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How to get College Scholarships, Grants, and Loans

Updated on October 16, 2019

Where To Find College Scholarships

Whether students have grants or if they are contemplating taking out various loans to help pay for their education they must not pass up on the chance to apply for various college scholarships. With such a wide variety of scholarships available today, the chances are excellent that the potential or even returning student will be able to find a scholarship to help supplement their education. With all the variety out there, the task of seeking out what is appropriate to apply for can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few pointers that can help when seeking out college scholarships.

Where to find information on college scholarships

The best place to go looking for information on college scholarships is the financial aid office at the institution or school. The financial aid office at the school would be notified of changes, cancellations, or new offering of scholarships that might not otherwise show up in other resources. Another valuable tool for finding information on college scholarships is the Internet. If the prospective students are Internet savvy, then they can look up a variety of sites that list resources for available scholarships and even how to apply for them.

What kind of scholarships there are?

There are almost as many different types of students as there are different types of scholarships. From gender, race, age, school year, location, the program that the student is entering, various sports, as well as a multitude of academic scholarships.

If students are coming out of high school, their student counselor can be a great resource when it comes to locating and applying for scholarships. Also, many of the institutions and colleges themselves can give listings and even offer their own scholarships. These relate more too academic and sports-related areas. When looking for scholarships students can also take a trip to the local public library to get more information.

The benefits of college scholarships

Scholarships, unlike loans, do not have to be paid back. The scholarship is considered a gift of money used to supplement the cost of a student's tuition. The college scholarships are awarded from different organizations, institutions, and sponsors every award year. These scholarships are given out to individual students who have gifts or talents in such areas as writing, math or other various academic areas. This helps students who otherwise would not be able to afford the cost of college. College scholarships are a welcome addition to college funding, especially for those students who truly have a low-income situation that creates a financial need.

There are over three billion dollars that are given out in scholarships every year. One of the best scholarships available is the ones that are termed “full scholarships” because they will cover many of the expenses that come with a college education. Of course, there are average types of scholarships, where the student does not have to be the star football player or even the class valedictorian. Many communities will also offer partial scholarships based on the merit of potential students or even the type of service that they have given in the community. Getting help with college tuition given the rising cost of a college education today is almost a requirement in order to pay for all the time needed in a student's college career. Though it may take some hard work securing a college scholarship it is still very much worth all the effort.

If you have a disability you may already qualify for a grant or scholarship

Off to college
Off to college | Source

How to apply for Federal Perkins Loans

Federal Perkins Loans applications are obtainable through the Federal Student Aid (FSA). If you are interested in both the Federal Perkins and Stafford Loans, you will not be required to fill out to separate applications. However, you will need to sign a promissory note and a legal document that states you agree to pay your loans according to the terms note. Be certain to carefully read and understand this note and always keep a copy in a safe place.

Perkins Loans Allowance

Depending upon you're status whether a professional student, an undergraduate student or a graduate, the Comparison Chart for student loans will show the maximum Perkins loan funds allowed. The amount of the loan is determined by the individual’s qualifications and does not necessarily guarantee the borrower the maximum amount allowed.

When taking a Federal Perkins Loan there are no additional charges received other than interest.

Getting Paid For Perkins Loans

Your school should pay the Perkins loan directly to you. It is customary to receive two payments during the academic year, either by check or by direct deposit.

The loan money must first and foremost be used to pay your tuition, fees, and housing. You will receive any remaining funds either by cash or check. You have the option to allow the school to retain the funds for future academic use.

How to use FSA Ombudsman correctly

Federal Student Aid Ombudsman is a free service provided by the United States Department of Education. The Ombudsman is someone with independent viewpoints who helps to resolve disputes while remaining neutral. The Ombudsman will do this by accumulating facts about your complaints and recommending solutions. If the Ombudsman’s research finds that your complaints are not justified they will take time to explain how to resolve the matter.

