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“Having enough money to pay back loans will probably be an issue,” Miss Bronchella said, but she is hopeful teachers’ salaries will increase with growing shortages. She hasn’t yet applied for federal financial aid, something Mr. Feitz strongly recommends.

Students should apply for financial aid even if they think they won’t qualify for anything, he said, because they often are surprised by the grant and scholarships they receive. Also, many schools use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to dole out their own scholarship money.

“It’s never too late to apply, but the sooner you apply, the better your chances of getting money,” he said. “You don’t even need to know what school you will be attending — just fill out the form as soon as you can.”

The FAFSA, available at www.fafsa.ed.gov, asks for information about student and parent income and family situation, including divorce and how many people in the home are attending school.

c Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.