Finding ways to pay for college, especially if you’re a high school student looking forward to that first year on campus, isn’t easy. But there is a wealth of options out there for you if you do your research. A good strategy is to start looking at where you’re going to come up with college funding early, as deadlines will be important for you to pay attention to as you navigate the financial aid application process. Explore the resources available to you by filling out that financial aid application for FAFSA-based funding, looking to your intended college for college-based funding, investigating private loans and alternatives outside of federal student loans, and considering working through school if you can balance employment and college. Browse through our site to find college funding options that will fit your needs and help you pay for that degree. And don’t forget the most desirable source of funding – college scholarships – that you won’t ever need to pay back. Conduct a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com to see awards that you’re eligible for that could help ease the stress of finding college funding.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, will be one of your first steps in determining where you’ll need to go next as far as supplementing your financial aid package. Most federal aid programs will require it, and most colleges won’t consider recommending financial aid opportunities to you without it. Applications are available starting January 1st of each year, and are available online for faster processing. Once your application is processed, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) back that will show you the FAFSA-based funding you’re eligible for. The college funding determined by the FAFSA will include Federal Pell Grants and other need-based grants, Federal Stafford Loans, the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or PLUS Loans, and campus-based aid such as Federal Work-Study opportunities and the Federal Perkins Loan program.
College-based funding will more often than not also be determined by what you fill out on your FAFSA. Work study programs (where the paycheck you make at an on-campus job goes directly toward your tuition and fees), the Federal Perkins Loan program and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant fall into the campus-based aid funding category as they are distributed directly by the college. Colleges will require more information about you and your parents’ finances than federal programs, meaning the difference in funding from your college and the government could be substantial. Still, your intended college will also be a good source for scholarships and grants available only on that campus, especially if you have a stellar academic record or other abilities and characteristics desirable to the college. Put some thought into the kind of program you’d like to pursue, as many colleges will offer awards based on your field of study. Try out a free college search to see what your intended college offers, and the kinds of scholarships and grants awarded there.
For students who have exhausted other sources of college funding, private loans may be the answer. While they once were scarce, private loans have become increasingly common over the last two decades, and despite problems lenders faced during the latter part of the 2000’s, they are likely here to stay. Traditional bank-based private student loans are the most common option, but they are not the only one available. Credit unions also offer student loans, often at very competitive interest rates. State higher education agencies, as well as some philanthropic organizations may also offer student loans to certain groups of students. Finally, new student lending alternatives are emerging constantly, including web-based services that match students with private individuals interested in helping fund their college educations.
Like private loans, the role employment plays in college funding has shifted over the years. While it used to be common for students to work their way through school and emerge debt-free, now employment is increasingly used as a means to cover college living expenses. Despite this shift, however, employment still plays an important role in college funding. College employment can still help minimize your student loan debt by helping cover your living expenses. A college job can help you gain career experience that will provide a boost to your hiring prospects or possibly guide your career path in a whole new direction. It can also help prep you for the "real world" by providing a crash course in time and money management. There are important things to keep in mind while working, though, such as balancing work and college and finding employment that be beneficial to you in both the short-term and long-term.
Latest College & Financial Aid News
June 18, 2019
Harvard revoked more admissions offers - this time involving 10 students who participated in a Facebook group called "Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens." Jokes about abusing children and the Holocaust and insulting comments about different racial and ethnic groups were found in the group, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Earlier this month, Harvard also rescinded an admission offer to Kyle Kashuv who, when he was 16 years old, used inflammatory and racist language, including the N-word, right before the Parkland shooting at his school, Stoneman Douglas High School. The shootings have since "changed him and made him more mature," he claims. Kashuv became famous for his conservatism, pro-gun and pro-Trump activism which he believes, represent a different view on how to prevent future, like tragedies.
In a recent Twitter post, he apologized for his past comments and stated that, "We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible...I'm embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I've become in the years since." Shortly thereafter, Harvard looked into his case and eventually revoked his admissions offer. Though university personnel appreciate his "candor and expressions of regret," Harvard "takes seriously" the "qualities of maturity" and of "character" of the students it admits. Despite appealing the revocation, Kashuv was turned down. In his defense, Kashuv argues that, "throughout its history, Harvard's faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and anti-Semites. If Harvard is suggesting that growth isn't possible and that our past defines our future, then Harvard is an inherently racist institution. But I don't believe that. I believe that institutions and people can grow. I've said that repeatedly." In your opinion, should Kashuv have had his admissions offer revoked based on something he did when he was 16? Why or why not? [...]
June 11, 2019
A Wiccan Professor at St. Bonaventure sued the university and her alma mater for discrimination, alleging that she was not allowed to advance in her career because she is a woman and a witch. The reported discrimination began around Halloween in 2011, after she was asked to conduct an interview about her Wiccan beliefs with the university's student TV station, SBU-TV. [...]
June 6, 2019
In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is recognizing the success of, and providing financial aid resources to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer community and its allies through featured LGBTQ scholarships. These colorful LGBTQ scholarships are not only intended for those who identify as LBTQ or are questioning, but are available to LGBTQ parents and allies, as well. Below is a preview of LGBTQ scholarships that were created to provide economic mobility and equality for LGBTQ students and allies who may face unique challenges on their educational journeys. For even more LGBTQ scholarships, Parent LGBTQ scholarships or LGBTQ Ally scholarships, visit here. [...]