College-bound high school seniors and their parents are moving at top speed in the fall months, trying to keep up with SAT admission test dates and agonizing over what to write in college application essays. Then panic sets in, when families realize the daunting cost of a college education.

There is a local foundation established to help students and their parents navigate the complex financial aid process and obtain financial help for college. The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has been assisting families in Santa Barbara County since 1962, giving away scholarship money and offering free advice on how to pay for college.

The online scholarship application for seniors graduating in 2009 is available now. Click here to visit the Scholarship Foundation Web site for details and to apply. The foundation offers aid to students planning to attend full time at two-year colleges, four-year colleges, vocational schools and graduate and medical schools.

The Scholarship Foundation is also accepting pledges and donations to help needy students. Click here to find out more about the foundation by reading its Report to the Community.

Colette Hadley is executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.