Find Money for College
The well-prepared high school student will know that there are many scholarships options to seek when funding college education. Paying for college is not easy feat, and is typically 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 many awards are given on a first come, first-served basis. Also apply often, as your chances of earning scholarships increases and you will not have to borrow or pay as much in the end.
Avoiding Student Loans
The best scholarships are the ones that 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 is expected of most financial aid packages. Students that have the most financial need are usually strong candidates for federal grants, and even those with minor financial need will find that they are eligible for dozens of scholarships if they conduct 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 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.) necessary for the scholarship. Incoming college freshmen should limit borrowing 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
If you have receieved the last of your scholarship awards and grant funding, and your parents’ savings account has been significantly depleted, you may be worried about making ends meet. Even though you may think you have taken out a small percentage in student loans, sacrifice goes a long way in preventing future debt and anxiety. Consider working part-time through school so that you’re not running up debt to pay for your cost of living expenses. Also consider attending a community college where tuition cost are more than half the cost of most major universities. Living at home if you live close enough to the school is wise as well, so as to reduce room and board costs which can cost several thousands of dollars. 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:
- 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.
Last Edited: August 2015
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