This is all that you ever wanted to know about financial aid (probably more than you wanted to know).
There are three places you can get money from (I'm not including student loans). 1) The government, 2) The college you're going to, and 3) Independent organizations. I'll go over what you need to do for each one.
1. To get financial aid from the government you must have what they term "financial need". You have financial need if your family doesn't have a lot of money. To determine whether you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Please note that this is a free application, if you find something that says you need to pay a fee, you're on a scam site. You can fill out the FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The FAFSA generally isn't due until sometime at the beginning of the year, because you need to have everything you need to do your taxes, but it varies by school, and sometimes they just have you estimate. You should see what the colleges you're thinking of applying to say as their deadline for the FAFSA is. Once you fill that out, the government will evaluate it, and tell you whether you have need or not. If you do, you will generally get that aid through the college (the gov't gives money to colleges each year to hand out for financial aid).
2. Colleges will give you aid in two different ways: 1) grants, and 2) scholarships. Grants should not require you to do anything other than apply. They are based on merit, and they will determine whether to give you any grants based on what you give them in your application. Scholarships on the other hand, generally require separate applications (although not always). You can find out what scholarships your college offers by going to their website. That will tell you what the requirements are for each scholarship. You should apply for as many as possible. Sometimes, scholarships require your financial information, which the school can get from the FAFSA. So, even if you don't think you will qualify for federal aid, you should still fill out the FAFSA as the colleges will look at it, and may think differently, or use it to qualify you for a scholarship.
3. You can also apply for independent scholarships. These are sponsored by different organizations/people. You can use www.fastweb.com or other similar sites to find out what kind of scholarships are available. You should apply for as many as possible, because even if the money isn't that much, a lot of small scholarships can add up.
By the way, I don't think community colleges are as likely to be offering big scholarships and grants (I'm not sure if they even offer any at all, but you should check up on that with the college). Good luck!
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Well good grades help. But once it's time for you to apply for fafsa they will tell you what government grants you qualify for. Another way is to talk with your schools councilor about grants and scholarships available to you. Also contact your college's financial aid department and ask about scholarships they may offer. There may be a list on the schools website also. Good Luck!
You can usually apply for grants at the school you are going to. You should actually be checking into that now. You will need your parents tax records and yours if you had a job even if you move out of their house because they are based on income. You can also be eligible for deferrment for your books if you qualify for enough grants. I personally never heard of anyone getting 10 grand but hey you never know until you try. Go start checking into this now because I think most people apply by jan for grants and the later you apply the less you get. Good luck.
Start by going on to the FAFSA website (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and fill out the form. You can save the information along the way, so don't worry about having time to do it all at once. Once you complete this process, FAFSA will send a SAR (Student Aid Report) to the schools of your choice. The school's Financial Aid Department will create a budget for you which is comprised of grants first, and then loans. Grants do not have to be repaid; however, loans do have to be repaid. There are different types of grants and loans and you need to read all about them before choosing. Just because they offer you loans, doesn't mean that you should take them all. Be selective and take only what you need. Some student loans are subsidized by the Government, meaning that the Government will pick up the tab on the deferred interest that accrues while you are in school. Unsibsidized loans accrure interest that you are responsible for paying back. Unsibsidized loan money should be your last resort. Being that you are just graduating from High School means that you will not be considered an independent student for some time and that the income of your parents will be considered even though you may not be living at home. Keep this in mind if you are considering moving in with your girlfriend in the near future. It may be wise to hold off and get through school first. All that said, the financial aid system can definitely work for you and make graduation from college a reality. Remember to stay on task and complete what you start as even grant monies may have to be repaid if you do not make satisfactory progress. Student loans are guaranteed by the Government and if you default on repayment they don't just go away. Default can ruin your credit and make other things difficult such as buying a car or getting a job. A community college is a great way to get an education, especially if you are working your way through it all. Be sure to spend the extra semester there and get the AA degree rather than just transferring in to the University with minimal credits. The cost of your education will be ultimately less if you take the max number of units at the lower level, and the degree can't be taken from you once you get it. That way, if work and life's other surprises get in the way of your 4 year degree, you at least have something to hang your hat on. And lets face it...it feels great to walk through a commencement ceremony knowing that you have accomplished what you set out to do! FAFSA.ed/gov is the site.
Also check with the Financial Aid department to find out about Scholarships and other Community based monies that could be available. The Community College may also have a Foundation that helps to raise private money for students that may be less fortunate or have oustanding grades or are involved in the Community. Be sure to apply at the Foundation outside of school even if you don't think that you'll qualify. When it comes time to divide up the money they get each year, they literally spread all the applications out on a table and match them up to different opportunities available. You never know what the criteria may be or how many or few applicants there are. If there are 5 awards to be given and only 3 students apply, well, you get the picture.
You have many chances to get a grant or scholarship to help you pay for college. Here are a few sites to check out:
And if you do have to get a student loan, the best type of loan to get is a federal loan because they have low interest rates and the government pays your interest as long as you stay enrolled in school. To get a federal loan you need to take these steps:
1) Fill out the FAFSA. This will determine if you are eligible for financial aid. Go here:
2) Once you are eligible for aid, choose a government-based student loan. The best loan to get is a Federal Perkins Loan. These have low interest rates and the government will help you pay it back as long as you stay enrolled in school. You also don't need a cosigner or good credit for it. For more info go here:
3) The next best loan to get is a Subsidized Stafford Loan. This has many of the same benefits as a Perkins Loan. Learn more here:
Federal grants are need based. Need based is based on a percentage of your parents' income and savings along with your income and savings. It takes into consideration the number of total people in the household. The form needed to be completed is the FAFSA which must be completed in January or early February of each upcoming school year until you graduate. I will include some other free resources to locate money to attend college.
First, current high school seniors can locate a list of local scholarships at their high school guidance office. Sometimes they will list some of the state grant programs.
Second, fill out the FAFSA form. It is based on your income and your parents' income along with savings. There is a form to list deductions, too. It will qualify you for the Pell Grant, student loans, and the work study program.
Third, the local public library has a book listing scholarships with some of them not located on the web.
Finally, join several free membership scholarship search websites. Most offer a detailed initial membership survey form. A good number are national scholarships though, but a few include local scholarships, too.
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