Paying for college is becoming increasingly more difficult as tuition is on the rise. It has been said that tuition rates can be expected not only to keep up with the rate of inflation but could be as much as twice that of the general inflation rate. For those of you who are going to be paying for college on your own may be interested in learning more about financial aid to can assist you:
- Scholarships: These are forms of aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not need to be paid back. Students may find scholarships through their own University, current places of employement, or on different scholarship databases throughout the web. It cannot hurt applying for as many as possible because you will increase your chances of receiving them. My advice for those of you applying for scholarships is to put in the work, if a scholarship asks for an essay take your time and complete the essay the best you can. It is likely that when students see that there is an essay requirement they will not put in the work to complete it. They often are the scholarships with the best benefits as well.
Here is a link to Fastweb, a scholarship data base where students go to find scholarships from everywhere: http://www.fastweb.com/
- Student Loans: Student Loans are a type of financial aid that unlike scholarships must be paid back and with interest. There are different types of loans that students may choose from including subsidzed, unsubsidized, PLUS loans and more. Knowing your loan is an important part of taking one out, because each come with their own set of rules and qualifications. My advice for those who must take out student loans is to use them wisely. I know too many people who have taken them out and used them for material things that did not benefit their education, or they dropped out and now still have a loan to pay for.
Here is a link to Federal Sudent Aid, a place that will go into detail about each loan avaliable to students and which they should consider taking: https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans
- Federal Pell Grants: This is another form of student aid that does not need to be paid back. Usually these are only offered to undergraduate students and amount of money awarded depends on financial need of the student, cost of attendance of the school, as well as if you are a part-time or a full-time student. The maximum amount for a school year is $5,730. My advice for these is to go onto FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) and fill out an application, be sure to do it before the school year deadlines. There is no cost and it does not hurt to try. Even if you are not awarded the full amount any amount is some that you did not have to borrow and will not have to pay back.
Here is the link to the FAFSA website: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
Work-Study Programs: This is a federally funded program that assits students with the cost of education buy earning financial funding through a part-time work program. Before attaining a work-study job you must be awarded through your Financial Aid Office to apply for a classified work-study position. These can provide students with excellent oppurtunities and experiences that will benefit them after their schooling. My advice for those who are considering a work-study form of financial aid is to find a position that relates to your future goals and careers after college. Who knows maybe you will end up being a full-time employee for who you did this program for.
Here is the University of Utah’s Work-Study Program, where you can go apply and find different positions and learn more on the subject: http://financialaid.utah.edu/working-through-college/work-study/index.php