I need suggestions for how to pay for college.
Ann from Houston, Tx
Are you a high school student, or a bit (or a lot) older? If you are still in high school, the guidance counselor should be able to offer you lots of ideas.
If you have a specific college in mind, go to their admissions office (you should probably call for an appointment) and ask them. They can probably help more than any of us on here can. There are a lot of aid programs around, aimed at students of various ages.
If you don't have a specific school in mind, I might suggest going to the admissions office at the community college and talk to them. Community colleges are usually much less expensive, and even if it does not offer four-year degrees, most of the time, the credits you earn there are transferrable to four-year colleges. (I would expect in Harris County that you can get a four-year degree at the community college.)
There in TX, be sure to look into the state schools! If you have been a resident of the state for at least 2 years (at least it used to be 2 years), the fees may be more reasonable than you expect.
If you have a specific major in mind, there may also be a way to link a job and tuition assistance (for instance, if you work as a nurse's aid, you may be able to get tuition assistance from your employer if you will contract to work there for a certain amount of time after you get your nursing degree.)
If you are affiliated with a house of worship, speak to the pastor/rabbi/minister. Sometimes there are denominational scholarships.
Google "college aid" and so on; but DO NOT pay anyone to find you aid. There are a lot of people out there who would be happy to charge you money to do a simple computer search that you could do yourself, or to send you information that you could pick up for free at the college guidance office. Also, if you find information on line about scholarships/grants/other aid; run them by the people at the college before you waste any time (and possibly money) to submit them.
If you want to go to college, it IS possible! Explore every avenue, and don't be hesitant to let the college aid people earn their salaries!
Go to fafsa.ed.gov free application for federal student aid, any age can apply. Apply ASAP the money goes fast. Also, check fastweb.com it has over 1.3 million college scholarships, many people dont apply for scholarships and the money just sits there. It has scholarships for everything and its a illegit site.
Upromise.org I believe it is? great site on paying for college. Also call Focus on the Family, they have excellent help.
All college students are eligible for Stafford loans which start at $3500 in freshman year and increase each year thereafter. Go to a website called aessuccess.org for more information. Here you can fill out a financial statement called a FAFSA (which most colleges require) to get an idea of where you stand financially.
Don't apply just to state schools. Many private colleges offer enough in the way of scholarships and financial aid to make their costs comparable.
If you have lots of time, you can apply for scholarships locally and nationally, but they are long shots and very often only a few hundred dollars.
When you are accepted, don't be afraid to ask the college for more aid than they offer at first. You can write an appeal letter asking for more. We did that for my daughter and they added another scholarship.
If you have good grades, look around your community for scholarship grants or contests from community groups....this is at its best if you think you know what you want to do (history club, business, Chamber of Commerce). The amounts may not be large, and you may have to write an essay, but think of it as putting your persuasive foot forward and that small amounts (200-400 or more) pay for books and that's money you won't have to find elsewhere. Also, it looks very good on your future resume.
I goofed....the Stafford Loans were raised to an initial level of $4500 for freshmen this year, increasing to $5500 and $6500.
Also, they don't have to be repaid until after you graduate.
Get a job and apply for loans. See if a credit union can help you get a loan for college.
When my kids were in college, they both worked and went to school. My son just finished paying off his student loan.
Dont go to the cheapest school you can find! Apply to go to an expensive college or universtiy. Larger schools and ivy league colleges have big endowments and more schollarship money to give out. So you will stand a chance to get a big scholarship from them if you have lower income. This is a big mistake many students make. They apply to lesser schools in the hope of getting a cheaper education. This hint was given to me by a teacher and it worked for both of my kids.
Best of luck.
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