Life 101: Beyond High School with Joanne Barnard

Post-secondary education is paid for by a combination of savings, funds that are awarded, money that is earned along the way, and loans. Loans will be addressed in January. Hopefully you already have some savings and plan to continue working, so for this month, seniors, concentrate on searching and applying for scholarships.

Make A Plan
Spending ten hours to obtain a $500 scholarship is equal to earning $50 per hour. Treat acquiring scholarships like a job and schedule time each week for research and filling out applications. It

will be tough at first, yet once you have filled out one application you will have completed more than half the work for all the others - they ask for similar information. Be mindful of deadlines and cautious of scams, you should NEVER have to pay for scholarship information.

Where Is The Money?
Last month you were encouraged to investigate institutional scholarships while applying - check the website of the institution you plan to attend, search under financial aid. This month solicit the help of parents, teachers, and your school counselor to filter through the plethora of available money. Go to the Lyons Middle/Senior High School website or contact Denise Rominger, the counselor, for scholarship opportunities. Organizations like the Lyons Booster Club, Lyons Chamber of Commerce, and the Lyons Community Foundation offer scholarships.

Ask your parents if an organization they belong to, or their employer, awards scholarships. Do the same with your own employer. Many corporations offer support, as do religious organizations, fraternal, and activity clubs like the 4-H and Boy/Girl Scouts of America.

Take advantage of your background; look back on what you have accomplished, your interests, and search by what makes you unique.

Ask your parents to spell out what is expected for you to obtain and keep their “scholarship” offer. This is reasonable because they worked hard for the money they have set aside for your education. Knowing and adhering to their parameters is a way of saying thank you for their support. See a sample of a College Scholarship Agreement below.

Don’t Stop!
Continue to search for funds this month, subsequent months, and even after high school graduation. At each stage of your post-secondary education there are opportunities for financial assistance. Good Luck.

For schools in Colorado, remember to sign up for the College Opportunity Fund (COF) - a per credit stipend paid directly to the school by the state. The amount per credit is determined by the Colorado Legislature. Apply online by going to

If you plan to obtain an athletic scholarship from a Division I or II school you must register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using 2016 tax return information. It is used by most post-secondary institutions to determine the financial aid package you will receive. Most federal aid is awarded first come-first served basis. The U. S. Department of Education is accepting the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year from October 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019. Apply at 

Next Life: January 4, 2018

Upcoming topics: financial aid and award letters



December Parent’s Guide

Below are some tips for how parents can help their high school seniors.
Offer to help your high school senior organize information, plan their strategy, and maintain focus while they apply for scholarships
Search the scholarship websites and offer your child options. Be cautious of scams; you should never have to pay for scholarship information
Offer to edit applications for punctuation, grammar, etc. stopping short of influencing what they write
Give encouragement and motivation by reminding them that the time they spend now will help offset debt in the future
Supply refreshments while they complete applications
Offer to mail documents
Apply for a FAFSA pin at
Create a “Scholarship” document outlining what you will pay for, and go over it with your child1



College Scholarship Agreement

Below is a draft of a College Scholarship Program for parents of high school seniors to write up an agreement regarding how they will fund their child’s post-secondary. Adjust it as needed. Soften it in some areas, beef it up in others. Perhaps parents only want to pay for two years of school or the child already has a tattoo. The basic parts of the scholarship are here: how to qualify, what is covered, and how to maintain the scholarship. When you edit this to create your own scholarship for your child, you determine what works best for your circumstances. The ultimate goal is to have something set up ahead of time, to minimize any misunderstanding down the road.

This College Scholarship Program was conceived to help get the recipients off to a good start in life. The shift in the American economy away from agricultural and manufacturing related careers has put an even higher importance on a college education. Due to the quickly rising cost of higher education, the Board of Directors (‘your name here’, hereafter referred to as “the Board”) created the College Scholarship program (hereafter referred to as “the Scholarship”) to pay college expenses.

Who Can Qualify?
Certain qualifications are required to receive the Scholarship. The Board wants only Students serious about a successful college experience to apply for the Scholarship. In addition the Board feels that supporting Students that are not adequately prepared for college is not a good use of resources. With that in mind there are several requirements applicants must complete prior to receiving the Scholarship.

High School Diploma
High School Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better. (On the 4.0 scale)
Complete these High school requirements:
High School Sports (2 seasons)
Music (2 years)
AP classes (2)
Foreign language (2 years)
Math (4years) (AP Calculus grade 12)
Science (4 years) (Chemistry (CP), Physics (CP), Biology (preferably CP))
English (4 years) (Honors English grades 9-11)
Social Studies (4 years)

What is covered by the Scholarship?
This Scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, books, fees, room and board, for eight semesters at one of the fine public institutions for higher education in the state of “insert your state’s name here”. Scholarship recipients that choose to attend an out of state or private school will be responsible for all additional costs. The benchmark for determining these costs will be the “insert University name here”. Each Student will be responsible for “spending” money. The Board will reimburse covered expenses following the completion of each semester. This means freshman Students must cover their first semester expenses in full. Reimbursement for spring semester costs will be paid at the start of the fall semester. This Scholarship can be used at almost any four-year college or university towards a BA or BS degree. The Board must approve all school choices.

Scholarship Terms and Conditions
Students that are awarded the Scholarship must meet some basic requirements in order to continue to receive the Scholarship benefits:
College GPA of 3.0 or better per semester (on the 4.0 scale)
Show continued progress towards a degree.
Stay in school. (NO time off to find yourself)
Stay single (un-married)
Stay child-free (NO pregnancies)
Stay out of jail (NO arrests, NO convictions)
Stay unmarked and unaltered (NO tattoos, NO additional piercing)

A few notes concerning these requirements. About the “Stay in school” requirement, after graduating from high school, the Student will have 4 calendar years to use the Scholarship benefits. The “College GPA” requirement is on a per semester basis, costs will be reimbursed for each semester with a qualifying GPA. Failing to meet any of the other requirements will result in forfeiture of the Scholarship and are under the sole discretion of the Board.
Graduation Bonus Account

To motivate Students to work hard in high school and be properly prepared for college the Board will create a Graduation Bonus Account for each Scholarship recipient. All amounts paid on behalf of the Student from other scholarship sources will reduce the benefits paid by the Scholarship. An amount equal to any outside scholarship payments will be paid into the Graduation Bonus account. After college graduation this money will be available to the Student for a variety of uses. For example: to pay off a Student loan, to use for continued post graduate education, to fund certain investments after you start your career. (house, retirement accounts etc.) This money can’t be used for: traveling, vacations, weddings, cars, or debts not related to your education.

The terms and conditions to qualify for and receive this Scholarship are under the sole direction of the Board of Directors and are subject to change without notice. All decisions by the Board are final and cannot be appealed.

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