Scholarships, Grants, Loans and More
Scholarships: Earn to Learn
Scholarships are gifts. They don't need to be repaid. Thereare thousands of them, offered by schools, employers, individuals,private companies, nonprofits, religious groups, and professionaland social organizations.
Some scholarships are merit based. You earn them by meetingor exceeding certain standards set by the scholarship-giver. Theymight be awarded based on academic achievement, or a combination ofacademics and a special talent, trait or interest. Otherscholarships are based on financial need.
Grants: Need and Receive
Grants are also gifts, but they're usually based on financialneed.
Most often, grant aid comes from federal and stategovernments and individual colleges. Available federal grantsinclude:
Pell Grant. A federal grant awarded toundergraduate students.
ACG. The Academic Competitiveness Grant is for collegefreshmen and sophomores who are eligible for Pell Grants and whotook "rigorous" classes in high school.
FSEOG. The Federal Supplemental EducationalOpportunity Grant is awarded to undergraduate students withexceptional financial need.
SMART Grant. The National Science and MathematicsAccess to Retain Talent Grant is awarded to juniors and seniors whoare eligible for Pell Grants and are majoring in mathematics,technology, engineering, a foreign language critical to nationalsecurity or physical, life or computer sciences. Students must alsohave at least a 3.0 grade point average to be eligible.
TEACH Grant. The Teacher Education Assistance forCollege and Higher Education Grant is for students who plan toteach in schools that serve low-income students.
Fast Fact: There's more grant money available now than 10 yearsago.
Loans: Borrow for the Future
Loans are a contract to borrow money and repay it over time,with interest. In the case of most federal student loans, you donot need to begin repaying them until several months after youleave college or are no longer enrolled at least half-time.
Every year, more than $60 billion in federal student aid isgiven out in the form of low-interest loans.
Some banks and financial institutions offer private studentloans. These loans often have variable interest rates, require acredit check and may not provide the benefits of federal studentloans.
If taking out loans makes you feel a little nervous, you arein good company. Many of the students interviewed for this Web sitefelt the same way. But looking at loans as an investment in theirfuture helped them get past their fear.
To learn more about federal student loans, visit Federal AidFirst, an online brochure from the U.S. Department of Education.
Work-Study: Get a (Federally Subsidized) Job
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program provides part-time jobsfor students with financial need to help them pay for theireducation.
The program is administered by participating schools. It'sdesigned to put you to work in the community, or in a job relatedto your studies, whenever possible.
Fast Fact: More than 3,400 schools participate in the FederalWork-Study program. In 2007, over 800,000 students receivedwork-study aid.
Other Sources of Aid: Find More Funding
Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to FederalStudent Aid from the U.S. Department of Education features asection called Other Financial Aid Sources. It includes many otherideas to pay for your education, like the AmeriCorps communityservice organization and the U.S. armed forces
Tools and Tips: Find and Save Money
A little homework can earn you a lot of cash for college. Alittle common sense can help you use your money wisely. Here are afew tips to get started:
Use the financial aid and scholarship wizards on the FederalStudent Aid Web site. You can search for scholarships based ontalents, interests, background and more.
Check the colleges you're considering for merit- ornon-need-based scholarships to academically talented students.
Check with your state education agency to find out if you'reeligible for state assistance based on merit.
Athletically inclined? See if you are eligible for an athleticscholarship.
Stick close to home. Most state colleges and universitiesoffer lower tuition to in-state residents.
Go to a lower-cost community college for one or two years, thentransfer to a four-year school.
Live at home. You could save thousands of dollars.
Visit email@example.com today for more information.