Grants and scholarships can reduce a college-bound student’s financial needs significantly. Even with savings and other sources, the cost of one year of college can cost more than $20,000 or $30,000.
A tremendous financial burden can be lifted off a student’s shoulders with a grant or scholarship, which does not have to be repaid, unlike student loans. The key is finding out where to find this "free" money. These rewards are available to students with financial needs or those with high achievements.
Here are the six best sources for grants and scholarships:
1. Search online — There are a ton of websites out there that provide hundreds of scholarship leads, like Fastweb.com, College Board, Scholarships.com, and ScholarshipExperts.com, according to Bart Astor, author of "Graduate From College Debt-Free." The number of scholarship match-ups increases with the more information a student provides on a website profile.
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2. Schools — High school is often a student’s first place to find free money for college, U.S. News points out. Guidance counselors, teachers, and school administrators can help students with information on potential grants and scholarships. Just checking the bulletin boards in offices and different classrooms or finding fliers and posters in the hallway can help one find material on financial aid.
3. Organizations — These can be community or religious organizations, civic groups, foundations, ethnicity-based groups, or professional associations related to the career a student has in mind, notes Federal Student Aid. Local organizations such as the 4-H Club and the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts can also provide information on scholarships and grants.
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4. Local libraries — Librarians and other employees at a public library are happy to tell students where they can look for valuable leads. Many libraries have computers to connect students with internet options, especially when they explain what type of scholarship or grant they are interested in.
5. Employers — It could be a company where a student currently works. Some businesses award scholarships to certain employees. Family members, relatives, and friends may also work at a business or company that has scholarship resources.
6. Federal, state, and private sector grants — Federal grants include the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, according to CollegeScholarships.org. State grants are offered through each state’s Department of Higher Education. Check with high school or college administrators. Corporations, professional associations, community and religious organizations, and clubs also sometimes offer non-government grants.
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