The cost of education has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, it now takes an average of $25,000 to cover the tuition and expenses for just one year at a four-year public college or university. And that’s not including living expenses! The cost is so high that some parents are choosing to go into debt themselves rather than take on more student loans with their child. But there are other options – like scholarships and grants – that can help your child pay for school without taking out student loans.
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a monetary gift given by someone other than the student or his or her family. Because the recipient doesn’t have to repay the money, it’s one of the least expensive ways for students to pay for college. Even so, there are restrictions: scholarships cannot cover the full cost of attendance and only apply to certain academic fields, such as music or art. There are more than 3.5 million scholarships nationwide. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation administers the bulk of those scholarships – about 90 percent. So what kinds of scholarships are out there? There are eight categories: academic, athletic, fine arts, citizenship, industrial/domestic science, military, special awards, and many others.
What is a grant?
A grant is money that a family receives to cover some of the costs of a child’s education. It could be a scholarship, a loan, or both. Grants are awarded to people based on their financial need. So, if a parent applies for a grant with your child’s college, you’ll need to verify that they’re in need. You’ll also need to document that your child will be going to school at the school on the grant’s list. Some of the biggest grants that money is handed out are also based on your child’s grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. Student Loans vs. Grants When students have to borrow money to go to college, they need to keep a portion of the loan payments to help them pay down their debt. But a family that takes out loans to cover tuition can’t use the grant money.
What are we going to learn?
If you and your child want to go into college for the same field of study, you’re going to want to take the classes you need together. So at the very least, you’ll need to take the two subjects that relate to your major. (If you’re both majoring in English, you’d take English 101 together. For instance.) Types of scholarships There are different types of scholarships, and some of them require very little proof of financial need. Some scholarships are for middle school and high school students and are restricted to students who have graduated from high school, while others are for adults who have a bachelor’s degree or above. The most popular scholarships, though, require high school and college transcripts and at least two years of work experience.
Where can I find scholarships and grants?
For starters, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a great resource. Here’s where you can search for scholarships and other financial aid. These are usually offered by companies and nonprofit organizations. Or you can check out an organization such as National Student Clearinghouse that provides student financial aid to people at all levels of education. The Student Loan Hero website has a scholarship database and also has a section called Credit for College. There’s also a good website to help you find financial aid: StudentAid.gov. What are scholarships? Scholarships are free money for college students. They are usually offered by nonprofit organizations, government organizations, businesses, or individuals.
The process of paying for college is far from easy, but there are strategies that can help your child achieve their educational goals without debt. Find out more about ways to help your child pay for college, like ways to pay for college that don’t include student loans, in our full article.