- Grants for College – Earn a College Degree Debt-Free
- What are the Differences between Grants and Scholarships?
- Types of Grants for College Students
- Federal Grants that Pay for College
- How Do I Apply for Grants to Help Pay for College?
- State Grants that Pay for College
- 6 Ways to Get Free Money From the Government
- Free money from the government: COVID relief and more
- 1. Get help with utility bills
- 2. Find money for child care
- 3. Recover unclaimed money
- 4. Get down payment assistance
- 5. Find tax credits for health insurance
- 6. Apply for college grants
- Watch out for scams
- 18 places you can find free money for college
- Free money for college: Government
- 1. Federal grants
- 2. State grants
- Free money for college: Local
- 3. Employers
- 4. Volunteer organizations
- 6. Labor unions and professional associations
- Free money for college: National
- 7. Fortune 500 companies
- 8. Banks and credit unions
- 9. Philanthropic institutions
- 10. Advocacy groups
- 11. Health organizations
- Free money for college: Internet
- 12. Online scholarship websites
- Free money for college: Military
- 13. ROTC
- 14. Veterans
- 15. Veterans service organizations
- Free money for college: Skills and academics
- 16. College scholarship programs
- 17. Athletic scholarships
- 18. College career organizations
- Now you know how to get free money for college
- The Best Ways to Get Free Money For College
- Basic Advice to Get Free Money for College
- Grants and Scholarships
- Federal Grants
- State Grants
- Athletic Scholarships
- Academic and Merit-Based Scholarships
- Race and Nationality Scholarships
- Health, Disability, Relation to a Cancer Victim
- Community Service/Volunteering
- Unusual Scholarships
- Backyard Scholarships
- More Tips to Cut down Your College Costs
- GoCollege Guide to Student Grant Programs
- Institutional, State and Merit Based Grants
- How to Apply for College Grants
Grants for College – Earn a College Degree Debt-Free
College grants are a kind of financial aid that you don’t need to pay back. Grants for college students may help pay for tuition, books, housing and other school expenses.
a scholarship, grants for college are free money that you can use to fund your education. Un student loans which you have to reimburse, you only pay back a grant under a few conditions. For instance, if you withdraw early from a program or change your enrollment status.
What are the Differences between Grants and Scholarships?
Both scholarships and grants are forms of gift aid. This means, it is money you can use for college that you do not need to earn or repay. Either a grant or a scholarship may help you answer the question “how can I pay for college without going into debt?” But the terms are not interchangeable.
Grants are usually awarded student financial needs. Popular grants that college students apply for are available through:
- Federal government
- State/local governments
- Colleges, universities, career schools
Scholarships are usually awarded student merit academic, athletic or artistic talents. Many scholarships are available through:
- Private or community foundations
- Nonprofit and for profit corporations.
The number of students attending 4 year colleges and receiving aid is on the rise. At last count, the federal government awarded $30 billion dollars in need based grants. Recent figures show that 63.3% of college undergraduates receive grants. The average amount of grant money received by a college student is $7,400.
Eligibility to receive a grant for college varies. But to qualify for federal student aid one needs to meet a few basic requirements below:
- Show financial need
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau)
- Be registered with Selective Service
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school
- Sign the FAFSA, committing to the terms
- Show you are qualified to obtain a college or career school education (E.g. show your GED or high school diploma)
Types of Grants for College Students
Grants for college students are more often need based but some are merit based too. These grants may have a performance indicator. This might mean you need to maintain your GPA at certain level.
Merit based grants often factor in an applicant’s grades, commitment to community service and leadership. Instead of your family income. Receiving one might add some prestige to your college transcripts. Your home state may have a variety of grants this.
Federal Grants that Pay for College
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers a range of federal grants. These need based grant programs provide free college money. They are usually for students attending four year colleges or universities, community colleges, and career schools. The amount of money each person receives may depend on:
- Your financial need (EFC)
- Cost of attending the college of your choice
- Enrollment status (full or part time)
- Length of Enrollment (full or partial year)
The EFC is your Expected Family Contribution. In other words, what you can afford to pay for college. State grants may boost your college fund too. This can help if your EFC is low, and your federal financial aid doesn’t cover your tuition.
