Let's face it...college is expensive and frankly, these costs can deter people from reaching their full potential. Most students need to access multiple avenues to cover the costs. However, not every kind of financial aid is the same.
It is wise to look to scholarships and grants since these two kinds do not have to be repaid. Immediately taking on student loans is not a great option. There is plenty of free money for post-secondary available if you know where to look. The following discusses the pros and cons of different financial aid sources to help you determine your best options.
Grants are Key
Grants are a specific kind of financial aid offered by your school, your state government or the federal government that does not need to be repaid. When you apply for early admission, numerous schools automatically consider you for grants. Check out StudentAid.gov as an excellent resource to help you locate and apply for various federal grants.
Finding Scholarships and Winning Them
Typically, scholarships are offered by private organizations and schools. They also do not have to be repaid. Similarly, numerous schools will automatically consider you for scholarships when you apply. If you are seeking different scholarship opportunities, try looking at some of the Scholarship Databases online (such as studentscholarships.org) to view hundreds of scholarship opportunities. These sites will save you hours of random searching online. It is a great way to see all the available free money out there. You will be able to note the application deadlines and get organized to apply.
Work-Study and Working in College
The part-time employment program that is offered by the government is called The Federal Work-Study Program. It allows students to earn funds that they can use toward college expenses. You need to first fill out the FAFSA to qualify. You may be awarded a work-study as part of your financial aid package.
Many students choose to work during school holidays and over the summer to help pay for their college costs. You may also find a part-time job that works around your class schedule if you can fit it in. Alternatively, some students opt to work full-time and attend school part-time. There are plenty of options to help you pursue your educational dreams.
Family Contributions and College Savings Plans
It is estimated that 3 in 4 parents are planning to pay for half or more of their child's education costs. Does your family have a Coverdell Education Savings Account? Perhaps, you have a 529 Plan? These accounts are tax-advantaged investment accounts to help people specifically save for college.
Some parents have opted for a traditional saving account, certificates of deposit or other money market accounts. Speak with your family to see if there are any college funds being set aside and how much approximately they may be able to contribute to your education.