” said Ellis.