You shouldn't automatically assume there's no financial help for you when you go off to college. Find information on aid in several areas that might not have occurred to you.
- TIP: Companies may pay your tuition bill directly, or reimburse you after seeing your grades. In some cases, pay is based on your performance.
- Step 1: Check out the library. Reference librarians will help you find relevant materials, and may have advice from having helped so many before.
- Step 2: Inquire at your church, at local foundations, or at community organizations about programs for educational assistance. It never hurts to ask.
- FACT: Of all undergraduates in 2007 to 2008, 66 percent received some type of financial aid -- on average $9,100.
- Step 3: Approach your employer for assistance. Many employers will offer tuition support through their human resources department. These employers offer the chance to integrate your formal education with career plans.
- Step 4: Talk to the financial aid administrator at the school you plan to attend about institutional aid. Institutional aid is money awarded directly to students by the school itself.
- TIP: Search free online scholarship sites using the key words "student aid" or "financial aid."
- Step 5: Seek ethnicity, merit, or need-based financial aid, generally given away by private corporations or organizations. Go after these types of aid when federal grants or special scholarships aren't available.
- Step 6: Schedule a session to get coaching from a high school counselor, who will have a large selection of materials and who can supply information on what recent graduates have received in the past.
- Step 7: Go to the official online government student aid site and obtain a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Alternatively, pick up a printed copy from a school guidance counselor. Answer questions about your dependency status and find out about deadlines.