You just received your college diploma and are ready to get out there and fully experience life. Unfortunately, with the average college graduate leaving school with over $20,000 in student debt, finding free money to pay for college is critical. Earning a college degree will help you command a higher salary; however it may take some time to benefit from the higher salary while you're trying to pay of your student loan debt.
There are several ways you can earn a college degree while avoiding the student debt that plagues so many graduates. College grants offer students that qualify money for college that does not need to be paid back. College grants are need based money, meaning they are awarded based on financial need.
The federal government is supplies the majority of the grant money for college students. You'll find the list below will give you the most popular need based grants available to students. 1) Pell Grant 2) Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) 3) SMART Grants 4) Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) 5) Academic Competitiveness Grants In addition to federal student grants there are also a wide variety of state grants available as well. Be sure to visit your college's financial aid office to see what type of grant money is available to students in your state.
While you're there be sure to meet with your financial aid counselor and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application will determine if you qualify for need based college grant money. Be sure to fill out this form completely and note any recent change to your financial situation. If your past doesn't reflect your current financial situation let them know. There may be a recent change that affects your finances like divorce, unemployment, or major medical issues, that may make you eligible for need based grant money. Scholarships and grants differ in that scholarship money is not so much need-based as it is merit-based, meaning they are awarded based on your personal accomplishments or background.
There are scholarships available for just about anyone that wants to attend college. Whether you have good grades or bad, whether you're an athlete or bookworm, president of the ethics club or social wallflower - there are scholarships available for you. It doesn't matter where you are in life now either. There are scholarships available for people that are getting ready to graduate high school, in college now, or an adult looking to go back to school.
Merit-based scholarships are scholarships are based on your personal qualities and achievements. Being athletic, artistic, academic, involved with your community, or have hobbies - there are a wide variety of scholarship money available for you. Let's examine your scholarship potential by examining different types of students. Of course, if you were class president, were head cheerleader, have a 4.3 GPA, and actively participate in non-profit organizations - there will be a lot of scholarship money available for you.
If you're a student who scored decent on tests, have a 2.7 to 3.3 GPA, and participate in a sport, there are going to be a fair amount of scholarship money for you as well. Now, if you're coming out of high school with a 2.2 GPA and are on MySpace all day, scholarships will be harder to find, but they're out there.
You can increase the chances of getting a scholarship by taking some simple steps before you begin the scholarship application process. Volunteer for a non-profit organization; get involved in extra-curricular activities and you may get your share of free scholarship money for college. Scholarships are awarded for a wide variety of reasons. There are location specific scholarships, national scholarships and ones that are awarded by the college that you are attending.
College specific scholarships may include academic, athletic and/or departmental awards. There are many other organizations that give students scholarship money for college. These include private corporations, unions, religious organizations, non-profits organizations, chambers of commerce and a wide variety of other organizations.
The most financially beneficial options to receive money for school come from college scholarships and college grants. Both offer you ways to receive free money for school that does not need to be paid back. However if you need additional money to pay for school there are other options. Student loans offer you another resource to pay for school.
There are two types of loans you may qualify for. 1) Subsidized loans. These loans provide money to students based on need.
Subsidized loans give students a break on the interest rate and payment terms. For example, the interest may not begin until after you graduate. If you're going to get a loan for school, a subsidized loan is your best bet.
Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Stafford Loans are two of the subsidized loans that may help you to finance your college education. 2) Unsubsidized loans. If you don't have luck qualifying for subsidized loans or not enough money to cover your financial need, check into unsubsidized loans. With these loans you are paying the full interest amount, typically right after you graduate. Unsubsidized loans should be your last resort when trying to finance your schooling. There are also alternative programs that can help you pay for college.
Here are a few examples below. 1) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which you are able to go to school now with the promise of serving in the military later. 2) The Peace Corps and Americorps also allow college students to go to school now and work for their organizations later.
3) Work-study programs offered by some colleges allow you to work part-time to help pay for school. 4) HOPE scholarship tax credit that allows you to pay a reduced amount of taxes. 5) Lifetime Learning tax credit is an excellent opportunity for people to pay discounted taxes. If you feel you cannot afford college, or are already in school and see the debt starting to pile up - winning scholarship or grant money may help you out. You will leave school in a better financial position, with a degree, and you will have the world at your fingertips. You'll have everything you need to live the life you pictured.
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