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The Money Detective - Finding Ways to Pay for College

January 22, 2014 by Kelly Paul |
Kelly Paul

PanGoldOne of my favorite activities is to search for random bits of information. I often get calls from friends who are looking for information on various topics, many of which I’m unfamiliar with. But not knowing the topic well doesn’t stop me. I’m fearless when it comes to tracking down information. Fearless? Well, yes, because I won’t be stopped until I find it. And that’s the same characteristic that you must develop when it comes to financing/paying for college. You have to be a money detective.

You’ll hear about the FAFSA , the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You’ll definitely want to put this high on your list. Most regionally accredited institutions require the FAFSA to determine eligibility for any type of aid: scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. Completion of the FAFSA is a must. To continue receiving aid, the FAFSA must be renewed each academic year.  

So, is that it? Is this all you do? Not at all. Your search has just begun. Another resource in finding money for college is the college or university itself. Oftentimes, there are institutional scholarships. Simply put, these are scholarships specific to the school that you’re looking to attend. The scholarship criteria may be based on different factors – program of interest, county of residence, academic achievement. A good search of the school’s financial aid website should reveal scholarship opportunities.

Ok, you’ve done the FAFSA, and you’ve checked out the school’s financial aid website. That should cover it. Right? Of course not. As a money detective, you have to be fearless – not irrational – but willing to leave no stone unturned when searching for assistance in supporting your education. Remember, it’s your task to find money for college.  So, invest some time in doing additional searches through reputable sources such as:

 

fastWEB

Peterson’s CollegeQuest

CollegeNET MACH 25

College Board

Scholarship Resource Network Express

Army Health Care

 

As the saying goes, you have to “think outside of the box!”  Even after working through this list, keep going. Are you part of a special group or professional organization? Are you active military or a veteran? Do you have a special skill or talent? What is your ultimate career goal? Do you volunteer? Try listing all of your points of connection to various organizations and then research to see if they offer scholarship monies.  

And it doesn’t stop there. Share with others your search regarding paying for college. Networking with others can lead to valuable advice. All in all, it takes some time and effort, but it’s worth it!  


By: Trina Gabriel

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