Student Financial Aid

Student financial aid...How will you pay for college? It is the question on every student and their parent’s minds. It seems like the cost of higher education increased each year and more students are fearful about how they will manage.


You won’t find out about grants unless you fill out the student financial aid form (FAFSA). Even if you think that you won’t qualify because of parental income, do it anyway. Unless you do, financial funds are not available to you. This form tells you what you may qualify for in the way of student loans and grants. The principle grant that most people receive is the Pell Grant.

The best thing about grants is that they do not have to be paid back. They are awarded mostly according to need but not always. Filling out that form early and every year can’t hurt your efforts.


When you see those Internet ads that say there are millions of dollars available for education, believe them. If you’ve ever done a scholarship search, you’ll soon realize that there are plenty of organizations, civic groups and businesses that offer money towards higher education. Most of it goes unclaimed.

Apply for any scholarship that might even remotely be applied to you. It can’t hurt and you increase your chances of positive scholarship returns the more you apply for. Some of the easiest scholarships to get are in your local community. People often forget about their local churches, civic organizations that their parents belong to and any monies offered by summer job employers.

Scholarship searches are free. There are scams online that ask you to pay for someone else to do it for you. There is no need. You can simply enter “college scholarships” into your search engine and find hundreds of results.

Colleges offer scholarships of their own. Students may meet qualifications for athletic or academic scholarships.

Student Loans

This is everyone’s last resort. Exhaust all of your other avenues before taking out a student loan. Your financial aid form may specify what student loans best meet your needs. Start with the one with the lowest interest rate.

Also look at whether they offer deferment options and other repayment plans. Students who go on to graduate school can extend their loan repayment until they graduate with their advanced degree. Students who are not financially stable after graduation can apply for deferments until they get on their feet.

What is the average student loan debt? That is hard to say. It depends on your college of choice, graduate school and what you receive from other financial sources. A student may carry from $10,000 to over $100,000 in debt when their higher education is all said and done.

And, just because you take out a loan one year doesn’t mean that you will need to take out the same amount the next. Working over summer breaks can help defer some of that cost. Excellent grades can lead to other scholarships or grants that further whittle down the amount of student loans you need to have.

Students are also beating the college costs by taking many advanced courses in high school. of course you will have to check with your colleges of choice to see if they accept them, but taking AP or IB courses in high school could mean you transfer those credits.

Education costs money, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. There are student financial aid options available for students who want to pursue degrees beyond high school.

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