Gail DonaldsonThis week, Montgomery hosts the Alabama’s Distinguished Young Women (DYW) Program to determine who will represent Alabama in the national program in Mobile in June.  This program was formerly known as America’s Junior Miss.  High School Seniors compete for scholarships to further their education in college.  My family has the privilege of hosting two young ladies from Franklin and Elmore Counties this year as they put in the long hours of practice from last Saturday until the start of the program this Friday night.  Contestants are judged on talent, scholastic achievements, fitness, self-expression, and interviews.

After talking to one of “my girls” this weekend about her upcoming college plans, she told me that she would go to community college before going to her dream school of Ole Miss.  Now why would a small town girl want to delay her dreams of the college experience?  She had two really good reasons that I thought a lot of my clients could learn from!  One, she goes to a small high school and the thought of hundreds of students in English 101 seemed scary.  Secondly, she will save a lot of money in tuition, room and board dollars by getting some of her core classes done at a less expensive community college. So the scholarship monies she has earned through the DYW program will go much further!

It appears that more and more students are getting student loans to pay for college tuition but also getting more than they need and using the money to pay living expenses.  This is never a good idea since student loans are non-dischargeable.  This means you will have to pay the student loans back.

So when you and your seniors start discussions about how and where they want to attend college, make sure you look at the over-all picture to take into account your child’s goals, whether you can assist in any way and how much the tuition, books and living expenses will cost.  You may find scholarships by filling out application after application, DYW programs or employers who may assist.  Doing the homework is a must before the time comes.

If one of our Bond & Botes attorneys can help you with your finances, please call today.

Gail Donaldson
Written by Gail Donaldson

Gail Hughes Donaldson is a Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. She’s been helping families work through the bankruptcy process since she started with Bond & Botes back in 1993 as a paralegal. Read her full bio here.

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