If you are thinking about going to college, you may be wondering how you will be able to afford it. With rising tuition costs and shrinking government support, many hopeful students aren’t sure where to find the money they need to support their quest for a college degree.
Many types of organizations offer individual grant money to worthwhile students. The challenge is to find these organizations and determine your eligibility, as well as applying in the prescribed manner to meet specified deadlines. Here are a few ideas that might be helpful.
- Start by filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form on the Web. To do this you will need to apply for an application to a college or university that you are considering attending. This doesn’t mean you have to take classes there, but it means you have to at least apply. This will get you into the higher education system so that you can file a FAFSA form to apply for financial aid since the results of your financial aid application must be sent to a registered institution. When processed with the proper documentation, you will be informed whether you qualify for financial aid, which type, and how much, as well as how the money will be awarded.
- Apply for other federal or state grants. Browse Internet sites for your state and that are connected with the federal government that offers grants to students with specific characteristics. For example, you can apply for minority grants if you are non-Caucasian, female, or from a disadvantaged socio-economic background. You can also apply for financial aid from the government if you have military service that includes an honorable discharge.
- Seek information from a specific college department. For example, if you plan to study nursing, ask the College of Nursing at the university where you wish to attend about possible undergraduate grants for incoming students. Some institutions offer textbook grants or first-year fee reductions for students with special needs, so ask the college or university you are interested in for information about grants of this type.
- Contact professional organizations about grant possibilities. If you would like to study business, look into local business organizations to ask about grant opportunities in your area. The Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, civic groups, or other clubs and organizations sometimes offer one-time grants to deserving students.
- Ask your parents’ or your own employer about company grants. Sometimes a business or company will award grants to the children of valued employees or the workers themselves that enroll in college. Find out if your employer or others in your community offer grants for local college students, especially if you have done volunteer work locally or have a high-grade point average.
- Contact educational foundations by surfing the Web or calling the college’s Development Office. Someone there may be able to steer you toward organizations that offer individual grants to students based on individual need or merit.
Grant money is available for those who take time to apply for it. A few well-planned phone calls or inquiries may yield thousands of dollars toward your college education.