Ten Ways To Pay For College Right Now

Sometimes, the hardest part is simply knowing where to begin. Here are some tips:

1) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify.

2) Apply for national grants. Options include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants.

3) Apply for local scholarships. Civic organizations and religious institutions often have meaningful amounts of aid to dole out.

4) Getting into more than one school translates to a higher likelihood of receiving a big financial aid package.

5) Bargain! Even schools that only provide need-based aid sometimes come up with drastically different offers.

6)  AmeriCorps, Peace Corp, National Health Services Corps and ROTC programs offer college money in exchange for a service commitment.

7) Look abroad. At Scotland’s St. Andrews, U.S. students pay only $21,650.

8) Stay home. Starting out at a low-cost community college and transferring to a four-year college for the final two years will wipe away a hefty chunk of room and board costs, as well as some tuition.

9)  The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two excellent options.

10)  Don’t forget to consult your local expert – guidance counselors are often aware of options you may not have considered; best of all, their help is free.

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anonymous asked:

My parents refuse to fill out my FAFSA form. Does this mean I can't get financial help from it?? I'm freaking out about affording college and I feel like I should just give up on going and just work instead. Is college needed to survive? What jobs can I get without it?? Sorry for so many questions, I just have nobody to ask.

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  • Will: What video games do you like?
  • Nico: I like that one racing game, FAFSA or whatever
  • Will: You mean Forza???
  • Nico: Yeah. What was I saying???
  • Will: FAFSA. Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Nico: Oh, I guess I like that too then

“Compared to a high school diploma, just getting a degree from a two-year school, going to a community college and getting an associate’s degree could earn you more than $300,000 over the course of your lifetime. And a four-year degree earns you a million dollars more than if you just had a high school degree. Think about that. A million dollars—that’s real money. So one of the things that we’re trying to do is to make it easier for you to access free money for college—to figure out how you can pay for your college without having a mountain of debt. And the key thing…is to fill out your FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid…What the FAFSA does is it puts you in the running for scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs, all to help you pay for college. And we’ve made it simpler than ever. And it’s available right now at FAFSA.gov.” —President Obama speaking today on ensuring every student has the opportunity to realize their potential.

There is big news today for prospective college students and their parents. It comes from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is in Iowa with President Obama for his annual Back to School Bus Tour.

“Today, we’re lending a hand to millions of high school students who want to go to college and who’ve worked hard,” Duncan said. “We’re announcing an easier, earlier FAFSA.”

That’s the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. With more than 100 questions, it’s a gatekeeper for students hoping to get help paying for college.

“It’s really a win-win for everybody,” says Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “Ultimately, this is gonna mean less work for [students] and less work for schools.”

Obama Makes College Aid Application Earlier And Easier

Credit: LA Johnson/NPR