Are you facing your final years in high school and wondering how you’re going to afford to go to college? Do you want to make a career change and don’t how you can afford to attend college so you can make that happen? The rising costs of a college education might make you think you can’t get there, but it shouldn’t. Check out the following ways to help you pay your bills while you get the education you need.
Grants are the most attractive option when it comes to paying for college, as they don’t have to be paid back. You must meet certain guidelines, like income, residency, or educational progress — it all depends on what kind of grant you’re applying for. The best place to start is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. You’ll have to do this every year to see if you continue to qualify. It’s also important to note that state or federal grants may not cover the entire bill. So, while you should take advantage of any grants you’re qualified to get, keep in mind that you may need to look for other aid as well.
2. Local Scholarships
Scholarships for college come in many forms these days. While sports and academic scholarships are probably the most common, you can also apply for ones based on diverse interests and life circumstances such as military service, musical ability or family situation. Even if you aren’t a veteran, if a parent served in the military, you could be eligible for a scholarship. If you are the first in your family to attend college, or you’re a single parent, there could be a local scholarship available to you from a civic or religious organization. Scholarships for popular sports, such as baseball and football, are often highly competitive so look for opportunities like golf, tennis or swimming as alternatives.
3. Service Programs
Are you a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)? Does the philosophy of the Peace Corps, National Health Services Corps or AmeriCorps appeal to you? These service-oriented programs offer money for college that can often be accessed once you’ve completed a service commitment. For example, Peace Corps Volunteers can take advantage of assistantships, stipends and reduced tuition for graduate studies once they’ve met their service commitment thanks to partners in Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program.
4. Work Study
Work study doesn’t pay very much money but can be a good way to supplement your income. When combined with grant money and/or scholarships that don’t quite pay for all your college expenses, work study can provide employment that is on campus. This eliminates having to pay for transportation. Work study also gives you with solid references that you can use in the future.
Joining the military means that you’ll have to delay starting college, but the rewards can help ease its financial constraints. With four primary initiatives in place to help those in the military pay for college, the Montgomery GI Bill — which gives you the opportunity to earn more than $50,000 — is probably the best known of them.
Going to college opens up new opportunities and possibilities. Don’t let a lack of money hold you back from furthering your education. Tap into one of these ideas to make your dream a reality.