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I have a 17 year-old son (senior in high school) and a 15 year-old daughter (sophomore in high school). I have saved about $15,000 for both their college educations. The schools my children would like to attend cost approximately $32,000 per year. They are both capable of getting into these schools with their outstanding grades. I am trying to find scholarships but I don't know where to look. What can I do to save/make more money to send my children to these schools?

If your kids are truly outstanding students, they should have a decent shot at the following scholarships:

1) National Merit Scholarship (requires taking the PSAT in 11th grade): $2000, possibly renewable

2) National Science Scholarship: about $2000/year

3) Robert Byrd Scholarship: about $1500/year

4) Presidential Scholarship (officially no money, but I think you get a $1000 gift from a foundation; they will send your child mail if eligible -- inital cutoff is based on SAT score)

5) Intel Science Talent Search (but only if you have connections with college faculty and your children are able to do science research while in high school): up to $40,000

These are big national scholarships, with hundreds or thousands of winners, so your school should know more about them. The amounts I listed are approximate and some of them may have changed since I went through this process. I should also warn you that winning scholarships can hurt your eligibility for financial aid. I was valedictorian of my class, went to Harvard, etc. and won the first three of the scholarships I mentioned along with some local ones and others that have since disappeared, but then Harvard took away my $12,000 financial aid package freshman year (which was about the amount of money I won that year). So I stopped pursuing outside scholarships, since there wasn't much reward in it. I think they have gotten better since then about giving incentives for winning outside aid (I graduated in 1996), but you should find out the policies of any schools your children are considering.

-- Edmund Ross
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