Need Money For College? — Look Into Financial Aid
College cost keep increasing, but there is money available to students who make the effort to find it. There are a variety of ways to pay for college including scholarships, grants, work-study programs and low interest college loans. One of the best resources available for college financial aid information is the financial aid office at the college or university you wish to attend. Fill out any financial aid forms that are provided by the colleges to which you are applying and contact their financial aid office with specific questions. Your own high school counselor can also assist you with any questions you have about financial aid, so don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance. The Internet is another great source of information on how to pay for college.
One thing to remember: Paying for college is a long process, not a singular event. Don’t wait until the last minute to find money for college. Different deadlines exist for each college, as well as for state and federal aid program. There is also a cutoff date for scholarship applications. If you miss a deadline you miss an opportunity to help pay for your education, so get organized and enlist all the help you can to make sure you don’t miss out on any financial aid due to a technicality.
Applying for scholarships and financial aid is absolutely free, so there’s nothing to lose and no reason not to try. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may also have to fill out an application for the College Scholarship Service (CSS)/Financial Aid Profile. The FAFSA streamlines the college financial aid process by determining which federal loans, grants or work-study programs you are eligible for. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college students receive over $150 billion annually via the FAFSA. Even if you don’t think you qualify for needs-based financial aid, you should still fill out the form. There is simply too much college money on the table not to apply for any of it, and the only thing it will cost you to apply is your time.
College Scholarship and Financial Aid Resources
Need money for college but don’t know where to start? The following resources can aid you in finding the financial means to help you pay for your education:
- Do you want tips on how to apply for scholarships? Here are two great videos that shed light on the scholarship process and the best ways to get scholarships: How to Find a Scholarship and Tips For Getting a Scholarship.
- The Federal Student Aid program has a series of helpful YouTube videos designed to give you an overview of the financial process and explain the steps required to complete the FAFSA application. This series also tells you what to expect after submitting your FAFSA and clears up some common financial aid myths.
- Students interested in college financial aid will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA website includes deadlines, applications and general information concerning federal student aid programs.
- To search for scholarships, check out the search features and how-to videos on com. You can also try the GoodCall scholarship search engine to help find scholarships based on location, due date, award amount and even entry difficulty and competition level.
- Bigfuture is another college scholarship and financial aid search site run by the College Board — the same company who administers the SAT program. Scholarship information is based on the College Board’s Annual Survey of Financial Aid Programs. The site helps students find scholarships and other financial aid awards from more than 2,200 programs totally nearing $6 billion.
- USNews offers a resource page to help you understand the scholarship process. These tips, tools and articles can help you find and apply to the best scholarships.
Financial Aid Tips for High School Students
There are billions of dollars in federal loans, grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid that are available to students like you to help ease the financial burden of going to college. To help maximize your college dollars, here are some expert financial aid tips and tricks:
- Some schools and states award aid money on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, so fill out and submit the FAFSA as early as you can.
- Send in a supplementary letter along with your FAFSA to explain extenuating circumstances you think financial aid officers need to know that might necessitate additional aid.
- Search for grants and scholarships that you might be eligible for based on a unique trait, skill, talent or experience. For example, there are scholarships available exclusively for left-handed students.
Interested in an Athletic or Sports Scholarship?
The NCAA and NAIA has specific rules concerning athletic and scholarship eligibility. Both the NCAA and NAIA have web sites the detail their eligibility requirements. Be sure to contact the coach at the school in which you are interested and ask about the possibilities of playing at that school and receiving an athletic scholarships. Be proactive and don’t wait for them to contact you. Scholarship.com offers a variety on information regarding sports scholarships. And, here is an interesting video that explains the sports recruiting process.
Jennifer Caballero is the College Admissions Advisor at the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX. MMA is an all boys private college preparatory boarding school. For more information about MMA visit our website: http://www.mma-tx.org