22 Jul

More Communities Promise Free Tuition at Public Colleges

What if you could get a guaranteed tuition scholarship at any public college in your state, just by attending school and keeping your GPA above a 2.0?

For some students, this fantasy is becoming a reality thanks to community outreach scholarships.

I Got a Scholarship (in Kalamazoo)

Three years ago the community of Kalamazoo, Michigan began offering the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship to every Kalamazoo public school student who has been in their public school system for four years or more and attends a state university or college. (See full eligibility details here.)

Students who have been in the system from kindergarten through 12th grade get the full benefit-100% tuition coverage. Those who have been in the system for fewer years have their percentage reduced, down to those who only attend four years of high school there (they receive 65% which is still a great deal!).

Dotting the Nation

USA Today reports that since the launch of the Kalamazoo scholarship in 2005, several other cities have begun to offer similar scholarships-most of them working on the same type of eligibility requirements.

What USA Today didn’t mention is that the state of Kentucky has been offering a similar scholarship for several years, as well. The merit-based Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) has long offered college and technical school tuition scholarships to their public school attendees. Their funding comes from the Kentucky Lottery.

Unfortunately, there are still only a few of these types of scholarships available. Even with Portland, San Francisco, and about 80 other cities voicing an interest in the programs, the number of cities devoid of these type of scholarship programs greatly outnumbers those that do.

Making Your Own Way

If your family isn’t one of the lucky few whose state or school district offers one of these handy tuition scholarship programs, your student should start applying to private scholarship programs (and as soon as possible!). I would suggest you explore this brief primer on applying to private scholarships as well as my tips about quirky scholarships.

There are also many other ways your family may be able to reduce the amount you pay out of pocket for college. I’ve worked with families for over ten years now, and many of them are very surprised by how much money they have the opportunity to save on college costs by combining different types of strategies!

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: Piggy Bank by woodsy

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