What Is Financial Aid
Most students dont have the ability to pay for college out of pocket. Considering tuition, books, room and board, and other related fees, the cost can be substantial. Not surprisingly, most students need to research financial aid options.
Financial aid consists of a variety of components that help students pay for college, such as scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Although some types of aid do not need to be paid back, others do.
It wasnt until I talked to Rebecca that I learned that financial aid does not always equate to free money.
Its absolutely possible to qualify for grants, which are essentially free money, Rebecca said, but most of the time, accepting financial aid means taking out federal loans.
I suddenly felt ripped off. No oneNO ONEever told me that financial aid meantstudent loans. Having been raised to live debt free myself, the idea that student debt may be masquerading under a friendlier title didnt sit well with me.
If financial aid is just a loan, I asked, how is it any better than getting a private loan to pay for college?
College Grants For Visually Impaired Or Deaf Students
There are also grants aimed at helping students with visual or hearing impairments. Wisconsin provides up to $1,800 a year in grant assistance to eligible students.
Check with your schools financial aid office, your department chair, and your states higher education agency for special grant programs that could help you.
The Primary Benefit Of College Grants
A student loan can give you the cash you need to pay for tuition and other education-related expenses right now. Youll have to pay that money back, however. Even if you get a great interest rate, the thought of owing money is never nice, which is why getting free money via grants is even better.Yes, a grant is free money because it does not have to be paid back. Isnt a scholarship the same? Somewhat, with the main difference being that scholarships can be harder to get since many are linked to merit-based qualifications.So, if you want a scholarship to help bring down college costs, you may need an impressive resume that lists:
- High test scores
- Excellent grades
- Extracurricular achievements
The scholarship may even factor in need amongst applicants. A grant, on the other hand, usually focuses on need instead of merit. In short, the list of qualifications is often a lot shorter, making grants more attainable.
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There Are Many Types Of Scholarships
Some of you might still be under the mistaken impression you can’t win a scholarship unless you play sports or have an I.Q. over 130 or a GPA over 3.5. The simple fact is that, yes, you probably stand a better chance with a 4.0 GPA or play quarterback for the varsity squad, but those are only a few kinds of scholarships a student will find if they do a thorough search. This is why we advocate conducting a search at Scholarships.com. We match you to any scholarships in our database you might be able to win, regardless of why. We’ll let you decide whether you want to apply for the scholarship after you have read more about it.
How To Find The Right Sources
Few college-bound students have the financial resources to pay for their post-secondary education entirely out of pocket. Even students with substantial college savings plans typically find that they are left with sizable amounts of unmet need. The average total cost of attending a public four-year college is more than $20,000 per academic year. Students planning to attend a private college or university can expect to spend more than $30,000 per academic year. A college education is a costly proposition, and all indications are that those costs are only going to increase.
With the cost of a college education continuing to rise, most students will need to consider various types of financial assistance. It is not unusual for a students college fund to be comprised of some combination of personal savings, family contributions, scholarships, grants and student loans.
When preparing a college fund, no financial resource should be ignored. Education grants are one of the most popular, and most valuable, sources of financial assistance for college students. With the right grants, students can make their dreams of a higher education a reality.
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Grants And Loans For Full
The Canada Student Financial Assistance Program offers student grants and loans to full-time and part-time students. Grants and loans help students pay for their post-secondary education.
- Apply for grants and loans in one application, directly with your province of residence
- You don’t need to repay grants you receive
- You need to repay loans after finishing school, with interest
- You may be eligible for more than 1 type of grant – when you apply with your province, they will assess your eligibility for all available grants
Federal Government Grant Money For Free
Federal grant programs should be one of the first places that a potential college student applies to. These free government grants for college are actually funded by the government and administered through the US department of education. The Federal Pell Grant is one of the oldest and most reliable. This is the grant that most students rely on each year in the United States. The other grant that is available through the government is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and is made available to undergraduate students that show extreme financial need. Most state colleges participate in this program. Students can apply through the college of their choice. Free government grants for college are awarded on a first come first serve basis, so start early.
