How To Get the Most out of all Education Funding Options

If you want to go to college, but don't have the money for it, don't fret - there are numerous ways to fund your education. What's important is to know where to look and how to get your hands on those funds.

The simplest and most direct place to look is the First National Bank of Your Parents. If you've got parents who are willing to shell out for your college education, congratulations! You haven't got a thing to worry about. Wise parents will have started a college fund for you early in your life, or purchased an educational plan from insurance companies.

If your parents can't afford your tuition, though, look to your other relatives. You might have some grandparents who want nothing more than to see their grandchild earn a degree, and if that means they'll have to fund your schooling, then so be it. Just remember to be gracious whenever asking for financial help, and if you do get it, make sure you get a good job in school.

You could, of course, try to put yourself through college, but that's a difficult task. A part-time job that will make space for your school life just won't pay enough for your tuition without a little external help. If you plan on taking some time off to save up for college, make sure that you adjust your plan for inflation - tuition fees tend to rise over the years. You can try to put your career on the fast track to get the money for college sooner, but it's best to play things safe and ensure that when you do decide to pursue higher education, you'll have saved enough both to pay for your tuition and to live comfortably as you take your studies.

It was mentioned earlier that you won't be able to afford college on a part-time job without external help. Sometimes, that external help can come from Uncle Sam himself. The Department of Education runs a Federal Student Aid program that can qualify you for federal, state and local scholarships, loans, or grants. All you have to do is file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on or before predetermined deadlines. The FAFSA's official website will guide you through the entire process as you apply online.

You can also inquire about scholarship programs offered by the universities you're interested in. Most of them are merit-based (i.e. you need good grades), unless you're opting for specialized programs such as athletic scholarships.

Finally, you can consider taking out a student loan. Unlike the other options that basically mean "free money", you're going to eventually have to pay the loan back. Thankfully, interest rates on student loans tend to be lower than regular loans. 

You can make the most out of these options for funding by trying to get a combination of them. If your federal aid isn't enough to completely pay for your tuition, you can ask whether or not a university program can cover the difference. Good luck, and may your college education be a cheap one!


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