To come to a number, an EFC asks for several things. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits. Benefits include unemployment or Social Security. It might also factor in in the size of your family and if more than one person will be attending college in the same year.
The four main types of federal grants that provide funds for college are:
How Do I Apply for Grants to Help Pay for College?
When looking for federal grants to pay for college, there are some steps to take:
- Fill out the FAFSA. Both federal and state governments give out college grants. To find out if you qualify and to become eligible, you need to fill out a standard form. This form is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results allow colleges to figure out how much financial aid you qualify for. When filling it out, you’ll need your family’s tax returns, so plan ahead.
- Submit the FAFSA on time. One needs to file the FAFSA on or ahead of the June 30 deadline. But many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for financial aid. You can find your state’s deadline on the Federal Student Aid website. Check with your college to take note of theirs too. To remain eligible, every year you attend school, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA, so mark your calendar.
- Wait for your financial aid letter. After you fill out your FAFSA and submit it on time, you wait for a financial aid award letter. These come from the colleges that accepted you. This award letter will tell you if you are eligible for any college grants or other financial aid. scholarships, work study, and federal student loans. You may accept all the aid offered to you but do not have to. In fact, it is a good idea to understand what the terms are so there are no surprises.
Some organizations and corporations also sponsor grants. These grants often reward students who excel in high school and plan to study in a specific field. They may line up with colleges that have these programs. Or, allow a student to use the money at the college of their choice. Free college grant money may be available if you fall into one or more of the following categories too:
State Grants that Pay for College
The Department of Education in your state may help you find grants to help you pay for college. Most states offer need based college grants in amounts determined by your FAFSA. You may need to maintain a GPA, be a resident and/or pursue specific majors.
Check out our list of college grants below. We have 859,974 awards worth $3B.
6 Ways to Get Free Money From the Government
Whoever said “nothing in life comes free” didn’t take into account government programs that help people pay for things college, day care and a new home. And during the coronavirus outbreak, there is even more assistance available to you.
Free money from the government: COVID relief and more
The high-priority free money from the government these days is COVID relief. Use NerdWallet's stimulus check calculator to determine how much COVID relief money you could expect and find a link to track the status of your payment from the U.S. Treasury.
Above and beyond pandemic payouts, there are other day-to-day government programs available to those in need. But un COVID assistance, you'll have to seek out and apply for these financial boosts.
Most of these programs are funded by taxes, so technically you pay something, but it's as close as you’ll get to finding free money from the government. Note that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the availability of some of these programs.
1. Get help with utility bills
Need help paying your heating or phone bill? These programs may be able to help:
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households cover heating and cooling costs. Grants are issued via states, which receive funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. Each state sets its own eligibility requirements, including income levels.
- The Lifeline program offers discounted phone or internet service. You must meet certain eligibility requirements.
If you’re facing financial anxiety, NerdWallet can find ways to save.
2. Find money for child care
Day care is a major expense for many families. Annual costs for infant care range from just shy of $5,000 in Mississippi to more than $22,600 in Washington, D.C., according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on low- and middle-income workers.
The Child Care and Development Fund can help ease the burden for low-income families. Administered by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, the fund gives states, territories and tribes money to distribute to families to help pay for child care.
Grants are income-based and typically cover care for children under 13. Find the Child Care and Development Fund contact for your state.
3. Recover unclaimed money
This isn’t so much free money as it is money owed to you. It could be a long-forgotten deposit paid to a utility company, a lost savings bond, unclaimed life insurance benefits or an uncashed paycheck.
These unclaimed funds are turned over to the state when the owner can’t be located, often due to a clerical error or companies having an old address on file. Visit unclaimed.org, a site affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers, to find out if you have money waiting to be claimed.
During the 2019 fiscal year, more than $3 billion in previously unclaimed property was returned to owners, with an average claim payment of $1,780.
