College can be expensive and figuring out how to pay for it can be an incredibly daunting experience. Luckily, there are several avenues you can explore to get funding for your education. Here are a couple options.
If you haven’t received any scholarships or grants, student loans are an option. An article written by Katie Lobosco for cnn.com states, “You’ll want to borrow money from the federal government before turning to a private lender because federal loans offer lower interest rates and more borrower protections. This is yet another reason to fill out the FAFSA. You won’t be able to get a federal student loan if you didn’t submit the form.” The article goes on to say, “First-year undergrads can borrow up to $5,500. Some students who demonstrate more financial need will be allowed to borrow subsidized loans, which won’t accrue interest until after they graduate. Another type of federal student loan, called a PLUS loan, allows parents to borrow to help their child pay for college. PLUS loans require a credit check and come with a higher interest rate.” Your goal should be to get through school with as little debt as possible. Exhaust all other avenues before you take the loan route.
Scholarships are a great way to earn money for school. There are many websites dedicated to listing scholarships. Most will even allow you to filter and find specific ones to apply for. For example, it can show you scholarships created for left- handed people, people over 5’8, etc. These applications typically require an essay and you will likely be competing with hundreds and even thousands of other applicants. However, it’s worth the time to try to earn as many as you can. Although it may seem daunting, consider writing an essay that can be used or slightly tweaked to fit several different application requirements. Work smarter so you’re not bogged down with writing a new essay for every single scholarship you apply for.
Grants are essentially free money. The government, your state and your potential school will all have grants available that you can apply for. This is money you will receive and never have to pay back. Make it your top priority to apply for as many grants as you can. The effort will be worth any money you receive.
Work study is another avenue of funding available to those who and eligible and complete the FAFSA. The number of jobs and whether or not you qualify for one has to do with government funding. They will grant an employer ‘work study’ funds that will help pay your salary but your hours/pay can’t exceed that funding. It’s a great option for anyone looking to limit their student loan debt. Talk with a financial aid advisor to learn more.