Going to college is a great idea no matter what your age, because earning a degree gives you the necessary tools to enter a rewarding and well-paying career. If you want to go to college, you need to have a well-paying career to be able to afford the high cost of tuition and books.
Since that’s obviously not an option for the vast majority of college-bound students, the next best thing to reducing the cost of college is to find free money in the form of grants and scholarships. Not only can you use the free money to pay for your books and courses, but in many cases, grants and scholarships can also be used to pay for living expenses.
So we’ll highlight the many options available to you to help pay for your college education and help you avoid having to apply for student loans.
Where to find free money for college
Half the battle is finding grants and scholarships to apply for. Most people who don’t get scholarship money simply don’t know where to apply. The best resources for this are as follows.
Applicants are required to be full-time students and eligible for a Pell Grant. Sophomore applicants will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA during their first year.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid: Also referred to as the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a free application. The FAFSA can be found at most financial aid offices or can be completed online. The FAFSA application is for students who are applying for several different grants, including the Pell Grant.
It’s a good idea to fill it out as soon as possible, as many schools run out of money for the FAFSA early in the process. FASFA can be submitted as early as January 1 for the following school year.
FastWeb: FastWeb is one of the most popular websites for college students. You can search for colleges, find scholarships to apply for, and read one of several articles to help explain the finer aspects of collage life. There is also a forum that can be quite helpful.
Many of the topics discussed on the “Fast Web” are admissions, tests, financial aid, and job hunting.
10k Scholarship: This is another website that has a lot of content about job hunting, college placements, and scholarships. There is also a regular $10,000 scholarship contest, hence the site’s name.
Financial Aid Office: Your college’s financial aid office may have information about special awards offered by your particular college. Sometimes these are for anyone in need, while other scholarships are targeted by ethnicity or gender.
Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are generally awarded based on student need. However, some grants and scholarships are awarded on the basis of ethnicity, gender, interests, hobbies, religion or achievements. You fall into as many of these categories as possible to qualify for grants and scholarships.
Federal Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is the largest grant available. Students may receive as little as a few hundred dollars or a few thousand per school year. Prices are based on what the student and/or their family can afford to pay for tuition, as well as what they earn each year. The Pell Grant is available to both part-time and full-time students.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants: These grants pay anywhere from $100 to $4,000. FSEOG grants are reserved for the most needy students.
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG): The ACG is for US citizens who are in their first or second year of college. Students receive $750 for the first year and $1,300 for the second year. Applicants are required to be full-time students and eligible for a Pell Grant. Sophomore applicants will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA during their first year.
National SMART Grant: The SMART Grant stands for Access to Science and Math to Retain Talent. This grant is reserved for those majoring in either a math or science field to encourage Americans to study in fields that we are sorely lacking among professionals. Some of the requirements include Pell Grant eligibility and maintaining a 3.0 GPA.
The TEACH grant is reserved for those who want to become teachers. Awards range from $4,000 to $16,000 depending on your current course of study.
Military: As part of the military, you can get up to 100% of your college education paid for. In some cases, you may even be able to get previous school loan repayments. Requirements and limitations will vary depending on the branch of the military you enlist in and length of service, but it’s possible to get up to $250 per credit, up to $4,500 per year, and an additional $1,000 per year for school supplies.
Getting free money for college
One of the most important free money tips to remember when looking for scholarships and grants is that you should never turn them down because of their size. Many students will turn down a grant or scholarship because it will not fully cover their needs. That’s a big mistake.
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Not only can you use the free money to pay for your books and courses, but in many cases, grants and scholarships can also be used to pay for living expenses.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one grant or scholarship. You can apply for more than one and use all the ones you are eligible for when paying your tuition. Never turn down free money.
Additionally, you’ll want to be sure to apply as soon as possible to avoid rejection since all the free money has already been given away. Wait and your options will be limited when figuring out how to get free money for college.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants: These grants pay anywhere from $100 to $4,000. FSEOG grants endence that’s obviously not an option for the vast majority of college-bound students, the next best thing to reducing the cost of college is to find free money in the form of grants and scholarships.