How to Pay for College: Top 7 Student Aid Questions Answered

How to Pay for College: Top 7 Student Aid Questions Answered

You've decided to get your degree. Now it's time to think about how to pay for college. There are many student aid options available to help you pay for college: government, businesses, community organizations and even individuals.
The government is the largest source of available financial assistance for college, and it literally offer billions of dollars in student aid. Start there. Then look to other sources for financial assistance such as, college scholarships and educational loans.
Here are your top 7 questions answered about how you can pay for college:
1 - Can I afford to go to college?
Of course you can. Financial support for college is available to everyone, no matter their circumstances. Many public colleges, community colleges and technical schools provide educational programs at affordable prices.
2 - What kind of student aid is out there to help me pay for college?
College Grants - Free government funds typically awarded on a need basis.

College Scholarships - Free government funds typically awarded on the basis of merit, among other things. College scholarships are also available from private individuals, companies, non-profit groups and community organizations.

Educational Loans - Funds borrowed from the government or through private lenders.

Federal Work-Study - Part-time jobs provided by participating schools to give students in need a chance to earn money to support their education.

GI Bill: Military Benefits for College - Specific government funds set aside and awarded to current and former military and their dependents.
3 - How do I apply for financial assistance for college?
Simply fill out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form at  to qualify for financial aid. This must be repeated every year and will determine what type of financial aid you are eligible for.
4 - What determines how much financial assistance I will receive for college?
All financial aid awarded depends on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is what schools use to determine how much federal financial support you will receive. Remember all that personal financial information you provided on your FAFSA form? Here is where that information will be assessed to make the determination.
5 - Do I qualify for student aid even if my GPA is not the best?
Though many scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, most government aid is based on financial need. However, keep in mind that most student aid comes with academic stipulations. For example, to stay eligible for a Pell grant - one of the most common need based grants - you must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA.
6 - If I qualify for financial aid for college, what can I use it for?
Tuition and fees

Room and board

Books and supplies

Personal expenses

7 - How can I find out more about financial assistance and how to pay for college?
Check out these helpful resources for finding financial support for college:
College Board: Financial Aid Easy Planner

College Board: Financial Aid FAQs

Student Aid on the Web

Federal Direct Loans

Find a school that offers a good variety of career training programs that provide excellent options and resources for financial assistance, and start your journey to a new career today.

College Scholarships by State

Believe it or not some of the most popular scholarships that you are going to find when you look for them will be related to the state in which you live or the state where you want to go to college. You will find that many of these are going to be given by the state or the college. It will also be interesting to know that these scholarships will either be need based, meaning you might have met some income guidelines for the scholarship or it will be based on merit. When they are based on merit that means that you will be given the scholarship because of your grades or even your behavior or the activities that you have carried out while you were in school.

Many of the scholarships that are given by state will be given to those individuals that have lived there for most of their lives. You might be asking yourself why that it. Well, these people may be more willing to stay in the area and in the state when they are finished with their schooling. That is certainly one way to increase the economy in local areas and to help businesses grow. This is the same reason why you will find that college tuition will be much cheaper when you are willing to go to school in state as well. If you have ever compared in state with out of state then you will see that there is often a very large difference that you might not have been aware of.
Every state will have a list of the scholarships that will be available. It would be a good idea for you to spend some time looking at scholarships in the state where you live and see if you would be able to get any great funds from them. Then you can look for scholarships in the states that you are considering for college. See what you may be eligible for there. When you compare the two you might find that one is actually better than the other. This could be a deciding factor for many people that are not sure where they want to go to college and what they want to do when they are finished.
While you are looking at scholarships by state you will need to review all of the fine print. That is because you might learn some things that you did not know. For example, in some states students will be given a scholarship for the state that they live in but it will also be related to the career choice that they have in mind. They are pleased with these scholarships because they do not have to repay them. But, when they are finished with their education, if they are not able to find a job in that field then the scholarship will become a grant and they will be expected to repay it along with interest. This can really create a lot of stress for some people and it would defeat the purpose of a scholarship.
Most scholarships will have guidelines and rules that must be followed and it will not matter which state they are coming from. In fact, you will find that you are almost always going to be required to meet a deadline with your scholarship application. Sometimes you need to have a letter of recommendation. There will also be rules that you must comply with to keep your scholarship and that may include taking certain courses or even keeping a certain grade point average. Always make sure that you understand all of this before you apply for any scholarships.

Finally, will you be getting this every year? Do you need to reapply? Ask yourself these questions to fully understand what you must do to keep the funds coming in. You do not want to rely on them to find out that you have lost them. This could ruin your opportunity to go to college and it could make it very difficult for you to reach your goals in life. The rules are there for a reason and if you want the money you must follow them. You are the one responsible if you do not.

How Would College Scholarships Make A Difference To You?

Getting an education is very important in today's economic environment. The unfortunate thing is, it can also be very expensive to get the education you need, and because of the cost, many potential students do not attend or finish college. But this is where college scholarships can make a huge difference to you. Make no mistake about it, they are available. The amount of money that is given out through those scholarships may vary from year to year and the money may not be available for all individuals. That is why it is important for you to make sure that you give yourself every advantage that is possible by following these tips.
One of the first tips that I can give to you is not to wait until the last minute to try to find college scholarships, or you will have a very difficult time doing so. It is important for you to not only find scholarships in advance but to apply for them as early as possible. You must make sure that you meet any deadlines and all of the information needs to be filled out accurately. Once a scholarship opportunity comes onto the radar, be sure that you are on it as quickly as possible to give yourself the best opportunity.
Many students do not apply for scholarships because they think that a person needs to be an athletic star or an academic superstar to be qualified, but that is no longer the case. Yes there are scholarships that focus on a particular curriculum or require a certain ethnic group but the vast majority only require you to apply for them, and a good number of these do not even require a minimum grade point average.
You should also broaden the range of where you are going to be searching for those college scholarships. Many people tend to focus on the federal scholarships, and there are some of those that are available. Don't overlook the possibility, however, of finding college money that is available in your local area. In many cases, you will have a much easier time applying for and receiving this money because of the lower amount of competition. Look for various clubs, grocery stores, banks and other businesses that may be actively giving money for a college education. You should also check on the state level, as there may be money that is allocated for college scholarships as well.
You should also be involved in finding college scholarships through national organizations that offer them, such as the Discover Card Scholarships where it is given to members who hold that particular credit card. There are also other credit cards and similar affinity cards that frequently offer scholarships for card holders and members.

Broaden your search. This not only includes asking in your local area or with various organizations that may actually offer the scholarship money, it may mean checking in with the college as well. In some cases, scholarship money is going to be offered through the University and it would be up to the financial department at the University to distribute those funds. Even if they don't have money directly, they may still be able to point you in the right direction to give you a better opportunity of getting the funding that you need. With one or more college scholarships in hand, then you can focus on graduating instead of worrying about how to pay back the cost of your student loans.

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