They will also help you to understand how to prevent future problems with student loans. If however, they find that your complaints are justified they will work on your behalf to resolve the matter with your lender.

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Explore every avenue

The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman will accept complaints only if they are Direct Loans, FFEL Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, and Perkins Loans. The FSA Ombudsman does not have the power to reverse decisions.

Only contact the Ombudsman as a last resort and after every avenue to resolve the dispute on your own has been explored. If a reasonable effort to resolve the problem has been made and you still can not come to a satisfying conclusion, contact the FSA Ombudsman.

When using the Ombudsman you will find them to be respectful, courteous and helpful. They will update you with their findings in a professional and timely manner.

What they do not do

The FSA Ombudsman will not provide general customer services such as requesting student loan information, student loan applications, or forms. They do not make loan payments, process deferments, or accept complaints about grants and private lenders. They will not accept complaints when a formal or legal investigation is already being conducted by the United States Department of Education.

For additional help contact:

The United States Department of Education

1-800-4-FED-AID

General information or questions will not be answered by Federal Student Aid Ombudsman.

Types of Grants for College

After high school, many students look forward to continuing their education in college. For some, a community college will suffice, but for many others, it will not. Many students have dreams of going to a more elite university such as Harvard, Stanford, or Yale. There are three types of grants for colleges and universities available for students with special talents in certain fields: Academic, Athletic, and Departmental.

These three types of grants for colleges and universities are a reward to students who have achieved above and beyond expectations in any one of these fields. These types of grants for college are not given out carelessly. Before honoring a student with one of these types of grants for college, a committee must review the chosen student's achievements.

Academic Grants, Athletic Grants, and Departmental Awards

Academic Grants

The main focus of institutes that offer these types of grants for college is the applicant's academic achievements. These types of grants for colleges are offered to students who have achieved a qualifying Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0. Honor students with a GPA of 4.0 are more likely to be awarded these types of grants for college. These types of grants for college are occasionally awarded automatically, upon entering the college or university of your choice. However, most institutes want you to apply for an academic grant. Be sure to take your time filling out your application. Spelling and neatness count. Get your applications in on time. Make sure you know the deadline for your application because if it's late it will not even be considered. Be aware that the presentation of your applications is a reflection of you since it gives the committee a kind of the first impression of the applicants. Colleges and universities may choose to award their grants for either merit, or need, or both.

Upon being awarded academic grants, students must maintain a specific GPA. This GPA varies according to the demands of the particular institute. If the GPA is not met, the colleges or universities may choose to put the student's grant on a probationary status. These types of grants for college will stay on probation until the designated GPA has been reached. If the institute does not see improvement by the student within a designated time period, the grant may be terminated.

Athletic Grants

If you are an exceptional athlete you may have a chance of receiving an athletic grant. Only the very best athletes will be awarded these types of grants for college. The competition for these types of grants for college is very high and obtaining them will not be easy. A certain level of athletic skill and academic performance is expected from students applying for Athletic grants. Athletes with a high academic GPA and exceptional skills in sports will be very much sought after by colleges and universities.

Departmental Awards

These types of grants for college focus on attracting interested students to engage in a particular study, in a particular department. Only elite students with a high GPA will be selected for this award.

Each of the above-mentioned grants is for students who are serious about enhancing their education. When applying for any of these types of grants for college it is important to be confident, keep a high GPA, and engage in as many school activities as possible. This will attract positive attention from educational board members and will increase your chances of receiving one of these types of grants for college.

Grants for higher education

Higher education
Higher education | Source

Taking advantage of Scholarships and Grants

Grants and Scholarships, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. Scholarships and Grants are great however they rarely cover the full cost of a college education. Often time students find themselves forced to supplement their savings with government and private loans. Consumer loans, usually will not offer rates that are as good as federal loan rates. Using Federal education loan programs you will have greater flexibility with payment plan options as well as lower interest.

Students should be aware that $2,500 of student loan interest is tax-deductible, even if you do not itemize deductions on your income tax returns.

