High school students look to scholarships to avoid debt - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

High school students look to scholarships to avoid debt

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

High school graduation is just around the corner, and now dorm life, freedom, and real-world realities like loans and debt await thousands of seniors in our area.

Last year, 152 Muscogee County high school students earned nearly $13 million in scholarship money. The district spent the day gearing up for a ceremony Monday night to see if students can top that.

Going to college can be a tricky situation for many as tuition and loan debt are on the rise, according to the latest reports from the US Department of Education.

One Northside High School senior says a $20,000 scholarship he's earned is helping him battle those obstacles. 

"The only reason I'm actually able to go to the school because tuition is high and it's a private school, out of state," said Nick Kepley.

Officials from CSU's financial aid department say being organized with your financial needs when selecting a college can help ease related stress.

"Understand where you want to go, understand what the cost will be, understand the financial aid process and what priority deadlines each school might have, and then be ready to complete the forms on time," said Financial Aid Director Russ Romandini.

Northside senior Brooks Peacock explains he did just that.

"Definitely looked a lot into it these past six months, and discussed and looked at the best options for sure," Peacock said, having dreamt of being an Auburn Tiger his whole life.

Now a $6,000 scholarship will help him reach a new dream of graduating debt free.

"That's the ultimate goal, I'm not sure how viable that is but I'm hoping," said Peacock.

"It's really our goal to help each student borrow as little as they can, to go ahead and reach their educational goals. Financial experts say you need to know what you owe after applying all financial aid and scholarships options, and know when and to be sure to meet that payment deadline," said Romandini.

On Monday at 7 p.m., the 5th annual National Signing Day for Scholars will be held at Northside High School. District representatives plan to announce how much scholarship money seniors were awarded in 2015.

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