A Future Student’s Guide to Grants & Loans

In order to qualify for financial aid you need to complete a Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. It is recommended that all students apply even if they believe they won’t need the aid. You never know when you might encounter a monetary hiccup. There are various forms of financial aid each with different requirements and expectations. Whichever you choose, apply early. Some work on a first come, first serve basis.

Grants & Scholarships

Grants are given to students by federal and state governments for free. This means they do not have to be paid back. Scholarships are like grants in that they do not need to be paid back. However, scholarships do not come from the government. Instead, they come from a wide variety of sources including employers, church groups, independent organizations, high schools and even the colleges themselves. Scholarships can provide a student with any amount of money. Some offer one-time scholarships paying a few hundred dollars while others may offer a scholarship that is renewed every year for four years and can pay for some or all of a student’s college expenses. Obtaining an all-encompassing scholarship takes a great academic record, persistence with applications and some serious luck. When searching for scholarships, do not overlook yours or your parents’ places of work. Also see if there are scholarship opportunities available in the department you plan to major in.<

Loans

Student loans come from banks and like their name suggests, the money is being “loaned.” Therefore, unlike grants and scholarships, loans need to be paid back. There are three main types of student loans. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are backed by the federal government while private student loans come from third parties. Loans are fairly easy to obtain, but they are also risky. Student loans generally have a higher interest rate than most other loans because students frequently defer the loans when they cannot afford to start paying them off as soon as their contract states.

Specified Grants & Loans

Some organizations offer grants, scholarships and loans to groups of people that might find it excessively difficult to afford a college education. Many specified financial aid resources exist for minority groups, low-income families, disabled students, students from overseas who are attending school here as part of a study abroad program, and more. Another option is to join the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) which exists for nearly every branch of the American military. Students will spend most of their time on campus but also improve their strength and discipline at a military base. 

  • Stafford Loans for Students: Details on the requirements and the two types of one of the most popular student loans.
  • What is Financial Aid?: All about financial aid, the four main types, and how people are supposed to pay back their loans.
  • Boren Awards: Funding opportunities for students studying geography, foreign language or any subject relative to national security.
  • Student Aid on the Web: Get money for college by applying for loans and FAFSA.
  • What is Financial Aid: Four steps that need to be completed prior to receiving aid.
  • Federal Stafford Loans: What are these loans and how are they repaid?
  • Benefits: Use this site to figure out which government benefits you’re eligible for.
  • Pell Grants: These scholarships can cover up to $5550 in college expenses.
  • Investing in Pell Grants: The White House is working to raise the maximum amount that a Pell Grant can provide to students.
  • American Association of Community Colleges: Even if you attend community college, live at home and buy meals on a budget, the cost of tuition can be a bit much. That is why there are financial aid opportunities for community college students as well.
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid: A guide to applying for Federal Student Aid.
  • More Information on Pell Grant: Discover the specifics of this program that helps countless college students every year.
  • Federal Repayment Policy: What if you decide college is not for you and you withdraw? You may need to repay even the grants you were given. Title IV outlines this procedure.
  • Managing Student Debt: If you take out loans to pay for college you will need to pay it back after you get your degree. Living with debt can be tough but here are some tips to help you pay it off without sacrificing a reasonably comfortable life.
  • College Funding for Students with Disabilities: What Federal and State programs are available to disabled students?
  • Disabilities: Just because an individual is physically or mentally disabled does not mean they should be deprived of a higher education. This site lists scholarship, grant and loan opportunities specifically geared toward disabled Americans.
  • Grants for Individuals: This site lists dozens of scholarship opportunities strictly for ethnic minorities in the United States.
  • Grants for Minorities: Like the site above, this site features a long list of scholarship programs for African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other minority groups.
  • NROTC: Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC programs are a great way to get funding for college and to strengthen yourself in mind and body. This link will take you to the Navy ROTC program.
  • Guide to Scholarships for New Americans and Minorities: When enrolling in a college, what tests are prerequisites and how can they affect the financial aid available to you?

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