Going to college or university is a first step towards a brilliant career. It is also the time when you encounter the
first major financial issue in your life. The purpose of this article is to provide you with six useful tips on getting your
college bills paid.
1. Scholarship or fellowship
Scholarships and fellowships are, probably, the most desired forms of payment assistance for students all over the world.
This type of assistance is not required to be repaid, which is a huge advantage over other means of funding (such as loans).
Certain scholarships may only be available for applicants with special scientific, artistic, or athletic talents or serious
financial needs (applicants from politically instable regions). Your school counselor may be able to provide you with advice
about finding a scholarship and applying for it. Also, there are numerous online databases of scholarship offers available for public browsing.
A grant is a form of financial aid that may seem similar to scholarship, but it surely isn’t. While a scholarship is awarded
for your current achievements, getting a grant involves a distinct proposal of a future project (thesis, dissertation, or
any form of research).
A grant may be given to you after a potential sponsor (government, school, or any third party) has reviewed your
proposal. Therefore, to get a grant you definitely have to “make an offer they can’t refuse”.
Educational loans are less difficult to get than scholarships and grants, but their main drawback is obvious – they have to be paid back. First, you should try applying for federal loan. Stafford federal loans have low fixed interest rates and may be subsidized, meaning that you won’t have to worry about paying interest rate.
Perkins federal loans are awarded to those with exceptional financial need; they also have low interest rates and their
grace period is longer. You may also apply for a loan from your state government – consult you local authorities about
eligibility requirements for state loan.
Private loans (given by banks) may be the solution for those who can’t qualify for any form of government aid. The drawbacks being interest rates are higher than that of federal loans, and banks typically don’t offer grace period.
Student loan consolidation is very useful in case if you need to repay several loans simultaneously. Your several loans are
replaced with one loan and a longer repayment period, which makes monthly payments much more affordable.
Consolidation is available for federal loans, but there are some lenders who provide private loan consolidation as well.
4. Get a job in college
Many colleges and univ ersities offer work-and-study programs. Basically, it means that you get your studies paid by part-time work for the benefit of the college. It may be a job on campus, or a position as a laboratory assistant.
5. Community service program
There are non-profit organizations that offer money awards to volunteers. For example, by working for AmeriCorps for about a year you become eligible for educational award. Community service typically involves working in public security, public health, education and environmental protection.
6. Join the army
Military forces can also provide educational funding. In exchange, you will be required to serve military duty in one of
the following ways: going to college first, then the army; attending the army first, then college; or serving in military
reserve by simultaneous studies and part-time military training.
Alternatively, you may compete for Congressional appoint ment to a military academy (West Point, Marines academy in Annapolis, and others). If you succeed, federal government will pay for your studies.
You don’t have to be rich to afford college. Consider the various funding options carefully and you are a step closer to
achieving your education dreams.
About the author:
Author: Alvin Toh
Article:Copyright 2006 Alvin Toh
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