4. Get down payment assistance
You want to buy a home but can’t afford a down payment. Enter state-based down payment assistance. These grants and loans help you cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home.
In Nevada, for example, prospective homeowners who qualify can pay a fee and receive a grant of up to 5% of their home loan value to put toward a down payment and closing costs. Help isn’t reserved for low-income borrowers. For government loans, Nevada’s grant program is available to those with an annual income below $98,500. See if you qualify.
5. Find tax credits for health insurance
The future of the Affordable Care Act is murky at best. But for now, the premium tax credits issued via the program are alive and well. Here’s how they work:
Individuals and families who buy coverage through the government's health insurance marketplace (HealthCare.gov) may qualify for a credit toward their insurance premiums. The credit can be paid directly to your insurance provider, lowering your monthly payments.
6. Apply for college grants
College grants, the federal Pell Grant, can make it easier to pay for college. Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant could get up to $6,345 for the 2020-21 award year.
The exact amount awarded is factors that include financial need, the cost of attendance and enrollment status. Students can apply for the Pell Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
The application is also used to qualify for many state and institutional grants and scholarships.
Other federal grants for college include:
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant.
- The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
Watch out for scams
While there are ways to get free money from the government, there are also grant scams that claim to give you free money from the government in hopes of stealing from you. Don’t be fooled. The government rarely reaches out to people with offers of free money, and when it does, it’s never via social media.
18 places you can find free money for college
If you’re hoping to limit your student loan debt by finding free money for college, you’re in luck. Of course, no money is really “free” — you’ll still need to work for it — but with the scholarships and grants, you can win money for school that you generally won’t have to pay back, un student loans.
Plenty of scholarships and grants are out there. College students received a total of $135.6 billion in grant money during the 2018-19 academic year, according to the College Board. The key is to start early and research all opportunities. To get a jump-start on the search process, check out these 18 sources for scholarships and grants recommended by experts.
Again, although these awards are offered for free, there are situations where you would be expected to return some or all of the money. In the case of government awards, for example, if you drop school or switch to part-time, then you may need to give back a portion of the funds. As a result, make sure to review any possible claw-backs when you receive any of these grants or scholarships.
Free money for college: Government
Uncle Sam is a leading source of grants for college students. Here are some options for government funding to help subsidize your education.
1. Federal grants
During the 2018-19 school year, students received $41.3 billion in federal grant aid to help pay for college.
The Pell Grant program is the largest federal college grant program for undergraduates. These grants are need-based, so you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In the 2018-19 school year, 31% of students received Pell Grants.
Other options include:
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
To apply for these grants, you must first complete the FAFSA.
2. State grants
State grant aid rose 7% from 2016-17 to 2017-18. In 12 states, full-time students received an average of more than $1,000 in state grants.
While not all states offer the same amount of state-based aid, many are working to expand their grant programs. For example, New York’s Excelsior Scholarship program offers eligible students up to $5,500 per year toward college tuition.
If you’re curious about what type of state-based financial aid is available to you, you can get your state education agency’s contact information through the U.S. Department of Education.
Free money for college: Local
A great way to find free money for college is to look where you live.
“I recommend students start in their own community, school or family to really get to know themselves, their family history, memberships, involvement and employment so that they have the facts about possible scholarship connections,” said Kim Stezala, known as The Scholarship Lady.
Here are some resources to look at for local scholarship opportunities.
People don’t often apply for local employer-based scholarship programs, said Jolyn Brand, founder of Brand College Consulting.
However, they can be a great source of scholarship funds. In fact, 7% of grant money in 2018-19 came from private and employer grants, according to College Board.
To avoid missing out on opportunities, Brand suggested both parents and grandparents ask at work about scholarships for dependents. Students who are working can also take advantage of scholarships through their own employers.
Of note, 85% of employers offer educational benefits such as tuition reimbursement, according to a report by WorldatWork.
4. Volunteer organizations
Brand said to look to volunteer organizations where you may be a member to find scholarship opportunities.
