5 Ways To Get Money for College
Are you finally finished with high school and looking forward to attending college? One of the most important things to figure out is how to pay for your education. With costs increasing each year, many students don’t have access to enough money to pay for their education in full. Fortunately, there are programs available to help cover these expenses. Here are five different options for you to investigate and ways to get money for college.
1. Private Scholarships
The best thing about scholarships is that the funds you receive don’t have to be paid back, ever. There are many different places to look for scholarships. A variety of companies, foundations, and even individuals offer scholarships to prospective students.
Some nonprofit organizations, such as the Friese Foundation run by Don Friese, have set up scholarships for individuals that meet certain specifications. Oftentimes, these programs have very specific application requirements and are geared towards individuals of distinct ethnic backgrounds or religions, may be based on geographical location, or are offered to students looking to pursue a particular degree program. Even though they may be very specialized, there is less competition if you qualify for one.
2. Merit Scholarships
Performing well in high school also opens up opportunities for academic-based scholarships. Students who are in the tops 10% of their graduation class may qualify for additional scholarship opportunities.
The first step for these scholarships is to fill out the FAFSA, an online financial aid application created by the federal government. The great thing about filling out this form is that it is used for many different types of financial aid, and you only need to complete it once.
Most of the top awarding merit scholarships require top ACT or SAT scores, involvement with sports or politics, and additional leadership or social involvement. If you don’t qualify for this elite category of academic scholarships, don’t worry.
Some colleges also offer programs for incoming first-year students. These are often granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure you complete the form as soon as possible.
In addition to scholarships, grants are available to cover college expenses, and this money also doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants, such as the Federal Pell Grant, are awarded to students who meet very stringent income guidelines.
These options are not always meant to cover the entire amount of college, and some parental contribution is expected, but it does lower the amount needed to be paid out of pocket. A grant is paid directly to the school each semester, and you need to reapply each year.
4. Work-Study Jobs
Another unique opportunity is the federal work-study program. This program offers part-time on-campus work for students currently enrolled in that college. Instead of getting a paycheck, students are awarded money to cover their college education.
Most universities only have a limited number of positions available, and you go through an interview similar to a traditional job. So, if this interests you, apply right away and do your best during the application process.
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If you have applied for all the above options and are still in need of additional funds, federal and private loans are available. A loan needs to be repaid, including interest and fees, so be prepared for long-term repayment plans.
Many federal loans use the FAFSA as their application, so you can see all the different options available to you if you complete that form. Federal student loans are a good option because they have a lower interest rate than private loans, and repayment doesn’t begin until after completing your schooling.
Private loans are also available if you still need funding beyond a student loan. Private banks offer these loans and often have a higher interest rate and require immediate repayment plans, so keep these as a last resort.