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Finding money you don't have to repay

Now that you’ve decided you want to go to college, it’s a great time to look at several free scholarship databases available online.

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Now that you’ve decided you want to go to college, it’s a great time to look at several free scholarship databases available online.

BY AMELIA GOLDSTEIN

Canterbury School of Florida

I'm a junior in high school, and college is at the top of my priority list. Along with that is the anxiety about how to pay for it.

Since the age of 10, I have wanted to be a marine biologist. So the colleges I have been looking for are those with marine or environmental science programs, and I've also been looking for scholarships to help with the tuition.

There are several websites dedicated to scholarships and matching your interests with scholarships dedicated to your area of study. Three of the most well-known are:

• Fastweb.com

• Zinch.com

• Scholarships.com

Some are more accurate than others. On one attempt with Fastweb, I entered all my info, found the majors of environmental science and marine science, and clicked "Find Scholarships."

The first scholarship that came up was the John C. and Cynthia Lynn White MMI Founder's Scholarship. I clicked to get more info and found it to be for those who are going to the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. I have never ridden a motorcycle and can barely tune up my car. I ruled out that scholarship (and also MMI).

Although Fastweb led me astray with motorcycles it also brought me to a "no essay" scholarship for $2,000 that I filled out immediately. (I'm still waiting to hear.) The site noessayscholarships.org contains lots of information about such scholarships, and recommends that though there's no guarantee you'll be granted the money, you can't lose by filling out the applications.

The hunt for money is stressful even without being led on wild goose chases for scholarships you aren't suited for. But summon your patience and keep trying, checking with individual schools as well as the Internet for obscure scholarships you've never heard of, and local foundations. The Bailey Family Foundation, for instance, awards scholarships to high school seniors and college students primarily in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties and takes applications through March 15 for $5,000 awards renewable for four years, based on fairly general criteria (bailey-family.org).

Don't let frustration stand in the way of a debt-free future.

Finding money you don't have to repay 02/17/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 5:43pm]

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