How Can I Get Financial Aid for College?

Do you want financial aid for college? I can't blame you.

College is crazy expensive!

Tuition itself is thousands of dollars, not to mention books, student fees, living expenses, and let's not forget money to have some fun!

In this article, I am going to show you 8 different places you can get college financial aid. I am also going to tell you some ways you can get it.

The 8 Types of Financial Aid for College


As you look for financial aid for college, federal aid will surely come up. There are many financial aid options available. Some are:

  1. Pell Grants
  2. Student Loans
  3. Work Study
  4. Scholarships

1. Pell Grants

Pell grants are used to help pay tuition and are based upon how many classes you are registered for. Pell grants are also based on your personal needs. This is a type of financial aid that requires you to qualify.

2. Student Loans

Student loans are based upon needs as well. The government decides how much money you need based upon the information that you provide through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka FAFSA). Private student loans are also available if you need them.

These loans come in two forms:

  • subsidized 
  • unsubsidized

Always try and get subsidized first because interest doesn't start to accrue until after you graduate. With unsubsidized loans, interest begins to accrue as soon as the loan is dispersed. Hopefully, you will qualify for the subsidized loans, but unsubsidized loans will still work if you need them.

Just remember the difference between the two and keep in mind that if you get unsubsidized, then interest is accruing.

3. Work Study

Work study is a program that allows you to work for financial aid, so long as you qualify. I worked for the Registrar's Office on my campus using work study. This can also be a part of your FAFSA award.

Work study is a fantastic program for a few reaons:

  1. You will have a "job" on campus (this is the work you do)
  2. You will be able to learn the functions of that job and how it helps students
  3. You will be able to manage your work and school schedule
  4. You will not have to pay back this financial aid

If you don't know if you qualify for work study, then you need to go to your financial aid office. Or, you might be able to find out online through your school's website student login.

4. Scholarships


Another option for financial aid for college is scholarships. This is like a sponsorship for you to go to college, and it can range from a couple hundred dollars per semester to full ride (where everything is paid for) to anywhere in between.

An easy place to look for scholarships is at your school's financial aid office. You will most likely need to fill out a scholarship application and probably give a couple of short essays (just expect this).

Financial Aid & Social Media - IMPORTANT!

There is an increasing number of financial aid officials who are also looking at social networking sites as a part of their judgement of which students get financial aid for college.

Whether this is fair or not is out of the question. There is no determination yet as to whether this is invasion of privacy or not. Just take this as a word of caution.

Be professional in the application process and with your social networking, and you will be fine. If this means you clean up you Facebook or Myspace pages for a while, then do it!

I'm not saying that your school's financial aid officials will look at your page or even employ this practice. It is just something that I have heard of recently and want you to be aware of it.

Other Financial Aid Sources

5. Department of Your College Major

Depending on what your major is, checking with the different departments at your school (i.e. business, English, history, etc.) can be a good place to see if they have any scholarship information for students majoring in those areas.

6. Military College Aid

The military has some great options for those who are interested in a financial aid. You will be expected to give up some time each month and eventually some years of service in the military, but you will have the means to pay for school.

The military can also open some excellent avenues for good training within a particular field of interest. You will want to check with the ROTC office on your college campus or local recruiting office if you want more information.

7. At Work

Other sources to look for financial aid for college are at your current work or places throughout the community.

Many companies are using tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit because as you get better training it will in turn help them because you will be a better trained employee. Check with your HR or employee benefits department for details.

8. In the Community

Many organizations offer scholarships to students for different reasons. Finding these companies maybe as easy as asking your financial aid office for a list of sponsoring organizations or giving a quick search online.

How I Got $300 in Financial Aid Just for Checking a Box

I remember when I first went to college, on my application there was a box that asked if I wanted to be considered for financial aid.

Well, I checked it just to see what would happen.

A couple of weeks later I got a letter in the mail saying that I had been awarded $300 per semester! That might not sound like much (and it's not), but it was $300 just for checking a box! I would have never had it if I didn't try.

Keep all your options open. Remember to also keep an open ear and mind to potential opportunities to receive support financially for school.

Review the options available to you and then determine which would be best based upon your situation and circumstances.

In Conclusion

In short, financial aid for college can be a life saver (or a bank account saver)! I wouldn't be able to get the education I have without it . It is simple to apply for and there's something available for almost everyone. You just need to ask for it.

If you apply and don't get it, then don't get down on yourself. You never know what will come of those applications. At least you asked for it! Don't stop asking and don't stop looking. It will come!

So, What has Been Your Experience With Financial Aid? Did I Miss Anything? Share Your Insights & Comments Below

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