Now that the economy is beginning its long trudge back to health, more students than ever know that a college education may be an important tool for getting and keeping a job when times are bad. Whether a student is fresh out of high school, or returning to school after several years at work, education and training is becoming more important than ever. With millions of people out of work across the nation, employers have more choices than ever when it comes to hiring.
People who want to get hired need to have a good educational background, and good training for vocational or technical jobs. The problem is how to pay for it. Most people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around in their bank accounts to pay for school. The best way to pay for college is to get someone else to pay for it. Now, it’s possible to do just that.
Aspiring students can apply for many different types of financial assistance to help finance their schooling. While many students will opt for a student loan, there is also the option of free money in the form of grants and scholarships for students who are willing to put the legwork in. Scholarships and grants may be the best way to fund your education because they don’t ever have to be repaid.
A grant is a form of funding that is usually provided to students through a variety of mediums. For example, there are a number of government grants available that are very popular with students. The Pell Grant is the most common government grant, and can fund up to $5,550 in educational assistance for each award to students who qualify.
The Pell Grant is what is called a need-based grant. That means that it is awarded based on financial need. Most government grants are awarded based on a student’s particular need for financial aid. Once a student is qualified to receive a Pell Grant, they may find that they are qualified to receive other types of government funds, depending on their particular financial situation.
There are numerous grants from the government available from a wide number of government agencies, including the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and even the FBI. Most of these grants are targeted to students who will be studying a specific field of study that is related to that particular agency. Many states also have grant money available for their residents; each state has a different program, so checking with your the financial aid office or the state department of education may be a good place to start.
Scholarships are also a good way to finance an education. There are probably more scholarships available to students than grants, because there are many scholarships that are funded through private foundations and corporate entities. Usually, these scholarships are targeted to specific sets of students. For example, students who are interested in engineering may find that there are numerous scholarships available from various professional engineering societies, as well as corporations that need to hire engineers who have a specific skill set.
Whether you choose to fund your education with a grant or a scholarship, you will want to start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may find that you are qualified for more money than you thought. If you already know what field of study you want to pursue, begin looking for scholarships that are related to that particular field. There are millions of dollars in unclaimed scholarship money each year because people didn’t apply. Don’t miss your chance for free funding; with a diligent effort, you may end up with a free college education.