Ask many parents of a soon-to-be college students and they'll tell you that they're losing sleep over how to pay for their offspring's higher education. Even people who have been saving since their kids were toddlers are seeing rising tuition, housing and activity costs and are concerned.

Every little bit helps when you and/or your child is heading to the bookstore or registrar's office. Unless of course, you're a millionaire or your progeny has a full ride. (But we're not addressing those situations here, because- -we don't need too!)

According to the College Board and College Data (Keeping in mind these are estimates):

  • The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.
  • The cost of "room and board" depends on the campus housing and food plans you choose. The average cost of room and board in 2017–2018 ranged from $10,800 at four-year public schools to $12,210 at private schools.
  • Most colleges estimate the average costs for required learning materials. But some colleges even include the cost of a computer and computer accessories. The  average cost for books and supplies for the 2017–2018 school year was $1,250 at public colleges and $1,220 at private colleges.

I won't even mention fees, transportation costs, etc., here. What I will say is, that without the help of scholarship money when I was in college a million years ago, my parents would have gone broke much sooner than they did.

With all of this in mind, First Premier Bank is accepting applications until March 16, for Community Scholarships. They will be giving 18 $2,000 scholarships this year to high school seniors who are very active in their communities. You can download an application at First Premier's website.

You or your student must be a First Premier customer, your student must be attending a South Dakota school in the fall semester of 2018 and the payment will be made directly to the school of choice.

You can see all the eligibility requirements at the First Premier website.

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