For example, the Peace Corps offers tuition assistance for graduate students at more than 90 participating universities and colleges. AmeriCorps provides the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for members who complete service within a 12-month window. Hundreds of higher education institutions may match the AmeriCorps award, which is worth up to $6,195 in 2019-20.
Churches are a great scholarship source, said Ronald Ramsdell, founder of College Aid Consulting Services. The United Methodist Church offers financial assistance through more than 40 scholarship programs.
The Episcopal Church offers young students a variety of grants and scholarships, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. wise, the United Church of Christ offers various grants and scholarships.
6. Labor unions and professional associations
The Union Plus Scholarship Program is for students whose parents or spouse is an active or retired member of a union. It has awarded $4.5 million in scholarships since 1991. Students are allowed to reapply each year for additional opportunities.
The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association provides scholarships to union members’ children or grandchildren. Eligible applicants can receive between $3,000 and $12,000 in scholarship funds.
Free money for college: National
While local groups are a great place to find money for college, don’t limit yourself just to your neck of the woods. According to Ramsdell, big banks and large corporations offer scholarships to students across the U.S. Here are some sources of national scholarships.
7. Fortune 500 companies
Scholarships by private groups fall within the broader category of private and employer grants, which — as we noted — account for 7% of grant money provided to students in 2018-19.
Google, Walmart and Coca-Cola Co. are among the big businesses offering college assistance.
Coca-Cola offers multiple scholarships each year to help high-achieving high school seniors pay for college. Each year, the company selects 150 students to receive $20,000 each. Eligible students should have top-tier grades and a knack for leadership.
8. Banks and credit unions
Ramsdell recommended checking with financial institutions. Bank of America, SunTrust and Citigroup are among the major financial institutions offering scholarships.
SunTrust offers a unique opportunity where students can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win $500 in scholarship money. For the 2018-19 school year, 27 students were awarded the scholarship.
Brand said students should also check with credit unions, especially ones their parents may have a relationship with.
9. Philanthropic institutions
According to the National Philanthropic Trust, 14% of all charitable donations went to support education. A significant portion of philanthropic funding for education is used for grants and scholarships.
10. Advocacy groups
There are myriad advocacy groups offering opportunities for free money for college funding to facilitate enrollments by people with certain demographic traits.
For example, there are scholarships for LGBTQ individuals, women, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and others. Check to see if there is an advocacy group that can provide help with college funding.
11. Health organizations
If you have had health problems, institutions aimed at helping to educate people about your condition could prove to be a source of scholarship funds.
The Diabetes Scholars Foundation, for example, helps students with Type 1 diabetes by providing education scholarship opportunities and awarding $5,000 to help pay for college.
Free money for college: Internet
Look online for sources of money for your college tuition.
“I always encourage students to sign up for two scholarship search engines and fill out a profile,” Stezala said. “While the websites may have nearly the same pool of scholarships in their databases, you may still find different scholarships in each one because they use different methods in the matching process.”
So, where should you look?
12. Online scholarship websites
Scholarships.com, Fastweb, BigFuture and MoolahSPOT were among the websites recommended by the experts.
There are many different online tools to find scholarships, but the key is to make sure you’re only looking at legitimate sites.
“Never, never pay a fee under any circumstances,” Ramsdell warned, even if the site offers you a guarantee. Often, families pay these fees and are denied when they try to get their money back under the guarantee because they don’t receive scholarship money.
Free money for college: Military
Military members and their families may be entitled to a variety of scholarships and aid to support their education. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) distributed more than $11 million in education benefits in 2018. Scholarships and educational funding may be available.
There are a variety of ROTC scholarships available. In addition to ROTC scholarships, active service members can access education funds up to $4,500 to help curb the cost of school.
Students can check them out on the Federal Student Aid office website. ROTC scholarships are available through the Army, Air Force and Navy.
