“I don’t have money for college,” is one of the excuses we frequently hear from young adults who are thinking about earning a college degree. The tuition, books, supplies and other expenses might cause you to question whether you can afford college. Multiple financial aid sources can fund your education, so learn more about your financial options as you consider a traditional or online school.
The federal government spends billions of dollars every year on financial aid. Take advantage of those funds when you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as early as January 1 the year before you plan to enroll in school. Early submission increases your chances of receiving money, so apply early and receive access to:
- Pell Grants are available for both online and traditional students who exhibit financial need and have not earned their first bachelor’s degree
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): distributed by schools to needy students
- Federal Work-Study Program: eligible students in the program work part-time and receive at least minimum wage
- Stafford Loans: strict eligibility requirements and limited borrowing amounts accompany these low-interest loans that are deferred as long as you’re enrolled in school
With your FAFSA your state determines the amount of aid you can receive. Contact the Department of Education for both your state and the state your school resides in for more information about available funding that includes grants, work-study programs, scholarships and tuition waivers.
School Financial Aid
Individual schools offer grants, scholarships and other assistance for students, so discuss your needs with your school’s financial aid department. Even colleges with online programs offer online financial aid to students like you.
Free money from private sources does exist, but you have to search for it. Talk with the schools you want to attend, and ask for information about scholarships. Fastweb and Student Scholarship Search provide numerous sources of scholarship money as well.
Likewise, numerous civic groups give out traditional and online education scholarships every year. Contact Rotary International, Lions Club International, or other national and local civic groups for additional scholarship leads.
If you’re a veteran, discuss your options with the Veterans Benefits Administration. Every branch of the military offers scholarships, and of course, the GI Bill is designed to help veterans attend college.
Federal PLUS Loans are designed for parents with good credit. With low interest, they’re an option that finances your education.
You should also discuss your needs with your local bank or credit union. They may offer loans and scholarships based on your FAFSA and sometimes additional forms like a CSS/Profile. Private bank loans may charge a higher interest than federal government loans.
Allow your family, friends and strangers to donate money toward your educational pursuits when you participate in crowdfunding. Sites like gofundme.com can help your education become reality.
Many students maintain their career through their educational pursuit. Maintaining your income stream while you’re attending classes, can ease the financial commitment and allow you to fund a portion of your education and life yourself. See our related articles below for additional tips on how to successfully pay for college.
Money is a concern for most college students, but don’t let it hold you back from going to school. Successfully finance your college education and graduate with minimal debt when you take advantage of the financial options available and sign up to learn more.