Money for College

Does finding the money to go to college seem like an overwhelming and confusing task? Do you think that it’s impossible – that there’s no way you can come up with the cash to finance a college education? There are many ways to come up with money for college.

If you’re still in high school, look into local scholarships and grants. Many communities offer college money that’s sponsored by local businesses or philanthropic individuals. You will most probably have to apply for these scholarships and grants so see your high school guidance counselor and find out as much about them as you can. A friend who may have graduated from high school a year or two before you may also be able to help clue you in to local sources of money for college.

When choosing what colleges or universities you’d like to apply for, look into the grants and work-study programs offered by those colleges. Is one of those colleges known for offering specific grants for specific talents? Is there a bowling scholarship or a poetry scholarship or some other specific type of scholarship? As silly as it may sound, lots of colleges and universities offer these kinds of scholarships. If you’re on the bowling team or an aspiring poet, maybe one of them is for you.

You’ll undoubtedly apply to several schools and then see what sorts of financial aid packages are offered. When applying, consider whether you’d be willing to live home and go to a local school? Would you prefer to go to college all the way across the country? If so, are you going to be able to afford the plane fare to come home for the holidays? How much help can your parents give you? Do you have any savings for college? Does your college of choice have a healthy endowment? Do they have a need blind acceptance policy? All of these questions will help you make up your mind as to where to apply.

And finally you’re in! You’re accepted to a few colleges and you’re examining your financial aid packages. Some are undoubtedly going to be better than others.

You will probably have a school that’s your top choice. Can you afford to go to that college? Think about what monies you already have available to you and then see what scholarships or grants your college is offering you. Add up the amounts. Have federal loans been offered to you? Federal loans are the best source of money after grants and scholarships that don’t have to be paid back. Federal grants usually have low interest rates and give you plenty of flexibility in the time you’ll have to pay them back.

Finally, if you still need more money, look into private financing. This is the most expensive of the money that will be available to you but is great to fill in the gap between how much you have and how much you still need. See if you can come up with a “workable” amount of money – one that you can see yourself paying back in the future. Coming up with money for college isn’t as hard as it sounds!


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