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How Grants and Scholarships Can Help With The High Cost Of A College Education

Updated on September 22, 2011

Minimizing The High Cost of College

As the cost of a college education continues to rise, education grants and scholarships become a necessity for most families. Without some type of financial assistance, the dream of a college education for most prospective students, is just that -- a dream.

According to the CollegeBoard, approximately 47 percent of full-time undergraduate students pay tuition and fees of less than $9,000 annually. Moving to the top end of the spectrum and those yearly tuition and fees rise to $35,000 or more. Add another $1,000 to $1,500 yearly for books and supplies and you can see how even a low-end post-secondary education can be cost-prohibitive for low and middle income families.

While the goal of college-bound students is to seek a college or university that fits their needs, financial considerations generally become the primary focus. This is especially true for cash-strapped families.

Tips For Finding Grants and Scholarships

Below are some tips and suggestions for finding an affordable college or funding that will allow the student to attend a more expensive institution.

Before accepting the obligation of a student loan -- seek out grants and scholarships. Unlike loans, they do not require you to pay your education funding back. Grants and scholarships leave you debt-free and stress-free once your education is completed.

Find a low-tuition two-year college. The average cost of these colleges is approximately $2,700 per year. Other than the lower costs, another major benefit of a two-year institution is that it gets the student into the job market two-years earlier than a four-year student.

Find a tuition-free college or one that offers full scholarships to their students. While these types of institutions are scarce, the time invested in locating them will be well worth the effort. In some cases, scholarships awarded by these colleges and universities will also cover the cost of books. In this case, the student is left only with the responsibility of covering the cost of supplies.

Consider the benefits and viability of a vocational school. Unlike colleges and universities, vocational schools allow you to begin learning the nuts and bolts of your chosen trade immediately. It is also not unusual for a vocational student to begin working part-time in their trade even before they complete their education. In this case, the real world experience and educational experience compliment each other and make learning much more fulfilling.

There is no doubt about the value of a college education. In today's tight employment market, you are have a better chance with it than without it. As a graduating high school student, you want to have a serious discussion of your options with your family.

For the vast majority of families, the financial aspect of a college education will be the greatest consideration. For this reason, your efforts should go into seeking education grants and scholarships that will help surmount the difficulties of paying for a secondary education.

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