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Ways to Pay for College

College Loans and Grants

Making your way through the seas of information about paying for colleges may make your head swim. Finding financing for college may not be that much of a challenge. A good place to start is to know the different types of financial aid that is available.

The best types of financial aid are those awards that do not have to be paid back. There are two different types to know: grants and scholarships. Both of these financial awards do not have to be paid back. Grants can be offered from a community or college as well as the federal government. The most popular is the Federal Pell Grant, which is based on financial need. These monies can be used for tuitions, room and board, books and other expenses associated with college.

Scholarships are another type of award. These are offered through a variety of organizations and schools. Scholarships can be awarded on a number of different criteria based on academic achievement, athleticism, music involvements, or from groups. Sometimes scholarships will come with requirements about what the money is used for. Look for local scholarships and then seek out national level scholarships. Another good place to start is with your school of choice's financial aid office.

Student loans are the next most popular form of financial aid, but are less desirable than grants and scholarships as student loans need to be paid back. The good news is that student loan debt is considered a good debt and can be used to build your credit rating.

These students come in two forms, subsidized or unsubsidized. The interest on subsidized loans is paid by the government when you're still in school while the interest on unsubsidized loans is paid by the student from the start. All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see about eligibility for grants and loans.

Finally, most colleges and universities offer work-study programs. These programs are designed to help students pay for school through work on the campus. Depending on the situation, some schools offer to pay some tuition or fees if the student works as part of a college program. One plus of work-study is that often the jobs can be in the student's area of study. This gives the student experience in their field before entering the work force.

It is no secret that it is becoming harder for students to pay for college. With rising costs and more students seeking aid it has become trickier for new students entering college. Some students delay college in order to save money for the cost of college. Others work full time while taking classes part time. Whatever you choose, finding the right balance is key.

Taking steps early to save money for college is a good way to get a start on the costs of college. Do your research and apply for a number of scholarships. Planning ahead is a good way to prepare for your college costs. It is not impossible to get out of college with little or even no debt, it does take some commitment and planning.

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