Almost everyone goes to college these days. Even if you have been saving for your child’s education, what you’ve put away into a special college fund may not be enough, which means you are undoubtedly looking for other alternatives to help pay for your child’s future education. Here are a few places you can go to dig up extra funding:
Student loans. You and your child should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (better known as FAFSA) to find out which federal loans or grants they are eligible to receive. They will probably receive a Perkins Loan, which can dispersed up to $4000 for undergrads, and a Stafford Loan, which comes from a private lender or from the government. You and your child might also look into applying for loans from a private lender. Just remember that they have to be paid back, usually starting six months after your child has graduated from college.
Free money (grants). Federal Pell Grants are one of the most common federal assistance grants given to students who have yet to earn their bachelor’s degree, and are usually awarded to families who make under $20,000 annually. You might also look at applying for the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant (or FSEOG), also for students in need who have not completed their bachelor’s, as well as the Academic Competitiveness Grant, available to first year students who graduated from high school after 2006 and can maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
More free money (scholarships and fellowships). Scholarships are probably your best bet for free money for your future college student. They can be found almost anywhere, for large or small amounts, and must be applied for. If your child has some special ability or is an outstanding scholar, you should research scholarships that are offered for people specifically like them. Students with technological interests may have an easier time finding free money. Your child’s guidance counselor should be able to point you in the direction of several scholarships that can benefit them.
Work study. This is free money only in the sense that you actually have to work for it, though the money goes toward paying for your education. Businesses on campus, such as the student bookstore or the cafeteria, usually offer work study jobs.
The military. The military is more than happy to help out needy students who cannot afford college or are not eligible for student loans. There are army scholarships that you can apply for that will help your future student with their military education. Usually they have the option of attending college first and then fulfilling a three to four year service contract, or they can serve on weekends throughout the year and then attend college. The military is also interested in people with special skills or services, so if your child is interested in nursing, they may be offered a bonus at the beginning of their program and another at the end (these bonuses may be as high as fifty thousand dollars).