Eighteen years just wasn’t enough time to save the thousands of dollars needed for four years of college.
Ben McCann and his wife married young at 19. That thrust them into the workforce early and made coming up with money to help pay for their child’s college tuition difficult, he said.
“Even knowing we had 18 years to prepare, that wasn’t enough time,” Ben McCann said.
So, more than five years ago, the Franklin family began looking for options.
Through a financial course offered at their church, they heard about the 21st Century Scholars program, which will pay all or part of a student’s college tuition if the student’s parents meet certain income requirements and as long as the student stays out of trouble and maintains a certain GPA. Ben McCann watched the mail until the application came.
Once Taylor McCann got into the program, the next focus was on paying for housing and any other expenses that come with college.
She got some grants but also signed up for scholarships, keeping a detailed spreadsheet of different ones offered, their due dates and whether she had applied.
Keeping up with the scholarships was difficult, but it was better to work for scholarships now rather than to try and pay off student loans later, she said.
“I would rather have a lot less debt getting scholarships now,” Taylor McCann said.
Cost also played into her decision of where to go to college.
With the 21st Century Scholars program, Taylor McCann could have all of her tuition paid for at a state school or a smaller amount paid if she chose to go to a private school.
What the program would pay for was a big part of the family’s decision of what school Taylor would attend, Ben McCann said.
“It does limit what schools we did strongly look at based on the tuition cost,” he said.
With cost in mind, she decided to attend the University of Southern Indiana, where she will major in biology.
Name: Taylor McCann
School: Franklin Community High School graduate
Parents: Lisa and Ben McCann
College: University of Southern Indiana
Cost: $18,000 per year
Where it’s coming from:
21st Century Scholarship
$500 Nisha Grimm Memorial Scholarship