There are many types of financial aid a student might be eligible for. Each can pay for some portion of college expenses such as tuition, books and lab fees. Becoming familiar with the various options available can help you make an educated decision about how to approach paying for college. With many of today’s college graduates entering the work force tens of thousands of dollars in debt, it is never too soon to start preparing for the college expense.
Many students are eligible for federal assistance for college expenses. The first step in finding out if you are one of them is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The submission is free and is required by most state colleges for anyone seeking financial assistance. You will need to complete this if you are applying for any of the following: Pell Grant, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan and work-study. It is important to be aware of the deadlines for filing and the documents you will need, such as your or your parents’ income tax returns. You will have to reapply each year.
After your application has been reviewed, you will receive a notice, usually within a few weeks, advising you of the amount of financial assistance you are eligible for. Anything not covered by this amount will be your responsibility to pay. You will need to find other ways to finance any remaining tuition costs. This is where grants, scholarships, loans and other forms of aid will come in handy.
Naturally there are scholarships for those with outstanding academic or athletic records but what about the rest of us? Did you know performing volunteer work could earn you a scholarship? The National Service Scholarships Program, AmeriCorps, and other scholarship awards for a variety of community service programs exist that you can benefit from. Some websites offer scholarship lotteries as a way of promoting traffic to their sites. This can be another option.
Military Financial Aid
The Montgomery G.I. Bill is a major reason many people enlist in the military. It entitles the individual to up to $50,000 for college depending on the term of his enlistment and the job he is chosen for. Other military aid is available to veterans and their dependents. The nature of the financial aid has restrictions and time limitations. In some cases, dependents must be between specific ages or must be the surviving dependent of a veteran killed in action. Check with Veterans Affairs for more information on your particular case if you think you might qualify for military aid as a dependent of a veteran.
College Supplied Aid
Some schools offer additional assistance to their students. These might be scholarships or fellowships specific to that school only. Other assistance might come in the form of tuition payment plans. College partnerships are arrangements between local community colleges and a nearby four-year college. Attending a two year college for basic courses first and then transferring to a partnered four-year college can save a substantial amount of money.