There are several programs providing educational benefits to veterans. These included the:
- Post 9/11 GI Bill
- All-Volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program
- Educational Assistance for Members of the Selected Reserve
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- Post-Vietnam Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
- Reserve Educational Assistance Program
15. Veterans service organizations
Various organizations that serve veterans offer scholarship funds.
These include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Paralyzed Veterans of America. In 2019, the American Legion has awarded $130,000 in scholarships.
Free money for college: Skills and academics
If you have special skills or academic prowess, you can often turn your talents into college cash.
16. College scholarship programs
Around 35% of scholarships and grants come directly from colleges.
Stezala recommended Cappex to students looking to maximize the chances of receiving a scholarship from a college.
“They have an admissions calculator that shows you your chance of being admitted to a college,” she said. “It is a good way to see how you rank compared to other students. If you rank highly and apply to that college, the college itself may offer you a scholarship to attend.”
17. Athletic scholarships
More than 150,000 student-athletes attending NCAA Division I and II schools receive over $2.9 billion annually in athletic scholarships, according to the NCAA.
While you must be an elite athlete to obtain one of these scholarships — only around 2% of high school athletes are provided with funding — Brand recommended looking to local sports organizations you are part of to see if they offer any scholarship opportunities.
18. College career organizations
If you know which major you’d to pursue in college, it can be a good idea to join career-related associations and start networking early. By joining a club whose interests are similar to yours, you’ll be able to meet with relevant people in the industry, know what’s going on in the field and major, and be privy to scholarship opportunities that may be available.
If you’re pursuing a degree in communications or public relations, for example, you may consider joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The PRSSA awards more than $30,000 annually to students who excel in public relations.
It should be noted that membership in a certain organization is sometimes preferred or required to be eligible.
Now you know how to get free money for college
All these resources should help you find money for college. The key is to start early and be thorough in your search efforts.
According to Ramsdell, most students who start in their junior year of high school should be able to get at least some money if they exhaust their options for funding.
“It’s the lottery,” Ramsdell said. “If you don’t play, you’re not going to win.”
Sage Singleton Evans contributed to this report
This article originally appeared on StudentLoanHero.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
Main Image Credit: Nadasaki/iStock.
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The Best Ways to Get Free Money For College
College is expensive with an average cost of a four-year private school being $34,740 in 2017-2018. Unless you want to spend a big portion of your adult life paying back your student loan you’d better find another way to get some (or all) money to invest in your future education.
How does free money for college sound? Are you ready to figure out the system to find enough money for college to avoid student loans completely? The fact is that practically everyone is eligible for some kind of scholarship or grant, you just need to put in some effort and scratch below the surface and find the right one for you and your needs.
Keep on reading and find out various options on how to get free money for college.
Basic Advice to Get Free Money for College
- Have a talk with your high school counselor. It is their job to inform you and provide services regarding finding a right option for you.
- Search the Internet, join the forums, talk to people. Simply put, engage in finding the right scholarship or grant so you won’t have to work full time during your studies (and miss a party or two)
- FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is required for most of scholarships and grants. Experts say the best time to fill it out is as early as January as it works according to first-come, first-serve principle. Fill it out carefully, honestly and on time.
- Apply for many scholarships and do it every year.
Grants and Scholarships
As much as these two terms are frequently confused, there is a distinctive difference between them and understanding it might help you decide which option is better for you. What both will do is offer you financial aid which you don’t need to repay (un student loans).
A scholarship helps you according to your merits (academic performance, athletic ability, etc.) or some traits (background, etc.) and it can come from different sources while a grant is your needs (financial, etc.) and it comes from federal or state financial aid.
Make sure you start on time and do your research well as there are always requirements you need to meet (certain GPA, etc.)
Students with financial difficulties are most ly to receive a federal grant. A federal grant is literally free money for college. These grants are competitive so the advice about having to research and apply on time really needs to be taken seriously.
You are required to fulfill FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and supply the information about your finances. One of the biggest and most popular federal Grants is Pell Grant but there is a variety of Federal Student Grant Programs.
While grants generally don’t need to be repaid, make sure you meet all the requirements so you don’t get yourself in an unpleasant situation of repaying a grant.
