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How To Get Money For College

A college education is important for many reasons. It often has a major impact on increasing your earning potential for the rest of your life. It can open your eyes to possibilities for your future that you hadn’t previously considered.

It’s a place where you can start developing larger personal and professional networks. It sounds great, but it also takes a years-long commitment of your time, effort, and money.

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The simple truth is that sending a child to college is an enormous economic drain on most families. These days the tuition, fees, and room and board for a typical four-year degree can range anywhere from around $17,000 for an in-state, public university to around $38,000 for a private college, annually. That doesn’t include other expenses, such as transportation, books, and supplies, which can add another $5,000 a year to that total.

There are, however, things you can do to help get the money to pay for your, or your child’s, education. The most common mechanisms for this are savings, scholarships, grants, and loans.

Savings

If you’re planning on your child going to college, it’s a good idea to start saving as much money as you can, as early as you can, so it’s had some time to build before you need to spend it. One of the best ways to do it is by starting a 529 plan. Every state offers some version of these plans, which are portfolios of mutual funds.

Most states offer tax-free contributions, don’t tax the growth, and even withdrawals are tax-free, provided that the monies are being used for educational expenses. The associated fees and other details can vary from state, and if you don’t like your state’s plan you can open one somewhere else, although states usually give the best tax breaks for their own residents. Depending on the state you live in, you may also have other options for college savings, as well.

Scholarships

The studentships are individual awards given by schools, states, or organizations, which don’t need to be repaid. The studentships aren’t just for straight-A students, either. The majority of scholarship money goes to regular students, with regular accomplishments. There is money for students with excellent academic achievements or who excel in sports, but there are also awards offered by professional organizations and many other groups.

If you find yourself thinking that sounds great, but how do you find out what’s out there, and how do you apply, the answer is simple.

There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to get scholarship money.

  • Keep at it – You won’t get every award you apply for, but if you keep applying chances are good that you will at least get some of them.
  • Go local – Many communities have alumni organizations, community groups, or religious organizations that offer awards to qualifying students.
  • Stay on Task – Searching for all the options takes some time, and completing the necessary paperwork does, as well. Speaking of time, paying careful attention to deadlines is critical. Having a great application doesn’t matter if you can’t submit it on time. Donors and organizations need time to determine how they will make their awards, and if yours is late, it won’t be considered.
  • Finally, when you do send in applications, make sure that you ’ve gone over them carefully, that’s they’re fully complete and free of typos. If a group is considering offering you an award, they want to feel confident that you’ll make responsible use of it, and a sloppy application undermines that image.

Grants

Like scholarships, grants are awards that don’t need to be paid back, but there are a few differences between the two types of awards. Grants are monies that come from non-profit organizations. Many are government-sponsored, but foundations and corporations can also offer them.  People hoping to receive them generally have to apply by submitting a proposal, and they have to report back to the donor if the award is accepted.

One of the biggest differences between grants and award in terms of paying for school is that grants are usually need-based, and are geared toward lower-income students. Because they are, in a way, free money, most grants will look at your family’s household income, not just the students, in determining financial need. Some grants can be relatively small, others can be for larger amounts.

The first step in pursuing grant money to pay for college is to fill out a FAFSA, a Free Application for Financial Student Aid, which can easily be done online. Completing the form will help colleges figure out how much and what sorts of financial aid you qualify for, including not just grants, but also scholarships, work-study programs, etc.

You can also look into grants from the state through the Department of Education and complete a CSS Profile to have access to grant opportunities from the schools, themselves. Unlike the other options, there is a small financial cost involved in filling out a CSS profile, but if you have the resources, it could be well worth the cost.

Loans

Taking on loans to help pay for college should ideally be the last resort, but they are a viable way to cover any shortfall between what a student needs and the resources they’re able to assemble.

Filling out and submitting the FAFSA will automatically put your eligibility for federal loans in the mix, and they’ll be addressed along with your other financial aid options when you receive your financial aid report from the government and/or your financial aid award letters from the colleges you’ve applied to.

In addition to federal education loans, there are also other, private loan options out there which can be found with a quick internet search.

The biggest drawback to taking on loans, of course, is that they do have to be paid back once the student has graduated, and that can take a long time and a lot of money depending on the amount that you owe.

The good news, though, is that student loans aren’t necessarily a problem for your credit rating. Even if you are just paying the minimum, as long as loan repayment is happening regularly and on time, it can actually improve your credit rating.

Paying for college can be a challenge, but if you do your research and make use of all the resources you can find, it doesn’t have to be outreach.

48 comments

  1. Zubair K V says:

    My son has got an offer from University of Auckland. He needs some scholarship to meet the heavy fees

  2. Ngcebo says:

    Hello, hope that you are well. Applied and was accepted into MA in International Politics in Wales but did not get any funding.

    With deadlines for Commonwealth-related scholarships having passed, do you have any advice on one seeking funding this late for admission in 2019?

    Prospective student from southern Africa inquiring. Thank you in advance!

