Financial Literacy – Start Thinking Ahead!

Financial Literacy - Start Thinking Ahead!

Rachael Yuan and Rania Alsha, DECA Member

Why start planning now? While it’s important to live in the moment during your high school experience, planning for the future, especially college, will greatly influence your finances in the long term. College is expensive, and often you will need to resort to multiple sources to pay for it.

Most students start financing for college by filling out a FAFSA form in order to receive financial aid. Sometimes colleges will ask for you to fill out a CSS profile, which will consider different factors when determining your financial aid. It’s important to fill these out as soon as possible, as some areas give out financial aid as a first-come first-serve basis.

The next big step is often searching for scholarships, which, unlike student loans, don’t have to be paid back. Scholarships can be awarded for a multitude of reasons and at any point, so it’s best to start searching before your senior year

Next, grant money is given to students in need. This is where filling out the FAFSA form is relevant once again, as long as you submit the form you will be able to receive federal Pell Grant money if eligible. Besides the federal Pell Grant, states offer different grant opportunities that may not need to be paid back. Take the time to look at any grants you may qualify for.

Sometimes you will still need to borrow more money to finance college. In this case, take out federal loans before looking for private ones. There are certain benefits to federal loans, like income-based repayment plans or loan forgiveness, that private loans do not provide.

In the end, financing for college can be a stressful time for most students. It is important to recognize that a traditional four-year university is not the only path. It may be more affordable and reasonable (depending on your career goals) for you to enter a community college or trade-school, which typically cost less to attend. These schools still provide valuable opportunities for students, and should be researched thoroughly to determine if it’s the right fit for you. 

Interested in learning more? Join Franklin DECA Friday December 11 from 2:45-3:15 in their online webinar with Michael Carroll, Senior Vice President of Dean Bank. Sign up through their Google Form and view their newsletter by clicking here or scanning their QR code at the top of this page. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rania Alshawabkeh ( or Rachael Yuan (