Grants & School Scholarships For Students
How Can I Afford College?
Whether you are pursuing a degree at an online college or an on-campus university almost every student or working adult looking to advance their education through college asks the same familiar question:
“How am I going to pay for it?”
Many people are overwhelmed by the idea that their dreams and goals of obtaining a higher education might never be realized due to lack of personal funds or available resources to help pay for it. There are workable options available to almost everyone, whether you are applying for African-American Grants, Engineering Scholarships or some other type of program. With some solid research into the many different types of college scholarships, public and private grant programs, and low-interest student loans you are sure to successfully gain the financial support you need.
Why Should I Go To College?
The past five years has seen a drastic increase in job applicants for virtually any available position. Employers now have the luxury of establishing relatively high standards for their potential candidates, regardless of the job title. A college diploma is absolutely necessary to even compete with fellow job-seekers in this market, where it was once just a welcome bonus on your resumé. The chart below illustrates the education to employment ratio, collected over the last 25 years.
Grants, Scholarships or Loans?
The reality of higher education is that graduates will be paying for that diploma for at least another 30 years. One mistake many college-bound students make is trying to pay for college through through private & federal loans that are available to them. Loans should be avoided, because they can get you in serious debt, they should be considered your backup plan at best. Your priority should be scholarships & grants, which don’t need to be paid back. Imagine starting your adult life debt-free with the world at your fingertips. This could be your reality if you do the proper research beforehand.
What Are Grants?
Simply put, grants are funds disbursed to an individual by a larger government or private entity. These grants are usually awarded to people who have potential to make great strides or developments in a specific field such as science, health or charity. There is often a highly-competitive process to be considered.
Are Grants Available To Many Students?
Yes, grants are certainly available to many students due to the fact that they don’t always require educational excellence in any particular field to earn consideration. For instance, the Pell Grant is a U.S. government-funded grant of about $5,500 awarded annually to undergraduates with financial need. Or the popular Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, which is meant to serve students with extraordinarily low income. Additional options can be found through FAFSA federal grants, which is more of a conglomeration of federal student aid programs.
Apart from these, various colleges also offer assistance for educational funding through their own personal student college grants and in-house programs. To learn more about grant opportunities, you will need to contact your college’s own financial aid office regularly. Make sure that in doing so you complete and turn in your financial aid application to your chosen college or school as soon as possible to ensure that you collect the grant money you need before it is claimed by others, for it is limited and goes fast.
What Are Scholarships?
Scholarships, in contrast to grants, are a more common method of paying for college, in which terms of academic achievement are usually set to qualify. Their amount and criteria are usually determined by the awarding entity. This can be an organization as large as a Fortune 500 company or as small as a single family. Students with exceptionally good grades are poised to be eligible for a wide range of scholarships when entering their first year of college. Also, minorities have a growing list of scholarship opportunities.
In addition to minority scholarships there are is a multitude of different types of scholarships including merit-based, need-based, student-specific (such as scholarships and grants for hispanics) career-specific (such as pharmacy scholarships and grants for nurse majors), college-specific and even athletic. Although disbursed funds are not expected to be paid back by the applicant, there are sometimes stipulations such as post-graduation employment agreements, quarterly reporting, academic minimums, etc.
The Scholarship Application Process
When delving into the world of scholarships, it is important to first strategically think out which programs you might apply for, as applying to all of them is nearly impossible. Starting local is a fruitful method such as finding institutions & organizations in your home region that offer scholarships. These are typically less competitive than national awards.
Once you begin actively applying to scholarship programs, be sure to always pay close attention to details & qualifications. Get help from your school’s guidance counselor with reviewing your applications, get teachers’ feedback and always follow the submission rules & deadlines precisely. To begin learning about the application process, you can read our article on how to apply for scholarships.
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