Paying for College
It’s never too early to begin thinking about ways to fund the college dream. There are many ways to fund college tuition. One of the most important things is to look at all alternatives for additional financial sources when it comes paying for college.
Federal Student Aid - FAFSA
FAFSA (Federal Student Aid) is the largest source of financial aid, providing $150 billion to more than 13 million students each year. Federal and state grants represent the largest sources of aid for students. Students must submit a FAFSA application to receive consideration. FAFSA money comes in the form of grants, loans, and work-study funds and applications must be submitted for each year that a student plans to attend college.
The federal deadline to file for 2015–2016 aid is June 30, 2016. State aid deadlines vary. In some cases, early applicants are eligible for more money.
Grants are generally awarded on the basis of financial need, and don’t have to be repaid. Common grants include:
- Institutional—from your college when federal and state dollars are not enough
- Federal Pell Grants—the largest grant program, based solely on need; can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand
- Federal Supplement Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)—for neediest students (up to $4,000)
- Federal TEACH Grants—for teachers in a high-need field. Recipients must agree to contract and service commitments
- Subject-Specific Grants—in addition to teaching, some state governments and professional associations provide money for those pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and healthcare degrees
- Fellowships—often based on undergraduate academic achievement and may include funds for research and living expenses
Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid. They are generally based on academics, athletic skills or special talents.