So, you or your child has officially been accepted to college. It is time to celebrate. If you don’t have a savings account set up, that excitement may quickly fade when you are trying to figure out how to fund it. Don’t’ stress yet. There are many options. Some of these are even free. Start researching as soon as you receive your acceptance letter because many of these have a time limit. Let’s take a look.
FAFSA is your best friend if you’re low income. This is the application that you complete to qualify for grants. The best part of grants, you do not pay them back. That’s right, you do not repay them. You’ll need to plan early for these. Don’t wait to the last minute. Money is given to first come first serve. These grants can be from the college, or state and federal government and when the funding is gone, its gone.
If you qualify for FAFSA you can be eligible for a work study program. It is essentially a part time job on campus while you attend school. These jobs are flexible and work around your schedule. This is a great option that you can use with a grant or student loan.
Many colleges and businesses offer scholarships. These can be very competitive. Many of these are given because of academic or athletic performance. These are also available for band members. There are scholarships for veterans, different career industries, other specifications. When applying, there are often requirements and restrictions that apply. Many scholarships require an application, an essay, and an interview. The process varies so be sure to check the guidelines. If you are unsure where to start, visit your guidance counselor at the college. There are many websites that will help you find the right scholarship for you.
If you don’t qualify for assistance, or not enough assistance, you may need a loan. A student loan isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Taking out a loan can be the only way to get the degree that you need to get your dream job. If you have poor credit, and are feeling a little panicked at the thought of trying to get financing, don’t worry. You have many options. Shop around to get the best rate.
Choose Your College Wisely
There are so many options for higher education. You may be tempted to go to a major university, but do your research first. If you don’t qualify for grants or scholarships, be prepared for the hefty bill that comes with a university. Community colleges are usually much more affordable. You may want to earn your associate degree from a community college, then go to a university for the rest of your degree. Many trades, like dental hygiene and nursing can be completed at a community college.
If you’re ready to start college and don’t have a huge savings account waiting for you, hopefully these tips help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the college and online for help. There are many grants and scholarships available. If you don’t qualify for them, remember, student loans aren’t the enemy. They may be the only way to afford higher education.