Paying for College?

Paying for college can be the hardest part of getting an education. This is why there are many programs available to help you afford your schooling. When looking to pay for college, you should consider grants, scholarships, work study and loans.

GRANTS

A grant is money that you will not have to pay back. Unlike loans, grants are free money that can be used to pay for school. Grants usually come from the state, government or the college you are attending. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a great starting point if you are in need of financial aid for college. Note: Completing the FAFSA is free. Be cautious of any company or website charging a fee for completing your FAFSA.

For more information on grants, visit the following websites:

CALIFORNIA GRANTS AND OTHER FINANCIAL AID

FEDERAL PELL GRANTS AND OTHER FINANCIAL AID

SCHOLARSHIPS

A scholarship is like a grant because you do not have to pay it back. Scholarships are different from grants because students usually get them because of something special about them. Students get scholarships for reasons such as having good grades, doing well in sports, providing community service, etc.

Most colleges have lists of scholarships available for students. Some employers, professional organizations and church groups have scholarships available as well. Contact your collegeís financial aid office or any other organization you are a part of to learn about scholarships you may qualify for.

For more information on scholarships, visit the following websites:

WORK STUDY

Work study programs allow students to work in part-time jobs to earn money for college. Work study is different than having just any job because work study programs help students gain experience related to the program they study in school. If youíre interested in work-study, contact the school you are interested in attending or visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/work-study for information about Federal Work Study programs.

LOANS

A loan is money you borrow from a lender. Loans can come from public lenders such as the Department of Education or private lending companies (e.g. banks, credit unions, etc.).

There is a lot to consider when applying for loans such as interest rates, grace periods, loans fees, repayment plans, etc. Finaid.org is a great resource if you are considering taking out loans for college. It even has calculators to help you determine how much you can afford to repay. To apply for loans, start with Federal Student Aid, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Taking out loans should be the final option students consider when paying for college.

To help calculate how much in loans you can afford to repay, visit the following websites:

MORE HELPFUL LINKS

FAFSA4caster is a calculator that estimates how much aid you may be eligible to receive from the Department of Education.

To learn more about financial aid programs for military personnel, visit the following websites:

Some people try to cheat others out of their scholarship or student aid money. Donít be a victim. The Federal Trade Commission has advice for students. Learn how to avoid scams at the following websites: