Every college student, or their parents, has filled out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is filled out every year online and is a simple form that determines your eligibility for the nine federal student aid programs and over six hundred state student aid programs. This sounds like a lot of student aid, but this merely scratches the surface of all the possible sources of money for school.
The first place you should go when looking for money for schooling is to head to the financial aid department at your college. Most colleges have their own scholarship or grant programs funded by alumni, particularly for disadvantaged students, but also for sports, academics and other things. In addition, your school's financial aid department will be able to direct you to local companies or community groups that offer financial aid to students.
Another stop to make within your own school is the department head of your program major. There is a very good chance that your program school (i.e., the school of sciences or school of education within your college) has its own set of scholarships. These scholarships are funded by alumni or local related companies and are specifically for students just within a specific school of study. Not only do these programs help pay for your schooling, they can also introduce you to individuals or companies in your area that can help you find a job in your chosen profession after you graduate.
Many college students have to work a side job while they are in school to help pay the bills. These jobs not only net you a paycheck, but can help pay for your school directly. Check with your employer and see if they have a tuition reimbursement program of some kind. This applies to all jobs, not just jobs related to your college program. Even retail stores often offer tuition reimbursement to their employees, hourly and salary.
The last set of people to ask if those from your hometown. Church groups, local companies and local groups such as rotary clubs are always looking to help support local youths in their education ambitions. While these are often smaller contributions, every little bit of money helps pay for your education. In addition, these groups again can lead to relationships that are more valuable than the monetary contribution itself. No matter who you are or what your qualifications, there always ways to get money for school. The only thing holding you back from finding money for school is the amount of effort you're willing to expend to get it.
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