FAFSA and the Financial Aid Office First
Most Catalyst students come from families that don't have study-abroad as an expectation. Most families don't have much extra money to contribute to make your Catalyst dreams come true. To see what your financial aid options can be for your summer Catalyst, you should do three things first:
Make an appointment with your Financial Aid office on campus
Be sure you have filled out a FAFSA to see what federal financial aid might be out there for you.
Apply to every scholarship you can find by using links like this to match yourself with funding sources
Cost or Investment
As you explore scholarship options and meet with financial aid, it's a good time to consider whether The Catalyst feels to you like a "cost" or an "investment." Why? Because borrowing money for things that will depreciate is different from borrowing to fund things that will gain value. Your education will help you get a better job when you graduate. Your Catalyst investment will too. Both are important investments in your future. Only you can decide if either is worth borrowing money to fund.
Looking at Private Loans?
If you need a private loan to make study abroad possible, join the club. Even though borrowing money is never a fun or easy, it has produced super positive results for generations of College students:
I never wanted to do any loans at all for college. But when it came to get serious about study abroad, I didn't have a choice. My parents weren't thrilled with what I decided. But in the end they co-signed the loan I needed for The Catalyst, and after I graduated that $7000 loan costs me about $85 each month. It was totally worth it. Plus a true thing: my Starbucks total each month is about the same. Maggie, Catalyst 18
So What Now?
Build your Catalyst budget! Look at the program fees and also the "all-in" estimate of your total costs. Assess the options you want to explore for your Acceleration break and keep your budget in mind. Then make a plan for your money so you're ready to pay for a planet ticket as soon as hear from The Catalyst team that buying tickets is a "now" thing to do. Then get your plan in place to have your funds ready to pay for your Catalyst costs when they're due, which is usually about 25 May.