Paying for college is one of the biggest concerns students and parents have about college. As the cost of education has skyrocketed, more and more families are concerned about the possibility of their children going to college. Although the price tag for a college education can seem out of reach, there is a lot of financial help available.
One of the most common questions college counselors receive from students and parents is where to find scholarships. Using scholarships and other free monies for college is the way many students and their families want to pay for college. Here are nine places to look for scholarships or free money for college:
- High school counseling office. Many local scholarships are not advertised widely. Instead, local scholarship providers give information about their scholarships to high schools to advertise to their students. Students should check with their school counselor to see if they have a list of local scholarships available.
- Other local high schools. Sometimes scholarship providers only provide scholarship information to one or two high schools. However, the eligibility requirements could be open to other students in the local area. Students should visit the websites of area high schools and see if they have scholarship lists available. Scholarship lists, if available on school websites, will probably be found on the counseling or career center pages of the school website.
- Local organizations and companies. While many local scholarship providers will notify high schools of their scholarship opportunities, others do not. It might be worth it to check with local businesses and organizations to see if they offer scholarships. Places to check can include the local chamber of commerce or company websites.
- Employers. Sometimes employers offer scholarships to their employees, or employee’s children. Students should check with their employer, as well as their parent’s employer for scholarship opportunities.
- Organization affiliations. Organizations in which students or their parents have affiliations may give scholarships. Some of these scholarships are specially open to members or persons affiliated with the organization, or may give preference to affiliated individuals. Examples could be banks, churches, or student organizations.
- Scholarship search sites. There are some great scholarship search sites available that allow students to create profiles with their information. Once the students provide their information, the scholarship search site will create a list of scholarships that they meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, the sites will notify the students every time a scholarship is added to their database in which the student may meet the eligibility requirements. Some great scholarship sites to consider are Fastweb, Cappex, and Unigo. Sometimes one of the sites will know about a scholarship the others sites do not. Therefore, to ensure students find out about the most scholarship, they may want to consider creating profiles with each scholarship site.
- Federal and state agencies. The federal government and state governments give a lot of free money away to help students pay for college. Therefore, students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in the spring before they attend college, and every year they are attending college. As students are researching colleges, they should learn more about the FAFSA and the eligibility requirements for the free money available, such as the Pell Grant. No matter where students are in the college search process, they can visit the FAFSA4caster website to get an estimate of the amount of aid they may receive from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Colleges and universities. Many institutions of higher learning provide scholarships and grants to students. While it is not guaranteed students will gain admission to these colleges, students can estimate how much financial aid they would receive from the institution if admitted. All students or parents need to do is go to each individual college website the student is considering and find the net price calculator. After submitting some quick information such as GPA, test scores, and income information, the net price calculator will give an estimate of the financial aid the student would receive if they were to attend the institution.
- College financial aid offices. Some financial aid offices will advertise outside scholarship to students. Some of the scholarships will be the well known colleges, while others will be local scholarships open to current students. It is well worth it was current college students to check with the financial aid offices at their colleges. However, it may also be worth it for prospective students to check the financial aid websites because there may be some scholarships for them as well.
Many students and parents wait until their senior year to start looking for scholarship. However, there are scholarships available for younger students. Therefore, as students discover their desire to attend college, they should start searching for scholarship. In addition, it is never too late to look for scholarship. Even after students enroll in college, they should continue looking for scholarships to help them pay for college. Scholarships are out there; check out these nine places where students may find free money for college that they will not have to pay back.