There are several sources of financial aid available for college students. Grants and scholarships are best because the money is generally tax-free and never has to be repaid. Although this sounds promising, obtaining scholarships for college can be challenging. Prospective college students seeking scholarships should conduct research on scholarships available from local businesses, non-profit organizations and foundations, as well as options available from the U.S. government.
First and foremost, exploring your direct location and surrounding areas would be a good place to start as finding funding and aid in and around your local area is more likely than applying further away or even abroad. Local contacts, businesses, individuals and institutions will typically be your first point of call. It is easier to gain access to and the competition pool is that much smaller. So, in a sense, you are stacking the odds in your favor, making the most of what your local hometown and area has to offer.
Non-profit Organizations and Foundations
Most non-profit organizations and foundations have scholarships for prospective college students. Following are some examples of where scholarship sourcing might come from:
chamber of commerce
local chapters of professional societies
private scholarship programs
U.S. government (federal, state and local)
You may also find other sources of information on scholarships at a library, in newspapers, or even the yellow pages.
The U.S. government offers various ‘need-based’ financial aid packages and options. These funding options and awards occur mostly in the form of Federal Pell grants, Federal SEOG grants, SSIG grants, Federal Work-Study initiatives, Federal Stafford loans (in a subsidized and unsubsidized form), Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Parent (PLUS) loans. The U.S. Department of Education, as well as the formal body known as the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) funds most of these programs and initiatives. To quality for any of these options, a student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.
Other options for college education financing and funding include:
tuition waivers and scholarships
individual colleges and universities offering grants
need-based or merit-based scholarships
private alternative educational loan (which is available from most large lending institutions)
foundations and professional associations
student financial assistance subsidies
There are several sources of financial aid available for college students in the form of scholarships, grants and loans.