5 Steps to Finding College Grants and Scholarships

A6_June_PTM_College Grants and ScholarshipsThere is no way to deny it, college is expensive. While community colleges and state colleges are often cheaper than their private college counterparts, paying for college puts a strain on the family’s budget. Thankfully, students have many grants and scholarships available to them that will help cover the costs of tuition, room and board. Learning where to find these grants and scholarships is often the most difficult part of paying for school.

Federal Government Grants

The federal government offers need-based grants to students of low-income families. The application for these grants can be found online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. These grants, called Pell Grants, are available for students of families with less than $40,000 annual income. Pell Grants can be awarded in varying amounts up to $5,500 per year. Students will need to reapply each year.

State Grants

Certain US states offer need-based college grants to students. Among these states are New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Most state grants require an individual application. The grant application, along with income guidelines and other requirements, can be found on the state website. Students will need to provide information from their parent’s most recent tax return in order to complete the application.

College Grants

Many state and private colleges and universities offer grants to students based solely on financial need. Like state and federal grants, students need to apply for private grants from their college. The availability of these grants is often found on the college website. Often times, the grant application is also provided on the school website. Students can also contact the college financial aid office to learn about grants and tuition assistance that are available to them.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded to students without regard to their financial situation or their family’s level of income. Rather, these scholarships are based solely on merit. Students with excellent grades are often awarded merit-based scholarships. These scholarships are available from a number of organizations and institutions. When it comes to finding out about merit-based scholarship opportunities, the high school guidance counselor is often the greatest resource. The guidance counselor will have information regarding scholarship opportunities, scholarship requirements, and applications available to students in their office.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are often the most popular type of college scholarship that is available to students. In order to obtain an athletic scholarship, students may need to be “recruited” to play for the college sports team. In some cases, this process is it out of the student’s control and he or she simply needs to wait for a scout to attend one of the games. In other cases, however, students can actively seek out athletic scholarships. These scholarships are applied for similarly to academic scholarships. Your child’s coach at school will be able to provide your student with information about athletic scholarship availability.

Regardless of what path you take, it is possible to pay for college using a combination of grants and scholarships. This money need not be repaid, so it is a great way for families to reduce their out of pocket expenses and be able to afford their child’s tuition.

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