June 03, 2022
College is expensive for many people. The average tuition and fees at a college or university for the 2019 to 2020 academic year at a four-year institution was $9,4001. This may include the cost of tuition, books, and housing. For some students, the investment is worthwhile as it may open the door for many types of employment. For freshmen just entering the college world, there are a number of financial aid resources that may help to cover the cost of a college degree for those who qualify for them.
Grants are a type of financial aid that do not need to be repaid as long as you fulfill the obligations of the grant. Some grants are available for students on any type of degree path. These include Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. There are also grants specifically for those going into the educational field.1
Scholarships are available from a wide variety of sources. Scholarships may be available to students who apply for them and finish the requirements set forth in the application. Most offer awards to a limited number of students. That introduces some competition to get these funds. Scholarships do not require repayment as long as the requirements are met. Requirements may include a certain GPA level or a specific number of classes to be enrolled in during each semester.2
You may also be able to find some financial aid options directly from the school you plan to attend. Many offer their own scholarships, and many provide work-study programs to help you pay the cost of tuition. Contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to learn more about the financial aid opportunities you may qualify for.1
Freshmen who have served in the military or are dependents of a service person or veteran may qualify for special grants and scholarships. When applying to a school, be sure to let them know that you have served or are dependent of someone who served so that they can discuss the financial aid options available to you. You may also try to contact your military benefits coordinator to find out more information.2
One of the most important things to do when seeking financial aid for your freshman year is to complete your FAFSA form online. FAFSA is the Free Application for Student Aid, which helps determine how much aid you may qualify for. Once you complete your FAFSA form online, it is sent to your desired schools. You are notified of grant money, scholarships, and low-cost loans you qualify for at that point. These funds are typically used for tuition, books, and room and board.3
Finding funds for college may not be as difficult as it seems. Online applications for scholarships and grants make it possible to research and find options rather quickly, and the application process may be direct.
2Types of Financial Aid, Federal Student Aid, https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types
3101 Essential Resources And Tips For College Freshmen, The College Investor, https://thecollegeinvestor.com/8677/101-essential-resources-college-freshman/
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