Going to college can be a costly venture with tuition, room & board, meal plans, books, the list goes on and on. It’s enough to stress out anyone about to take this important step. But furthering your education doesn’t have to be a stressor on your body or your bank account. Here are a few of the ways you can find money for college:
Scholarships: Scholarships are the most common way to get money for college but you might be surprised at how many of them are out there and how you can qualify. Fastweb.com is an internet database that allows you to search thousands of scholarships offered for everything from making good grades to making a good peanut butter sandwich. You can also search other websites like Scholarships.com or the Federal Student Aid website at Studentaid.ed.gov. You can also inquire about scholarship opportunities with corporations and civic organizations in your hometown or the town where you will be attending college. It will require a lot of time and research, but in the end, the amount of money you could score for college is well worth the investment!
Grants: Grants are based on financial need and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. They typically are awarded either by the federal government, the state government or the institution where you will be attending. They are based on specific guidelines and are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis so it is important to file your student aid application early. You can do this by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov or at your school’s financial aid office. You may also have to fill out a financial aid form specific to your institution.
Work Study: Work study allows students to earn money toward their college expenses by working at their school or for select private employers in the school’s community. The positions are part-time and are guaranteed to pay at least minimum wage, although they can vary in responsibilities. Some examples of typical work-study positions would be tutoring, working in office administration, assisting in the school’s library or the student center. Work study positions are also given out based on financial need and can be applied for by filling out the FAFSA.
Student Loans: Although loans don’t qualify as “free money” since they have to be paid back, they are still a huge help to students looking for a way to pay for their education. Loans are available from the federal government by filling out the FAFSA, as well as from private institutions such as Sallie Mae or your banking institution. When selecting where to apply for a student loan, pay attention to the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), the guidelines for repayment, benefits and how available they are for customer service and questions.
There are plenty of places you can find money for your education; you just have to know where to look!