- On 25 June 2015
- By J.R. Mills
Paying For College
Tips On How To Make It Happen
What are some ways you could pay for your college education?
Finding Options To Pay For College
If you are like millions of other students this June, you put in the hours, studied for tests, wrote the essays, passed the exams, and are ready to graduate and join the real world! You did the hard work to earn a place in the college of your choice, but you probably realized what many students have before you: getting accepted to college is the easy part (comparatively). Paying for college is the real challenge.
The cost of a higher degree is on every student's (and every parent's) mind. With tuition, room and board, textbooks-college costs could stack up quickly. And despite the annually rising tuition fees, a college degree is increasingly desired by employers in a wide array of careers and professions.
Lucky for you, you have options! There are many ways to pay for your continuing education, but the most important opportunities come from grants, scholarships, and loans.
What Is A Grant And How Do I Get One?
A grant is specific amount of money given to you, to help pay for college. Unlike loans, you never have to pay back the money you are awarded. The federal and state government grants are available to students who qualify for financial aid. In order to qualify, students (or their families) must have a household income low enough that they cannot pay for college on their own.
The school you will attend may also have grants that you could be eligible for and may be included as a part of your overall financial aid package, i.e. all the different kinds of funds that, together, pay your college costs.
What Is A Scholarship And How Do I Get One?
A scholarship is also money that is awarded to you for college expenses; like grants, you do not have to pay back the money. Scholarships for college students are often awarded for a student's excellence or achievement in a specific subject or activity. They may be offered by schools, professional organizations, businesses, and other providers. Some may take the form of an essay contest, while others may require a set standard for academic excellence.
Not every future college student qualifies for scholarships, which may cover academic or athletic ability, specific ethnicities, extracurricular activities, or other attributes. And while grants and scholarships can take care of significant tuition costs, in many cases they do not provide all of the financial aid the student needs. A federal or private student loan can help bridge that gap.
What Is A Student Loan And How Do I Get One?
A student loan is a specific amount of money that you can borrow to help pay the costs of going to college. The money you borrow will have to be paid back, with an interest rate that can vary depending on which lender you borrow from and what type of loan you take out. Loans offered by the federal government typically have lower interest rates but the conditions for taking out a federal loan may be different than that of a private student loan. Federal loans may not cover the whole cost of tuition, or may only be offered to students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. In other words, the student would need to demonstrate financial need in order to qualify for one. This would not necessarily be required if you applied for a private student loan, but the interest rate for the loan may be higher. The terms and conditions of the loans vary depending on the lender, the amount borrowed, and the time allotted for repayment.
Where Do I Start?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA, is a good place to start. By filling out your or your parent's financial information before each school year, you could receive various types of financial aid that may be available to you. This may include federal grants, loans, tax credits, or work study opportunities.
Your future college will likely have its own financial aid application and process. They will review your financial situation and offer a student aid package of the funding options available based on the information you provide. The types of aid and amounts will vary by school. For example, financial assistance for a four-year college degree may be more or less than a degree from a community college or vocational school.
So get started! Create your own profile to find schools degree programs that meet your needs.
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