Finding college financial aid is as simple as talking to the financial aid counselors in your college program, but don’t let that be the only step you take in finding the money to pay for college coursework. There are many other ways to find college financial aid outside of the university programs.
Take Out Family Loans
If you’re parents aren’t able to cough up enough to pay for tuition or they are unwilling to do so, take some time to ask others who care about you. Your grandparents might be willing to offer you an interest free loan. You might have money put aside by your godparents. If you borrow money from a family member, you’ll need to be absolutely dedicated to getting that money repaid correctly in a timely manner. If family loans aren’t working, you should be able to find traditional student loans, but be sure you get a job that allows you the funds to pay for the loan after you graduate.
Look for Work-Study Programs
Work-study program are college financial aid packages offered to students to help them make a dent in the tuition by working off the cost. In a work-study program, you might be required to work in a school office as a clerk or assistant twenty hours per week. Rather than receiving a paycheck, you get room and board in a dorm on campus and a big break in your tuition. You might even be able to work off your tuition entirely. These programs must be awarded by the university, however, making them a bit hard to come by.
Work and Study Yourself
If you want to do a more traditional work study outside of formal college financial aid packages, you need to find a good job that pays well. You can work part-time with the job helping pay for the costs of school or opt for a full-time career and take school more slowly by taking classes at night. With online coursework becoming more common, you may be able to balance a full-time career and a full-time course load at the same time. It will be less time for fun and game, but you’ll have the satisfaction of keeping yourself debt free while also working your way up in a company.
Apply for Scholarships
One of the best college financial aid options is the elusive scholarship. There are thousands of scholarships out there and many go unclaimed every year because it is hard to meet the criteria for the more complicated ones. You might be more qualified than you’d think for some scholarships however – especially if you have a unique field of interest or a specialized background or skill. Websites and large books are dedicated to finding the specific sorts of scholarships you can apply to. When you are awarded a scholarship, you are able to use the money without paying it back so long as you continue to meet the criteria of the scholarship.
Look for Applicable Grants
Much like scholarships, there are many grants available that can help you pay for your coursework. The trick with grants, however, is that you have to use the funds as they are intended. There are strings attached. If you get a teaching grant, for example, you’ll need to get your education degree and then go on and use that degree in a classroom for a set period of time. Your grant might be further limited by a particular course to teach or a location to teach in. Grants are available in almost every field, but you’ll find far more grants in areas where there is a critical need – education, science, math and healthcare are some of the most common.