Believe it or not your state wants you to stay there and to study locally so they will offer you free money for college if you do stay local. They also use FAFSA information to work out if and how much financial assistance you need. State grants can be merits or needs.
Student athletes face even more challenges when figuring out how to find resources for college. Working is practically the question because between lectures, sports and studying, there is just not enough time.
It is not impossible to find the right scholarship but, every scholarship, you need to know where to look. You should consult your coach or try to go to colleges that offer financial aid for athletes.
Any other organization you can think of that might offer you money the sport you play might do the trick. There are national and local scholarships for athletes. The usual requirement is to play any sport at your school but sometimes you are required to play a specific one.
In some cases it is not even necessary to be on your college sports team. You can apply for additional sports scholarship even if you have applied for another one.
Academic and Merit-Based Scholarships
Some of the most competitive scholarships are academic or merit based scholarships. Strong grades are a must as well as high ranking in your class. Academic scholarships are merit-based but merit scholarships don’t have to be academic-based as they can be awarded according to artistic or even athletic achievement.
Race and Nationality Scholarships
In order to promote equal higher education opportunities for everybody scholarships your race or nationality can be found and they can also offer you substantial financial aid.
Health, Disability, Relation to a Cancer Victim
If you have a health problem or disability you might be eligible for some of the scholarships from organizations aiming to inform the public about the condition or just help you pursue your higher education while you fight the illness. As far as cancer is concerned the same opportunity goes if you are a child of a cancer victim. Contact your healthcare provider or related organizations as they can help you out finding the right scholarship for you.
Some of the United States Armed Forces programs can offer to cover most or all of your college courses expenses. And not only that, but they will pay you a stipend while studying.
In addition, if you serve your country for three years, your veteran benefits will cover tuition for every public college.
Air Force, Army, or Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps offer highly popular ROTC scholarships.
A scholarship that rewards you for helping others? Try volunteering and double the benefit. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Learn and Serve America pay out awards to those who have completed service (for example during your gap year).
Volunteering provides you with precious experience in helping others and you will get certain amount of money to help out your college budget. Not to mention something to show off on your applications. The areas you can choose to volunteer at range from disaster relief and children in need to crisis support.
Green Volunteers offer you the opportunity to care about the environment in exchange for a scholarship while websites VolunteerMatch match prospective volunteers with their area of interest.
There are so many non-conventional scholarships that reward free money for college certain talents or just traits. There are even scholarships for those who consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or non-religious, scholarships for tall people, those who research potatoes, etc. We cannot stress enough: almost everybody can get some kind of scholarship! Do the research or find more here.
We even have our own $2,000 annual scholarship program, don’t forget to apply!
Community groups, churches, and other various local groups often offer smaller awards for college but they are easier to win. They offer scholarships only to those who are active members of their organizations, so just knock on their door and see what they offer.
By registering on some of the crowdfunding sites you can collect (strangers’) donations for studying. Check out sites GoFundMe or ScholarMatch and you can raise money to help pay for your studies.
You can even use it for studying abroad, books, accommodation, etc. Just be honest and tell your story, your plans, and ambitions, share it on social media and let’s see what will happen.
Don’t forget to share it with all your friends and family.
Many employers are willing to provide financial aid to their workers who attend college or even their workers’ children and grandchildren. The obvious requirement is to study in the field of your work.
More Tips to Cut down Your College Costs
- Try a local community college. If money is an issue why not consider taking general education courses at much lower price (about a half) and only then move on to finish your degree at a four-year institution?
- Find a part-time job while in college. Of course you can work and study. Most students usually work only part-time as they are spending most of their time studying or at lectures, but it doesn’t have to be a typical job ( pizza delivery, etc.). You have so many other options (office worker, fancy restaurant server, etc.) if you get everything organized and, of course, online jobs are always a great idea. Another possibility is to attend a work college where you work for about 20 hours a week in exchange for lowering your college costs. Whatever job you decide on, remember: school is a priority!
