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Free Money for College.
Free Grants. Free Scholarships,Free Financial Aid. Student Loans for College.

College education is going to be expensive. Where will the money come from? You can get money for your education from many sources. Some college money is free, some requires your services, and some money must be paid back. The sources of free money for college are grants, scholarships, and financial aid.

Free Money for College ~ College Financial Aid

Financial Aid for college refers to money from the federal government, state government and the college you attend. It includes grants, student loans and work-study programs and scholarships. Grants and scholarships are most desirable because they donít have to be repaid. Your college financial aid director can be helpful in arranging all student financial aid.

Free Money for College ~ Free Application for Federal Student Aid

To qualify for college financial aid, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA. Some private colleges may require the CSS/PROFILE form instead. The FAFSA is due as soon after January1 of your senior year in high school. If you are in college and receiving financial aid, you must submit the FAFSA each year to continue receiving financial aid. In order to complete the FAFSA youíll need information from your income tax return for the past year. Since you probably havenít prepared the tax return by January 1, the first step is to prepare your income tax return, well ahead of the usual April 15 deadline.

Grants are Free Money for College

A grant is free money for college with no strings attached. You never have to repay the grant money. Grants are almost always awarded to students with demonstrated financial need. The largest grant program, the Pell Grant, is funded by the federal government. Your state government and your college may also have grant programs.

Free Money for College ~ Student Loans for College

Student loans are money you borrow for college. After you graduate from college or leave school, you must repay the loan, plus interest. The interest rate on a student loan is lower than you can get on a bank loan or a credit card loan. Some student loans are based on financial need. The Subsidized Stafford Loan is offered to students on the basis of financial need. The advantage of the Subsidized Stafford Loan is that the government will pay the interest while you are in college. After you graduate or leave college, you will be repay the loan with interest. You will make monthly payments to repay the loan and the interest.

If you donít qualify for the Subsidized Stafford Loan, consider next the unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Although you can arrange a Stafford Loan through thousands of lenders, the government sets the interest rate and repayment standards. The PLUS loan is a low-interest loan your parents can make to pay for your college.

Work Study Programs Provide Money for College

College Work-Study programs offer money in exchange for your work at a job on campus. The Work-Study program is financed by the federal government and is based on your financial need. The jobs available are usually service work, for example, in the library or cafeteria. The Work-Study program may not pay as well as a part-time job in the private sector and it will take away from the time you can spend on your studies.

Intern Programs Provide Money for College

Some businesses offer paid intern work programs for college students. The government may partially reimburse your employer for your pay. These jobs offer excellent on-the-job training and above average pay rate. The intern program may pave the way to a full-time position at the same company after you graduate. The money you earn is free, in that you don't have to repay it.

Co-op Programs Provide Money for College

Some colleges have established a work co-op program for students. A co-op program is a five-year college program. The student alternates three months of classroom study with three months of paid employment. Employers want to hire co-op students so that they can identify future full-time employees. This co-op opportunity is often available for engineering students, as well as others. Ask your college advisor if a co-op program exists at the college. The money you earn is free to use as you see fit.

Scholarships Are Free Money for College

Scholarships are the bonanza for a college student. They give you free money for college expenses without any strings attached. Scholarship money is available to everyone, regardless of parentsí income, rich and poor, and it doesnít have to be repaid. Scholarships are not just for the ďstraight AĒ student. You can win many scholarships even if your grades are only average.

Free college scholarships are offered by many organizations, like schools, colleges, churches, state and local governments and companies. Civic organizations, political, service and athletic organizations around the country also offer free scholarships. The purpose of these scholarships is to encourage young students and to promote the goals of the organization. It is worthwhile to search out a scholarship that fits your particular skills, talents, achievements, goals and background. You can apply for and receive more than one scholarship at a time; in fact, the more scholarships you receive, the better. Some of these scholarships may be renewable, year after year, as long as you keep your grades up.

Some organizations award free scholarships on the basis of financial need, but most scholarships are consider the merits of the student. They are awarded on the basis of your skills, talents or accomplishments. Youíll find scholarships that are available to students of Native Indian parentage, skateboard enthusiasts, or women engineering students, as well as thousands of other categories.

To win free scholarship money for college, you are required to complete the scholarship application, write an essay and, sometimes, interview in person. You have an excellent chance of winning if you can show that you fit the mission and purpose of the scholarship. This application process is time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort.

How to Find Free Scholarship Money for College

First, create a list of all the college scholarships for which you might be eligible. There are many Scholarship Directories which provide the information you need. Also seek out local scholarship awards given in your community. The goal is to compile as large a list as possible. Donít overlook the small $1,000 scholarship. There will be less competition for small, local scholarships, so you have a better chance of winning them. The time spent on the application is minimal, compared to the value of the free money that's awarded.

Check with your high school counselor and your college financial aid office for a list of local scholarship opportunities. Your own high school may have scholarships awarded by the parent-teacher organization, alumni groups and athletic booster clubs.

Some scholarships require nomination; that is, a person must recommend you for the award. Ask your high school counselor about these, too. Your school web site might have a list of available scholarships, and it wonít hurt to check the web sites of other schools in your town. You can also ask about scholarship possibilities at the other local college in the area. If you are a member of a student organization, like band, newspaper, academic club, athletic organization, fraternity, sorority or service organization, ask the faculty advisor about possible scholarship funds targeted for these interests. If you are a member of a national organization, visit its web site for free scholarship information.

There are many sources for scholarships that you donít usually hear about. Public service organizations and civic groups, like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Elks, Club, FOE, Kiwanis, Rotary, Jaycees, and many more, offer scholarships even though youíre not a member. Ask the reference librarian at the public library for help. Businesses, both local and national, offer free scholarships. Your Chamber of Commerce has a list of all businesses in your town. Visit the web site or call the public relations office of these companies. Donít forget the business where youíve worked or the company that employs your parents. Ask your parents to check with the human resources department at their places of business. If your parents or grandparents served in the U.S. Armed Forces, you may qualify for a free scholarship from their branch of the service. Unions often offer scholarships to members and children of their members. Donít forget your local church or religious organization, your local government and your local newspaper.

The process of locating and applying for free money for college, the free scholarships, free grants, financial aid and student loans, requires considerable dedication and effort. Look at the college grant and scholarship search as your first, and most important, college assignment. It might help you stay motivated if you work with a buddy as a team.

I hope life brings you much success. I wish you a very happy day.
-----     Surfer Sam  

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