Earn Free Money for College
Find ways to get funding for College without having to acquire more debt
What we don’t know can hurt us… This saying is especially true when we talk about saving money for college. Getting a college degree becomes everyday more expensive, as tuition rates grow an average of 4% per year. It is to our advantage to understand the ins and outs of not only gaining admission to college, but also, alternative ways to finance our education, without getting money out of our pockets. What is available to us? How can we take advantage of opportunities to get funding for college? Here is a list of things to do when looking to make college less expensive for our family, while pursuing a top education.
1- Understand what is available to you
There are many ways to finance your education, without counting on Loans. Grants are need-based government scholarships. Merit Scholarships are awards that recognize special accomplishments and are funded by state governments, colleges, private corporations, or non-profit organizations. Work-Study opportunities are both offered by schools and by the government. All these are ways to support yourself or your child through their studies, when not wanting to acquire additional debt. These three instruments are available for us. Learn what grants your college offers, seek private scholarship opportunities, find a job on or off campus.
2- Find money that you will not owe later on
Although sometimes the FAFSA application will not provide you with the opportunity to receive a grant, your college just might think differently. Inquire with your school what opportunities there are for you to receive need-based funding, to support your education.
When you receive money that you will not owe later, the award can be granted for two reasons:
Tackle both ways to get free money – you will be more successful if you knock on all available doors and see which one opens first.
3- Look for funding as if it was a full-paying part-time job
Finding scholarships, financial aid for college, and any funding for higher education is not an easy task. It is a job, and a very well paying one, when pursued with dedication. There are several cases, like that of Shayla Price, where students have given a lot of dedication to finding scholarships, and have been able to secure more than US$100,000 for college, meaning that their full tuition and college costs was 100% paid. They did not have to acquire any debt, graduating with a college degree while in the black. Did this take effort and hard work? Undoubtedly! These students devoted themselves to write essays everyday, and were disciplined and constant, just as if they were employed by a company and getting paid for their work. However, they proved that scholarships can amount and they can fully support you through your studies if you seek them out on a daily-basis and work hard at applying.
4- Look into schools that meet 100% need
Schools that have endowments of over US$1billion are under great pressure from the public and the education industry to support families of incomes of less than US$200K per year. Many of them are already adapting and catering to family needs by offering grants instead of loans. For families with incomes below US$60 thousand, some of these schools meet 100% of the tuition need – that would make these schools even more affordable than an in-state college. As explained by Liz Pulliam Weston, on the article “Graduate from Harvard debt-free“, some of the first institutions that have eliminated all loans from student aid packages include Amherst, Bowdoin, Claremont McKenna, Columbia, Dartmouth, Davidson, Harvard, Haverford, Pomona , Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore, the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley, Williams and Yale. When demonstrating need, these schools will sponsor 100% of the need of the student, to promote diversity and provide real education opportunities, no holds barred. Seek these institutions when looking for help in financing your education.
As these universities are amongst the most competitive in the nation to gain admission to, being a top student and college applicant is of the essence. Find out as much information about how to enhance your results in the college admissions process and you will not only support yourself in gaining admission, you will become as eligible as possible to gain scholarship money.
5- Find schools that have committed to switching from loans to grants in their financial aid packages
If a school has not yet made the transition to support 100% student needs, they might anyway be offering more grants than loans, or a more suitable combination that will allow you to support yourself or your child to go through college without going bankrupt from all the acquired debt. Find these schools as they might provide more chances than others to earn free money in the form of grants, even if you will have to acquire some debt.
6- Private vs. Public – Do your homework before you decide where to apply
Researching school attendance costs can signify great cost savings for you and your family. You might be surprised to learn that some great private schools offer lower tuition than other public schools. Berea College does not charge tuition, while Brigham Young University full time tuition starts at $3,600 for their Hawaii location.
7- If you need to borrow, find government loans
As stated in the article “Student Loans: Another Bubble Pops?” in MSN (written by The Wall Street Journal), “Private loans don’t carry federal guarantees of repayment, so they generally come with higher interest rates. Think of them as the educational equivalent of a second mortgage. Borrowing rates typically range from 6% to 11%, compared with the 6% to 8% on federally guaranteed debt.” What this means is that you should shy away from loans that are not government or state funded – the first will be much more expensive than the second.
To be continued…