  3. Arvind joshi says:

    I am indian citizen. I have been selected as PhD student at USM Malaysia but they will not provide any fellowship. So I have to manage financial support. I need your assistance to find some scholarships and student loan. Thank you

  4. Zakari says:

    Yeah @admin poverty isn’t an excuse but even the poor deserves quality education so assist them with links at least. thanks for all you’re doing. I too need scholarship support or grants to further my education, am from Nigeria and willing to study at home or anywhere in the world if within my reach or assisted by a scholarship. thanks

  5. KONINGUE Naomie says:

    I am first year University in Mali. I am 18 of age. I study MA. I am excellent student, however, I don’t have financial support helping me with meeting my goal. I got scientific baccalaureate and I started management study this year 2018 – 2019. I am motherless and my father has no enough financial resource for my study. In addition, due to political issue and security in my country, I fled the country to Mali where I am trying to continue my study, still, in very adverse conditions.
    If I can really direct to where I can find opportunities to get support, I will appreciate Scholarship Position Team.

  6. Zeeshan Khan says:

    I am from Pakistan and I am 27 years old. I finished Masters in Chemistry and work as a Lecturer but I didn’t find myself in this job and I want to study Mphil Chemistry from the beginning and start my life as they said it is never being late. I ask if there scholarships for me. Thanks

  7. William Chikwasha says:

    Dear Scholarship Position Team

    I have a daughter 20 years who just completed her High School education last year 2018. She needs to undertake a career in Aviation as a Pilot but the funding is beyond my reach as a parent though I work earning little monthly income.

    How can you assist me in funding for her career. I am from Zimbabwe.

  8. Gulnar says:

    Greetings,

    I gained a place in Sussex University MA but I don’t have enough finance to fund myself. Could you please provide me with any clues?
    Thanks a lot in advance

  9. gloria says:

    I a m international student(Tanzanian)i would like to study masters degree in education .but i haven’t fund i need your help to get scholarship

  10. Renald Anay says:

    I am from Philippines i am 3rs year college now but luck of financial for my studies can you help me? Thank you

  11. Philip Anthony R. Borromeo says:

    I am Philip Anthony R. Borromeo and I want to continue studying in college. can you help me?

  12. David says:

    Please I need your help. I have been offered admission to study Sustainable Agriculture at Warren Wilson college with a scholarship worth of 26,000 dollars!

    But I still need about 28,000 to meet up the estimated cost of attendance!

    I have no one to help me and I’m from African and an orphan!

    Please can you help direct me to where I can get help?

  13. I want to apply for my son college grant scholarship. Im a solo parent and i want to help my son to pursue his ambition to be come a marine engineer. I hope you can help me. Thank you in advance

  14. Precious Mhango says:

    Thanks a lot for highlighting us on the ways of how we can pay college fees and other relevant costs in case we do not have enough money. I need a full-paid engineering award in Canada or Australia, may you please help me with the link of the school or organisation that can help me with this.. I am really in need of this so that I can further my engineering skills particularly structural engineering or environmental engineering

  15. Benedict G Davis Jr says:

    I graduated from high school since 2013 but don’t have money to pay for my college fees. I got subscribe to scholarship position since 2015 and been trying to get scholarship but I haven’t been opportune. I am asking that you please help me to get one.

  16. Erach Ruth says:

    I need a grant to pay my master course in health promotion and development
    Please guide me with the procedure

  17. Kamoye says:

    I have an unconditional offer letter to do an MSc but have not been awarded any scholarship from the forms I’ve filled in. I require a fully funded scholarship and feel very stranded right now. Please assist.

  18. Nelson Udoka Uzoegwu says:

    Please I want to study Computer Science to obtain Bsc. But my challenge is funding I am not financial boyant and need to get first Degree in any course be it Art courses, like Linguistics, Business Management or Theater Arts, also I will like Mass Communication preferably Journalism.
    So please if there will be opportunity for any of this courses with financial back up, I will be very grateful.
    Thanks as I will be waiting for positive response.

  19. Abarika Mohammed says:

    Please I am an international student(Ghana), I get an admission to study in New England Institute of Technology(Rhode Island). Unfortunately my guardian couldn’t afford an amount of 30,000 U.S. dollars for my enrollment. So please can I get financial aid here to finance the school for them to be able to admit me?

  20. francis wainaina says:

    i would like to get a scholarship to study health management systems in kenya.
    Thank you.

  21. Abdikabir abdullahi daud says:

    I am refugee at malaysia ,i couldn’t manage to university for my self .would you please help me

  22. ASSEFA says:

    I want to join M.Sc program. I’m in poor situations. I need financial assistance in order to join my M.Sc education in ethiopia,Bahir Dar University. I hope my request shall be granted. Thank you.

  23. shakhawat hossain says:

    Thanks for the article, May I know grants are applicable for which country ? I’m trying for my sons higher education,he is learning IELTS, please advice me what to do next. thanks.

  24. Gabriella Kennedy says:

    I am a second year student majoring in International Relations but i ran out of funds to sponsor my education. I havent had any luck with scholarships because I want to study in Canada. Can you help?

  25. Mai eltahan says:

    I am from Egypt and I am 36 years old. I finished English commerce and work as an accountant but I didn’t find myself in this job and I want to study pharmacy from the beginning and start my life as they said it is never being late. I ask if there scholarships for me. Thanks

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