Find Money for College
The well-prepared high school student will already know that there is a wealth of options to consider when you’re looking to find money for college. They’ll also know that paying for college isn’t an easy feat, and usually accomplished by exploring all of the resources available – scholarships, grants, tax credits, and student loans. The best strategies are to apply early for the best and most generous financial aid from a college, as often awards are given on a first come, first-served basis, and to apply often, as the more scholarships you strive for the more of a chance you’ll have to pay for school with the least amount of borrowing.
Avoiding Student Loans
The best options when paying for school are the options that will come at no cost to you. Money that you don’t have to repay in the form of scholarships and grants is not only attainable but an expected part of most financial aid packages. The neediest students are usually good candidates for federal grants, and even those with an average amount of need will find that they are eligible for dozens of scholarships if they try out a free scholarship search.
Starting anytime in high school (preferably by the time you start the college application process), you can fill out a profile in just a few minutes and receive a customized list of scholarship opportunities based on the information you’ve provided. From there, you’ll have access to detailed scholarship information for each competition, as well as the resources (contact info, request forms, etc.) you need to find out anything else you want to know about each scholarship listed. Incoming college freshmen should try to limit borrowing money as much as possible, and set the pace for trying to find money for college in the form of scholarships and grants as upperclassmen as well. While student loans are often necessary at some point in your college career, especially if you’re attending a private four-year university with high tuition costs, they should also be the last resort.
Keep Your Options Open
So you’ve received the last of your scholarship awards and grant funding, and your parents’ savings account has been significantly depleted. You’ve taken out what you think is the minimum in student loans, but are worried now that you’ll have a tough time making ends meet. Caution and sacrifice go a long way in cutting down and keeping down that student loan total. Consider working part-time through school so that you’re not running up debt to pay for your cost of living expenses. Or think about attending a community college where you’d not only face tuition fees at less than half the levels of most major universities, but have the option of living at home if you live close enough to the school. Even taking your general education requirements at a community college and then transferring to a four-year college two years later could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Review our Financial Aid section for more information about the entire process of funding your college education. Below is a few of our must-visit pages that will help you prepare yourself for college using Scholarships.com’s free service:
Free money for college. What’s better than free money?
Learn about the schools you think you might like to attend by visiting this helpful resource for finding the right school for you. You can quick-search by state or you can enter partial or full college names, or even search by major or any combination of these.
Stafford loans are something you will want to learn about, just in case you don’t get enough scholarships to pay for all of your education.
PLUS loans are next after Stafford Loans. Get all you can in Stafford Loans and then it's time to hit the folks up so you don't have to take out pricey private loans.
Those legendary resources promised in the paragraph above. There are dozens of topics that we think and hope you will find very helpful as you make the transition from high school to college student.