As the cost of attending college continues to rise, students are seeking more non-traditional ways to cut cost.
That’s where Nina Hegyi, a 2007 Central Michigan University alumna and local career coach, thinks she can help.
“I can save students time and money,” Hegyi said. “Since I reside in the Central Michigan area, I can sit down with students and give them one-on-one training in essay writing, interview preparation and scholarship money management. These areas are all key components to mastering your scholarship success.”
Hegyi is the owner and operator of collegepathwayadvisory.com, which allows students to learn more about available sources of financial aid often overlooked by students every year.
Her services aren’t cheap, costing $275 to $300. The cost, Hegyi said, covers the work she does in searching for scholarships students might be eligible for, as well as the time spent working with students and setting up a viable career path.
She said her price is reasonable compared to other services, which charge nearly $1,000 per student. An example being College Planning Professionals, who have locations in Grand Haven, Troy and Farmington Hills. This organization is larger than Hegyi’s, but it has larger costs with services ranging between $3,000 and $7,500.
“They do a little bit more than what I do, but at a higher price,” Hegyi said.
Hegyi’s experience with financial aid training began when she attended Mid Michigan Community College while working in a financial aid work study program.
When she transferred to CMU, Hegyi said she attended many financial aid seminars and read various success manuals, allowing her to escape college with a bachelor’s degree in communications, only owing $10,000.
Kirk Yats, director of scholarships and financial aid at CMU, said students should be wary of outside financial aid resources and should not hesitate coming into his office for help.
“When in doubt, we would much rather have students come in and ask questions and make an appointment to sit down with a counselor, than just assume there is nothing we can do,” Yats said.
Yats added that the CMU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid offers a variety of different, free resources in helping students pay for college.
Many tools are provided on the scholarships and financial aid website, including scholarship information and financial planning calculators.
However, Hegyi said her services can help in ways others cannot.
One of the most important parts of the service she feels she provides is career planning. If students begin working with her early enough, Hegyi said, she can help them set up a college pathway that can often cut the cost of attending college in half or even completely eliminate it.
“Within a few months, the majority of someone’s college education can be paid for, if not all, when clients follow my assistance,” she said.
One of her clients, Audrey Bennett, a senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, said she can attest to the success of Hegyi’s program.
So far, Bennett said it has been nice working with a person rather than going through different websites for advice and ideas.
“I was having a really hard time finding scholarships that applied to me,” Bennett said. “She’s been emailing me lists of different scholarships I can apply for and she’s helped me formulate ideas and strategies to writing essays for some of these scholarships.”