Paying for college: student leaders have tips

photo by Matana McIntire

Kelly Bernardino, ASG President


“Educating yourself on how to apply for scholarships, what a good scholarship application looks like, you know, just getting out there and having that thirst for knowledge and learning. And asking questions and being proactive about your finances.”


“I’ve been saving since I was in middle school. Even if you save just a little bit, it adds up. You know, you watch what you spend. Try not to spend on fast food, even though I do that a lot. It’s a struggle as a college student, but that’s one of the things I would recommend. “


“Seeking out resources. If you are able to, we have things like SNAP benefits, we have a lot of resources on campus. Barney’s Pantry is something that is really useful. You’re allowed in there three times per week; you’re allowed a microwavable meal item and a snack item and two toiletries. “

Opportunites on campus

“Just getting involved. My first year here I definitely relied a lot on scholarships, but sometimes scholarships only last a year. My second year at Mt. Hood I was involved with student government and that has its own benefit; it has tuition wavers, so that’s how I paid my way through. Those, of course, are through ASG, but we have SOAR. And then getting involved with other organizations, like Transiciones and TRIO, and those (others) connect you with scholarships or matching programs. They have MCSP and that’s a matching program; it’s a 5-to-1, so for every one dollar you save, you get five in return. But that’s only available through those programs, TRIO and Transiciones.”

Photo by Matana McIntire

Anna Mar, ASG Director of Finance

Avoid loans if you can

“Personally I believe that no one should be able to pursue a higher education for a better future and then leave the college in a situation where they’re worse off than where they started.

The biggest advice I would give to anybody is that just because you’re qualified for a loan doesn’t mean you should take it. There’s nothing wrong with taking three years or four years of community college rather than just doing the two years – as long as you’re not putting yourself in a worse situation when you leave.”


“You will never qualify for a scholarship if you do not apply. If you do not know how to apply, go to the tutoring center – they will help you write your essays.”


“Do attend orientation. Meet with your adviser and set up your education plan. That way you are only taking the classes you need and spending less money.”

College Success class

There is a class, a College Success class. I did not take that class because I did not know about it, but if I had a do-over, I would. Every student should take it before they take any other class, because this is all the information you can find in that class. They tell you how to pay for your school, how to deal with the financial aid.


The financial aid itself, FAFSA: Again, you don’t know whether you qualify or not unless you apply. So, do apply. Apply as early as possible, you don’t have to have your tax records – you can just guess and then fill it in later.”

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