Frequently Asked Questions About Paying for College
If you think you won't have the money to go to college, think again. With financial aid and some smart planning now, you could be on your way to continuing your education beyond high school. Begin by talking with your parent(s) or guardian, teachers, and school counselor. They are in the best position to help you get ready for college. Then, read on for answers to some common questions asked by other students your age.
How can I afford to go to college?
There is money, called financial aid, to help you pay for college. Financial aid can come from different places: the Federal Government, the State where you live, colleges, educational associations, and banks. Your chances of getting financial aid are as good as anyone else's. All you have to do is plan ahead and apply for it.
Probably, since most financial aid is based on need, not grades. You and your family have to show you need help paying for college.
There are three basic types of financial aid: grants, work-study, and loans. Grants are like gifts because you don't have to pay them back. Some grants, called scholarships, are based on grades, athletic skill, and other abilities. Work-study is a part-time job, usually on campus, that helps you earn money to pay for your college expenses. Loans must be paid back after you leave college. Most students get a "package" mixing all three types of financial aid.
Financial aid can help you afford even the most expensive college. That's because aid is based on the difference between what a college costs and what the federal or college formula used to determine aid says a family can pay. So, you could be eligible for more aid at an expensive college, while the amount of money you pay should stay the same.
You apply for grants from the Federal Government, the State where you live, and the college you are going to attend. Apply for workstudy from the college you are going to attend. Apply for loans from banks and educational organizations.
It depends. Expensive colleges often have more financial aid to help families bridge the gap between the costs and what families can afford to pay. So, try to match your interests with the programs the college offers -- then see if it is affordable.
More than half the students attending college get some financial aid. Most families pay for college with savings, current income, and loans.
You're not alone -- many students put themselves through college. The earlier you start saving money for college, the more likely you'll be to actually go to college. Sometimes students get enough financial aid to pay their tuition but can't afford to buy books and supplies. That's when a savings account comes in handy. Start now by putting a little money away each week. The truth is, every dollar really counts.
You apply for financial aid during your senior year in high school. However, you should not wait until your junior or senior year to learn the process or what specific college application deadlines are.
I don't want to go to college. I want to go to a trade school. Can I get financial aid to help me pay for it?
Yes. You can get financial aid to pay for many trade and technical schools. Check with your school counselor or directly with the school or program that interests you.
Most do. You should check with each college you are interested in to see what help is available. However, if you are eligible for financial aid from the Federal Government, your State, or other scholarships you might receive, you can use this money at most colleges and trade schools.
The costs of colleges and trade or technical schools vary widely. It can cost as little as $200 or as much as $28,000 per year.
Begin by talking to your school counselor, your teachers, people in your church and community, or kids from the local high school who may have gone to college. They are in the best position to give you advice and help you plan for college.
Developed by the COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP SERVICE (CSS) - EARLY AWARENESS INITIATIVE copyright 1994 by College Entrance Examination Board
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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