Pursuing a college degree is an important first step to ensuring professional and financial success in your future. But it not only requires motivation and intelligence, it also requires funding.
According to the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Education and Labor, there have been dramatic increases in college tuition costs over the past five years. Tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities have risen 41 percent - after inflation - since 2001. (1)
That statistic is not meant to discourage you, or change your mind about wanting to attend college. It should however, make you think and come up with a plan about how you will pay for your education. Fortunately, EdFed has compiled a list to present you with options to help you pay for school.
FAFSA: the First Step to Funding
In order to receive any type of federal financial aid, you must first complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA provides the federal government, as well as your state government and even prospective college or university with information about you and your financial situation. They use this information to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid such as grants, need-based scholarships, work-study and federal loans. To be eligible, you must meet the deadlines to turn in your FAFSA. Meet with your financial aid officer or guidance counselor to find out about these dates. You can also visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ to complete your FAFSA online, or to learn more about the form.
For those students who qualify, grants are very beneficial. This is because grants are awarded to students to pay for educational costs, and never have to be repaid. Grants can be received from the federal government or your school. They are also need-based, so only students who can demonstrate financial need will receive grants. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) portion of the FAFSA form will help to determine a student's eligibility for grants.
Earn Money with Work-Study
Another form of federal financial aid is the Federal Work-Study program also known
(1) "House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Simplify Federal College Financial Aid Process," U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor website, March 20, 2007. (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/edlabor_dem/rel032007.html) as (FWS). This program provides students with the opportunity of part-time employment while they are in school. The intention of the program is that the money the students earn is to go directly towards financing their education and other costs associated with it. Students may work on-campus or off-campus in the community. The FWS program is also need-based and only available to students who can demonstrate financial need. Because students earn the money that they use for educational costs, there is no need to repay it.
Like grants, scholarships, are a great option in that they never have to be repaid. Scholarships can be merit-based or need-based, and can be awarded through your school, private companies, and various other organizations in the community. Remember that with scholarships, the requirements vary with each one. Just because a student does not excel in the classroom, does not mean that he or she will not receive a scholarship. Apply for as many as possible.
Take Out Loans
If you do not qualify for the previous funding options, or they are not enough to cover educational costs, student loans are another option. It is important to remember, however, that unlike the other funding options mentioned, loans are not free money. Because they will have to eventually be repaid, it is recommended that you only borrow what you absolutely need.
There are two types of loans, federal loans and private loans. Federal loans are guaranteed by the federal government. Because they have lower interest rates, many students exhaust all of their federal loan options before turning to higher interest rate, private loans. Federal loans also offer options like in-school deferment, grace periods, deferment, and forbearance. For students who worry that they make too much to qualify, there are some federal loans available that are not need-based.
Private loans are distributed by private institutions such as banks, or colleges. While these loans do have higher interest rates, they also have higher loan limits, so students can borrow more money. To receive a private loan, you do not have to complete a FAFSA form, or meet certain deadlines. The nice thing about private loans is that they are available whenever the need arises.
Because student loans need to be repaid with interest, many students face large amounts of student loan debt once they graduate. A great way to reduce this debt is by consolidating your student loans. Consolidation bundles all of your outstanding student loans into one, easy-to-manage loans. When you consolidate your loans with a true lender like EdFed, you can actually save yourself from paying thousands of dollars over the life of your loan! EdFed offers both federal student loan consolidations and private student loan consolidations.
As an industry leader, EdFed is dedicated to providing services that will help students achieve their academic goals and manage their student loans.
For more information on the funding options mentioned here, read more of EdFed's informative articles at www.edfed.com
Article Title : Finding Funds for Your Education
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Education is one of the most basic right of any human, but with the increase in prices and the costs involved in education this has made these rights turn into a privilege which very few can enjoy. Any normal person today in the whole of United States has to take an education loan at one point of time to pay for their education fees.