The Federal TEACH Grant is one that is offered for those considering going into the teaching profession to those who agree to teach in a high need field or a critical shortage facility after graduation. They must sign a contract agreeing to a predetermined time of service. As with the other federal government grant money of this type, students who fail to honor their contract will have the grant turn into a loan with sufficient interest to be repaid.
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Graduate And Doctoral Students
Grants for doctoral candidates and graduate students are highly competitive, and focus on the financial needs of students engaged in research to complete their high level degrees. These grants are often referred to as fellowships, and are typically sponsored by colleges and universities as a way of bringing the best and brightest graduate students to their campuses. Unlike the more traditional undergraduate grants, these programs place a great amount of weight on academic achievement. Financial need is a secondary consideration. Grants for graduate and doctoral students are typically high dollar awards, and will include funds for research related travel and stipends for living expenses.
What Other Grants Can I Apply For
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:
- Women. One example is the Career Development Grant. It is available through the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation
- Minority groups. One example is the Wisconsin Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant. It is available through the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board
- Foster care youth. One example is the VA Tuition Grant for Foster Care Children. It is available through the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia
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Eligibility For Educational Grants
Any United States citizen or eligible non-citizen who has completed high school can apply for an educational grant. The Pell Grant, and all other federal grants, require that students demonstrate financial need. Most state grants are needs-based as well, but many exist that are not. Private corporations, non-profits, and other organizations welcome applicants from an array of student profiles, often regardless of need.
Further eligibility requirements for federal and state grants include the following:
- Citizen students must possess a valid social security number.
- The student must be enrolled at least half-time.
- Recipients must maintain acceptable grades.
- Applicants and recipients must not be incarcerated.
- Applicants must not be in default on any loans.
- Male citizens must be registered with the Selective Service.
Non-citizens may wish to visit StudentAid.gov/noncitizen to see a list of non-citizens statuses that are eligible for federal educational grants.
How To Apply For Grants
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Dos And Donts For A Candidate
Always ensure that you thoroughly read the information on the agencys website. Before applying, make sure you meet all eligibility requirements. If you apply for a student loan instead of a grant, always look at the interest rates to avoid a high student loan debt.
A college student must also fulfill the service requirements, if any, to avoid repaying the grants.
Do not miss any application deadlines and be wary of online scams. While submitting your information online, be careful, as your details may be misused for identity fraud. Do not submit your data or fall for a funding agency that the Federal Trade Commission lists as scams. Do not fall for schemes that guarantee free money without any effort.
Where To Look For Free Government Grants For College
When high school seniors begin looking for money many overlook free government grants for college that are available to them. Very few college students begin their collegiate academic careers with their own personal resources to fund their education. Most will rely on some form of assistance. Unlike loans that have to be repaid, grants do not have to be repaid and will not haunt a student long after theyve graduated.
The average cost of attending a public four year college is more than 20k per academic year some studies report. If the college is privately held, then that could nearly double. Going to college costs a lot of money, and current projections state that the costs are only going to go up.
With this in consideration then, students have to consider various types of financial assistance. Most have a combination of loans, grants, prizes, scholarships and personal money. However, free government grants for college should be given the heaviest attention since they never have to be repaid.
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School Grants And Scholarships
Like with state grants, this is another type of grant that isnt standardized but is available by completing a FAFSA. However, youll need to apply to the school in question to gain access to the information.
If youre accepted to the university in question, itll put together a financial aid award letter based on your FAFSA. Youll receive this letter along with your notification of acceptance to the school. If you qualify for any of the schools grants or scholarships, this letter will tell you.
Of course, you can also contact the school directly to ask about possible scholarships or grants you may qualify for. You might be able to find out about scholarships offered for specific majors.
Take Note Of The Scholarship Deadline
Getting your scholarship application in order may involve various steps and will take time, so make sure you start the process at least a month before the deadline.
