National Scholarship: I need to pay for college

National Scholarship: I need to pay for college

I have to pay for college… Part One: Student Loans

If you’re like most high school graduates or thinking about going back to college, the prospect of having to pay for it can be overwhelming if you don’t have a lot of money saved up. According to a 2015 survey of 5,000 Americans, approximately 62 percent had only about $1,000 in savings, and another 20 percent didn’t even have a savings account. Additionally, the average cost of college tuition in America today according to for the 2015-2016 school year is $9,410 for in-state residents at a public college, $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending a public college, and $32,405 for private colleges. These expenses do not include textbooks or living expenses if you will not be living at home or with family who can help support you. Finally, there are additional costs to consider such as computers, lab fees, tuition, etc. So the big question is how does one pay for all this?

The answer is not easy; paying for college usually involves multiple strategies. Assuming you have nothing saved for college, the most obvious solution would be to fill out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, with the United States Department of Education on their website. This way, you will find out if and what types of student loans you may qualify for. This is usually the best option if you need to borrow money to pay for college because the interest rates are usually lower and the repayment period is more flexible. However, you should only borrow money if you haven’t exhausted all other options to pay for your education, as large student loan debt after graduation can be burdensome. Interest will continue to accrue on your student loan if you wait to start making payments, only adding to the total amount you owe and making paying off your loan even more difficult. Consider any type of loan as urgent; don’t borrow the money unless absolutely necessary!

I have to pay for college… Part Two: Free Money

Have you ever heard the expression “nothing is ever free”? Well, “free money” for college like scholarships and grants is basically “free money” with some other form of cost involved. For example, Fund for Thought requires you to fill out an application and write an essay to be considered for a scholarship. The cost in this example would be the application fee ($20) and the time spent completing the essay package. The “cost” is low compared to the opportunity to get $2,000 in “free money” for college. Scholarships and grants are ‘free money’ because you are not required to pay them back, they are a reward for some kind of qualification or achievement.

You should apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can find. The best places to look are online scholarship databases, a high school guidance counselor, or the financial aid office of the university you will be attending. These places usually have extensive lists of current scholarships and can help you if you have questions about applying. In addition, local civic organizations, churches and businesses will sponsor scholarships available to students in their area. Check your local papers and community notices and you may find “free money” with little competition. The bottom line is that if you take the time to search for scholarships and grants, your chances of getting “free money” for college are greater.

I have to pay for college… Part Three: Searching for a Scholarship

We wanted to elaborate on the scholarship search because there are so many resources that it can be a daunting task for the individual scholar. There are several different types of scholarships available that are categorized by different attributes. We thought it would be best to compile a list to help give you some ideas and guidance as you begin your search.

1. scholarships for high school students
2. scholarships for students
3. Master’s scholarships
4. national scholarships
5. international scholarships (Canadian scholarships, student exchange scholarships)
6. free scholarships
7. online scholarships
8. full travel scholarships
9. scholarship for community service
10. Company Sponsored Scholarships (Pepsi Scholarship, Walmart Scholarship, McDonald’s Scholarship)
11. Race/Ethnic Scholarships (Native American Scholarships, Hispanic Scholarship Fund)
12. Field of Study Scholarships (Journalism Scholarships, Law School Scholarships)
13. scholarships in areas of need (teaching scholarship, early intervention scholarship)
14. merit scholarships based on academic or sporting achievements

This list is by no means comprehensive, but the point is to get you started. Getting free money for college is possible for anyone. By applying for as many scholarships as possible, you will increase your chances of being awarded.

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