My granddaughter needs more aid for college. Where to look?


Q. My granddaughter is heading to college. She’s an excellent student and a volunteer EMT. Her mom is a single, twice divorced, working single parent. My granddaughter is totally estranged from her biological father, and my daughter’s income is not sufficient for a lot of the children’s needs, and I help as much as I am able to. Although she is reaching generous aid for college, she still needs to borrow. Are there scholarships and or other avenues for her to pursue? I want her to succeed in her dream of becoming a surgeon.
— Trying to help

A. Congratulations on your granddaughter’s high school graduation.

There are options to look for more aid, but it will take some work and an investment of time.

It sounds like your daughter and granddaughter completed the FAFSA form, which is used by colleges to grant need-based financial aid, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.

That is an important first step in helping to cover the cost.

“When it comes to scholarships, there are many, many options, although the amount granted may not be substantial,” Mott said. “Your granddaughter may want to start by having a conversation with her guidance counselor to learn more about scholarships that are available in her community and through the high school itself.”

With the understanding that each application takes time and some require essays, Mott offered some of these other sources to pursue scholarships before taking out student loans:

· The Financial Aid office at her chosen college. It may be able to direct her to a college-specific database of scholarships and grants to which she can apply;

· Professional organizations, such as those related to her EMT service;

· Federal agencies and foundations: The options are vast and cover a broad range of qualifications;

· Scholarship databases: Most require setting up an account to use the resources to scan and search for matches;

· The Higher Education Assistance Authority, which provides information on need-based opportunities in New Jersey;

· The reference librarian at the local library may also be a resource, Mott said.

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This story was originally published in June 2024. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.