The best things in life are free. That includes free money for school in the form of college scholarships and grants. Anything you don’t have to pay back should be at the top of your list. The number of available scholarships is mind-blowing, but they all require time and attention to get them. This is when you sit down your son or daughter and explain that you’re sending them on a mission to find scholarship money.
It’s not all based on grades anymore, although good grades can help. Financial need is another important factor in eligibility. Students who have already chosen a field of study can look at major or career-related opportunities. Sports scholarship awards are a possibility. Another option is your child’s ethnic background. Money is available not only for minority scholarships, but also for students with a specific heritage. Social organizations and religious affiliations are other sources of scholarship money. It’s worth the time and effort to check out any that fit the eligibility mold and apply for as many as possible.
There are different types of student loans, the most common ones are from the federal government and those from private lenders. The interest rates are lower than what you’ll find for standard personal loans, but they do have to be paid back. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to student loans are that the amount of interest can be affected by who the borrower is, when the payments start and whether the payments are made on time and in full. A parent co-signer on a student’s loan can lower the interest rate. Students making interest payments will wind up paying less.
If you started a college savings fund early on, there is probably some money for school available. Invite your child to contribute early and often. There are some banks that earmark a minor’s savings account differently so that there is no minimum balance requirement, although the child may not be allowed to withdraw the money without a parent or guardian’s permission. Another option is to set up a 529 savings plan. There are both state and federal plans available. For most state plans, you don’t have to be a resident and the student doesn’t have to go to school in that state in order to qualify.
When it comes to paying for college, it’s always important to have your rising college student fill out the financial aid forms and other paperwork that will get their foot in the door. When you use a combination of different types of funding and have a plan on how to put it all together, even the most expensive college education can be attainable.
Nicole is an independent writer for CollegeAnswer.com. College Answer offers information on saving, planning and paying for college
Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..