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by Abigail Van Buren

Money Should Be No Object for College Bound Students

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to a letter you printed from a high school junior struggling with her mother over exploring colleges. She wanted to apply to many different schools, but due to financial constraints, her mother insisted she limit herself to state-funded schools.

If that girl has the grades, she has many options open to her. Sometimes Ivy League schools give scholarships and grants that can match or better anything offered by a state school. She should also be aware that she can take out student loans that she can repay in installments after she graduates. -- PROUD PARENT OF A SCHOLARSHIP STUDENT

DEAR PROUD: Bless you for wanting to help. I'm often touched by the number of people who read something in my column and reach out. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I'm a single mom with an income under $40,000. My twin daughters and son were all college-bound at the same time. Their school advisers told us to apply to prestigious private schools because they give the most financial aid to students. All three of my children did, and they all received their best offers from Ivy League and religious colleges.

Please tell her to go for it! -- CHRIS IN YAKIMA, WASH.

DEAR CHRIS: You have already done that. I hope your letter will inspire mother and daughter and other college-bound students trying to reach for the stars. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: As a private college counselor for 25 years, I always tell students that application season is one of discovery –- a time to decide what you want to get out of a college education, where you will best fit, and where you might qualify for merit scholarships.

First, apply and get accepted to the colleges of your choice. The time spent filling out applications is worth it. Students who can't afford the filing fee can request a waiver.

The girl whose letter appeared in your column can get an excellent college education if she takes the time to apply. I wish her the best of luck. -- RONNIE IN HOLMDEL, N.J.

DEAR RONNIE: So do I!

DEAR ABBY: I grew up with no father. Mom was a food server with three kids to support. Even so, I was in the top 10 percent of my class. I had dreams. I wanted to attend college and escape a life of poverty.

Against all advice, I applied to five different colleges. I received full scholarships from two Ivy League schools. Room, board and tuition were covered. In four years, I was an Ivy League graduate.

I recommend the college issue of U.S. News & World Report. It not only ranks schools but also lists those that are most generous to the deserving.

The only way to ensure you won't succeed is not even to try. -- EDUCATED IN ATLANTA

DEAR EDUCATED: Your last sentence says it all. Other good places to research scholarships include: � HYPERLINK "http://www.fastweb.com" ��www.fastweb.com�, � HYPERLINK "http://www.finaid.org" ��www.finaid.org�, www.collegenet.com and www.fastaid.com.

I am also told that a booklet published by the American Legion, "Need a Lift?" is another terrific resource. It contains 162 pages listing scholarships, loans, grants and financial aid. (It can be purchased for $3.95 and ordered by calling toll-free: (888) 453-4466.)

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds)

to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 932-6600