You’ve heard experts say over and over again that a college education is necessary to survive in today’s highly competitive world, but how can you obtain this education with such an astronomical price? College may be expensive, but there are a variety of avenues that you can rely on to provide the funds for your degree:
Federal Pell Grant
If your income level qualifies, you may be eligible to receive a federal Pell grant. The maximum award for this grant is valued at $5,550, a chunk of change that goes directly to your education via the U.S. Department of Education, and doesn’t require any repayment. You must reapply for this award every year, and you cannot receive more than one award each year.
In addition to the Pell grant, other campus-based grants can be given to a student through the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program. The specific college or university you attend is responsible for distributing these FSEOGs, and as such, allots their worth. The grants are intended for the neediest of college-bound students, determined by a financial aid application, and the maximum amount for these grants is currently $4,000.
Scholarships provide free money to a student, much like a grant, but the plethora of scholarships available is simply astounding. Scholarships can be awarded for outstanding academic, athletic or artistic achievement from the school you plan to attend, or a private foundation or company, and can range from $500 awards to 100% of your college expenses paid. Students can search for scholarships that match their credentials, through a variety of online databases such as CollegeBoard, Peterson’s, The Princeton Review, FinAid, and Fastweb. In addition to private and university scholarships, students may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship by scoring high enough on the PSAT test, administered in their junior year of high school.
Student loans are also a resource that students can use to pay for college, but should be considered as a last resort because you do have to pay them back, with interest. Students can apply for such options as the federal Stafford loan, university-administered Perkins loan, or the PLUS loan, made out directly to the parents of the student to pay for their education. These loans were created to make an impossible dream become a reality; however, be sure you understand all of the parameters of the loan and recognize that you must pay it back when you graduate from college.
The necessity of college is clear, but the means by which to pay for it does not always come so easily. Grants and scholarships lessen the blow for students without requiring any repayment, while student loans also provide a last resort for students with no other way to pay for school. The opportunities are out there, it is just up to you to put together an impressive resume, and apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible.
How DuGood Can Help
If you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re headed to college and might need some extra cash. Although we can’t fully fund your college journey, we’d like to help. We’re giving away several $500 scholarships to students and young professionals throughout Southeast Texas. Be sure to get your name in the running by April 15!