Money For College

money for collegeA college education has never been more important for professional success, and yet affording college has never been more challenging for students and their families. College tuition’s are absurdly high, and financial aid budgets have not grown enough along with tuition bills to help students afford the Cost Of Attendance. Many families and students are faced with large tuition bills and have no idea where they will come up with the necessary money for college. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to obtain money for college and finance a college education, starting with ‘free money’ awards such as scholarships and grants, and moving all the way to federal and private student loans.

Scholarships, along with grants, are an ideal source of money for college, as they are ‘free money’ awards, meaning they do not have to be repaid. Scholarships are awarded both on the basis of financial need and/or academic merit, and in some cases (depending on the school), for athletic merit or other special interest reasons. Colleges themselves offer some scholarships, while the government and private organizations sponsor others as well. Ask your high school counselor about any scholarships you might apply for, and contact your college or university’s financial aid office with the same question. Once you have some direction, you should be able to find several scholarships that you may be able to receive as a source of money for college.
Like scholarships, grants are ‘free money’ awards, and are an ideal source of money for college. Need-based grants are the most common form of grants, and are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need; however, there are also many merit-based grants. Federal grants, such as the Pell Grant and the Academic Competitiveness Grant are available and offered by the Department of Education, while many colleges and universities offer institutional grants based on both merit and financial need.  As with scholarships, eligibility for grants varies depending on the grant, so be sure to do your research.
Federal student loans are the best source of funding once all scholarship and grant options have been explored; if federal student loans are exhausted and you still need money for college, you can turn to private student loans as a last source to cover the financial gap and provide you with just enough money for college. Federal loans offer more favorable borrowing and repayment terms, but private loans from third party lenders are a good final option when you need to obtain a bit more money for college. It is wise to plan early and explore all possible options thoroughly. Paying for college can be challenging, but with the right approach getting money for college can be easier and less stressful. If you need additional money for college, you can search, compare, and apply for private student loans using our Student Loan Comparison Tool above.

 

 

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