Its better to get your applications in earlier than later to give yourself time to account for unexpected delays. It also gives you the advantage of offering the scholarship award committee a sneak peek at your stellar time management skills. So get those deadlines on the calendar in bold print and fight the urge to procrastinate.
Most scholarship applications will require:
- High school transcripts and diplomas
- Two or three letters of recommendation
- A resume
- A completed FAFSA or your parents tax receipts
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Dont Miss Out On $$$$ From Your Own State Government
As you prepare to matriculate, financial concerns are front and center. It doesnt take a great deal of digging to uncover the Federal Government as one of the biggest players in the student aid arena. But did you know that your state is also a valuable resource for college funding?
States work with colleges and universities, alongside the U.S. Department of Education, to provide a blend of financial assistance for students at all levels. Grants, scholarships and loans originate from within you state, as well as work-study opportunities that allow you to earn as you learn.
Property taxes and lottery funds are used by states to finance student aid. Most grants apply to in-state schools, but some opportunities allow you to use financial aid from your home state to pay your out-of-state tuition.
While the landscape might seem intimidating at first, your student aid strategy is simple. First and foremost: Apply for Federal Financial Aid using the standardized Free Application for Federal Student Aid . Information you provide on your FAFSA helps tabulate the cost of your education, and estimates your ability to pay for college.
Certain state financial aid is administered on a first come, first served basis, until funding runs out. Submitting the proper application materials on-time can be the difference between securing a state grant and coming up short.
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How Do I Get Grant Money To Pay For College
- In order to get grant money, you need to fill out a form called the FAFSA . High school students and their families fill out the FAFSA during their senior year. The FAFSA takes into account your familys financial situation and gives you an estimate of how much aid youll need to afford college.
- Dont forgettheres a deadline! October 1 of the year before you plan to go to college is the first day you can file the FAFSA. The college you go to or the scholarship you want to apply for might have specific deadlines. Aim to file the FAFSA as close to October 1 as possible. Financial aid dollars are limited and are usually awarded on a firstcome, firstserved basis!
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S To Apply For College Grants
If you havent already, complete the FAFSA to apply for federal grants and other aid, including work-study programs and federal loans. Fill it out as soon as possible, because some schools award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.
Search for private grants and scholarships using the U.S. Department of Labors free scholarship search tool.
Review your financial aid award letter from each school youre considering. Each letter will list the grants, scholarships, work-study programs and loans youre eligible for. Accept all the grants and scholarships youre offered before taking out any student loans.
About the author:Anna Helhoski is a writer and NerdWallets authority on student loans. Her work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today. Read more
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Dont Be Afraid To Work
Some scholarships require applicants to submit an essay or create a video along with their applications. Many students avoid these scholarships because they dont want to put in the work. According to TIME, scholarships that ask for essays over 1,000 words often have fewer than 500 applicants. That means that you have a greater chance of winning if youre willing to do the work.
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Why Is College So Expensive
State funding cuts are an oft-cited reason for tuition hikes. However, The New York Times reports that state funding is currently about $81 billion, down slightly from a record, inflation-adjusted high of $86.6 billion in 2009. These numbers dont include funding for the Pell Grant program, which currently stands at $34.3 billion, up from $10 billion in 2000.
If state funding, or a lack thereof, doesnt account for continuing costs, what does? One reason might be the ballooning size of university administration.
According to Forbes, tenured, salaried faculty positions have been stagnant over the past two decades. While enrollment has increased, the faculty gap has been filled by part-time faculty, who are paid less and typically dont receive benefits. The New York Times reports that in 1970, 78% of college professors were full-time. Today, half of post-secondary faculty are in lower-paid, part-time positions. The money this saves certainly isnt being passed on to the people teaching students full-time professors today earn nearly the same as they did in 1970.
The bulk of any extra savings now goes to administrative overhead, or senior university management positions. Data cited by The New York Times shows that the number of administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60% between 1993 and 2009, 10 times the growth of tenured faculty positions.