- Live at home. Living on campus is a one-of-a-kind experience but it can cost you quite a lot. If you want to cut down on your total college expenses move back home if your parents live nearby. Another idea is to rent an apartment and share the costs with your roommates.
- Take a year off and save up money. It will give you some extra time to rethink about your future education and allow you to find a job and save up a decent amount of money for college. Be smart and don’t waste your gap year but make the most of it by working and gaining necessary experience.
Unless you want to become a part of a student loan debt statistics take advantage of all types of financial resources and finding as much free money for college as you can will help you.
Do the research, start early (as early as junior year) and take your time in finding what works for you. Be careful not to become a victim of scam sites while searching, you should never have to pay to apply or be aligible for a scholarship.
GoCollege Guide to Student Grant Programs
Grants are monies allocated by issuing agencies for accomplishing specific goals.
Of the thousands of grants issued in the United States each year, very few are offered directly to individuals, and even fewer are specifically related to educating you.
As you wade through the various available programs, look for individual student grants that you can apply for directly, rather than those that are issued to institutions or communities.
Grants are scholarships in that they provide financial aid that is not required to be repaid. The funds are applied to school expenses in the same way student loans are.
Tuition, books, housing, and other costs associated with post-secondary education are paid for or offset by grants.
These programs are typically administered by participating institutions of higher education (IHE), so your funds are collected from the financial aid office at your school.
Federal and State Governments commonly fund student grant programs, which are typically awarded a series of metrics that includes economic need, ability to pay, student status and academic achievements.
Though your level of need is considered,grant awards are not exclusively your family’s income.
In fact, two general types of grant programs stand out for college students Need-based grants and Merit-based grants.
Institutional, State and Merit Based Grants
Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) also provide financial aid. These programs target the financial shortcomings that exist between what a family is able to pay, and what the school actually costs. Some institutional programs are strictly need-based, while others are tied to academic performance.
“Merit Awards” are school contributions that reward academic achievement in a way that resembles giving scholarships. Merit awards are sometimes tied to financial need, but in many cases eligibility is open to all high-achievers, regardless of their ability to pay.
States initiate grant and scholarship programs of their own. When you submit your FAFSA and have your resulting SAR submitted to colleges within your state, you are automatically considered for some state grants.
Others require separate applications, so consult with the financial aid office where you plan to attend school.
College financial aid departments are best equipped to provide information about specific grant programs that might yield fruit for you.
State grants are linked to need, achievement, and a host of other individual features that define eligibility. Specific program requirements can often be accessed through individual states’ issuing agencies. For example, the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board lists the following opportunities:
- Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG) – Need based program for in-state tuition assistance.
- Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG)
- Talent Incentive Program (TIP) – Funds reserved for the most economically disadvantaged college-bound Wisconsin students.
- Indian Student Assistance Grant
- Hearing and Visually Handicapped Student Grant
How to Apply for College Grants
The process yields funding for your education, so give due diligence to uncovering whatever funding opportunities exist for you. Above all, here are 7 simple points to improve your chances:
- Submit your completed federal application on time, according to FAFSA deadlines. For quickest attention, forms can be filled out online.
- Make sure required state applications are submitted on time, and to the proper administering agencies.
- Allow time for corrections and clarifications related to your applications. If a source has finite funding, it could run money before your flawed application is considered.
- Align yourself with the financial aid professionals at your school. The financial aid landscape is always changing, so up-to-date knowledge is reserved for those who administer these programs every day. Some applications incorporate recommendations from individual financial aid offices, so you definitely want these staffers to be familiar with your situation.
- Maintain eligibility requirements. Don’t overlook GPA and other requirements that influence your eligibility for ongoing awards.
- Exploit your uniqueness. Investigate opportunities that target students you. For example, music grants for musicians, race eligible programs, vocational options, and so on.
- Provide proper documentation. Be aware that some applications specify extra documentation that must be submitted for consideration. Academic transcripts, proof of residency, ethnic verification and other paperwork should be made available on request.