Raising money for college can be a huge task and responsibility. More and more parents are not able to fund their child’s education, so it is up to the students to pay their way through school. The best way to do this is to find free money in the form of scholarship and grants. When scholarships are not available to you, you can set up a payment plan or pursue low-interest federal student loans.
Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will cover any federally funded scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. This will also determine how much you are eligible to receive in federal loans if you are not able to pay all of your tuition for the year. The deadline for the FAFSA is June 30 of each year.
Contact your state board of regents to see if there is scholarship or grant money available to you. You can also do a state scholarship search through the scholarship link on the FAFSA website.
Go to the student financial aid office of the college you plan to attend to talk to a representative. Staffers can help you determine what scholarships the college offers that you may be eligible for and show you how to apply for them.
Apply for a work-study grant. Work-study grants greatly increase your chances of getting an on-campus job because your employer is given the grant money to pay you to work. It saves the employer money and allows it to hire more people. Many universities have on-campus jobs that are open only to students with work-study grants.
Search for private scholarships. You can do this through reading the local newspaper, using web search engines such as Fastweb and looking up scholarship directories available at your local library.
Contact your school’s bursar office about setting up a payment plan. After you have searched out all the scholarships and grants you are eligible for, if you still owe tuition money you can be put on a payment plan. This will allow you to get a job while going to school and make payments throughout the semester. This would also allow you to work throughout the summer and put the money toward your tuition bill to lower the monthy payments.
Get a federal student loan. If the remaining balance owed is more than you can pay on a payment plan, then you need to look into a student loan. This will allow you to stay in school, and then six to nine months after you graduate or leave college, you’ll start paying back your student loan.
Searching for grants and scholarships is an ongoing process. Because scholarships have year-round deadlines, you should keep seeking out scholarship money as long as you are in school.
College tuition is very expensive, and you should have a plan to pay for it. If the bill comes due and you haven’t made other arrangements, you will be kicked out of school.
Melanie Williamson graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She worked for four years as a college writing tutor. During that time she proofread and edited academic papers. She works as a professional freelance writer and writes for a variety of websites. In April 2011 she published her first book on resume writing.