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Higher Education in Maryland

What you can do to help?

Your support is important to your child's success and happiness.  Let him/her know that teachers, counselors, and you want him/her to be challenged and to succeed.

From the start, emphasize the importance of going to school every day and of getting good grades.  Colleges look at grades from a student's entire high school career.  Showing that you care about your child's grades is critical.

If you are concerned about how your child's grades, talk to teachers and counselors to see how you and they can help.  Take your child with you when go to visit teachers and counselors.  Encourage your child to read for school and for fun.  Ask what he/she is reading about.

It's never too early to discuss college.  Visit colleges that might interest your child.  You can call the admissions office to find out when tours, open houses, and other information sessions are scheduled.  Ask the college to send your child a packet of information about college.

Paying for college

Financial assistance comes in three main types:  Grants and Scholarships, Loans, and Work-study

Grants and scholarships are aid students don't have to pay back.  Grants are usually given to students whose family income is not large enough to pay for college, while scholarships are usually given to recognize the student's academic achievement, athletic ability, or other talent.

Scholarships may come with conditions, like maintaining a certain major or grade point average.  Student loans must be repaid, usually with interest, after the student graduates or stops going to school.  Parents may also take out loans for their child's education.  Work-study is a federal aid program administered by colleges that allows students to work to earn money to help pay for school.

Encourage your child to talk to his or her guidance counselor or contact the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  Its Web site, www.MDgo4it.org has information about colleges and financial aid.  The most important tool for getting financial aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) www.fafsa.ed.gov. It is almost impossible to get money from the State or federal government without completing this form.

Finding More Information

High school guidance counselors, college admission offices, librarians, and the internet can all provide you with more information about careers, colleges, vocational training, and financial aid.  The Maryland Higher Education Commission's Web site (www.MDgo4it.org) provides extensive information about college options and financial aid in the State.  You may also visit the Web site of the Maryland State Department of Education at www.marylandpublicschools.org, which offers information for parents and students, including homework help.

Other sources of college preparation information
The Kinds College Almanac:  A First Look At College
by Barbara C. Greenfield and Robert A. Weinstein.

The U.S. Department of Education offers numerous publications and Web sites to help you:  http://www.ed.ogv

www.CollegeIsPossible.org is a Web site for parents and students with links to more sources of information.

The College Board provides information about the SAT plus lots of other general information free to parents, students, and colleges:  www.collegeboard.com

The Maryland State Department of Education's Web site,  www.marylandpublicschools.org, offers information geared to parents, students, and teachers.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission offers information about colleges and universities and financial aid:  www.MDgo4it.org

The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education has a great Web site for teens, www.BeWhatIWantToBe.com, that lets them explore exciting careers and what it takes to qualify for them.

FAFSA on the Web:  http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.  This form can be completed online or a paper application can be obtained by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID.

For general information on federal student aid go to http://studentaid.ed.gov

FastWeb lists thousands of private scholarships:  www.fastweb.com

www.finaid.org is a comprehensive site for financial aid information.


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