Finding a lender

Various education loan providers offer high-quality services with flexible repayment terms. It is always wise to check what the current interest rates are, and who is offering the best interest rates. Often times many student loan providers will offer low-cost government and private loans, to attract borrowers.

Consolidating your loan

It is normally better to consolidate your loans one month before the deadline. This will allow the lenders sufficient time to process the necessary paperwork.

Loan forgiveness programs

If you are having trouble repaying your student loans, loan forgiveness programs can make things a little easier. A loan forgiveness programs allow the borrower to perform military or volunteer services in exchange for their loan are paid off. Be sure to apply you're and find programs that allow you to take advantage of Grants and Scholarships.

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The Fundamentals of Grants for College

There is help out there for college students facing increasing amounts of tuition by getting grants for college. The reason that grants for college are so helpful for potential college students is due to the fact it does not need to be paid back. Different from other funding choices such as loans and certain scholarships, having a grant applied to the cost of a college education can help students achieve their goals even if they have financial trouble.

Who can apply for grants for college?

Anyone and everyone may apply for grants for college tuition. You could be an eighteen-year-old student fresh out of high school. Alternatively, you could be a forty-year-old who has decided on going back to school to start on a new career path. Or perhaps, even a sixty-year-old who wants to take some community enrichment type course. It doesn’t matter as there is a large variety of grants out there offered by different entities. But of course, it is simpler to narrow your search depending on your individual situation. There are different kinds of grants and you would need to fit the criteria to be eligible for a particular grant.

Some types of grants for college that can be considered are as followed:

Grants for financial need

There are special grants available for college students who are financially disadvantaged. With the price tag of tuition at an all-time high, getting grants for college can mean the difference between going to college or not. Also, if students are on their own, they can receive a larger amount of the grant to be when compared to those who are still listed with their parents on their tax forms. Being the first one in the family to go to college can also open up a lot of doors for various grants for college.

Grants for minorities

Grants for college exist for minorities of all types. Women and those who are going into scientific or math studies are especially suited for these types of college grants. There are also grants that have been instituted to increase the number of minority students in certain colleges.

Grants for higher degree programs

College grants are available for students who pursue various degrees. From Bachelors to Associates, even Masters, all the way to Doctorates. These are especially important for minorities based on gender, race and those coming from a disadvantaged background. Study areas for which grants are given include Math, Business, Science, Health and Medical programs.

Open a book and open your career possibilities

Open a book, start a career.
Open a book, start a career. | Source

Who offers grants for college

There are several organizations that students can approach to get a college grant. For instance, the college itself may offer grants to students. Further, students can opt for state and federal funding. Apart from that various women's organizations, math and science foundations, African-American groups and Native-American groups also offer grants for college. Some public and private organizations will even accept an internship or service to be given upon graduation in return for a grant.

Sometimes the planning, applying and searching for grants for college can seem to be a mountain of a job for students and their families. A good resource is the financial aid office or student counselors at the college. More often than not, they will have information on particular grants for college and how to apply for them.

What to Know About Pell Grants

A Pell Grant, also known as a Basic Education Opportunity Grant (BEOG), is a federally funded source of money given to students to help pay for their college tuition. The students do not have to pay it back. If the students are eligible, they can receive this grant once per award year. Depending on the particular institution, that may only cover a small portion of tuition. Yet when combined with other grants and loans, it can really make the difference for potential students. There are a few factors that students need to consider when applying for a Pell Grant.

How do students know if the Pell Grant is for them?
The first thing to look for is the eligibility criteria. There are about 5,400 different schools that will accept Pell Grants. After the students find the school that they want to attend, they must consider how much grant they would be awarded if they are found to be eligible.

Should potential students apply for the Pell Grant?

First of all, there is never a charge applied to get the grant. Prior to trying for the grant, they must meet the eligibility criteria of being a high school graduate. If not, they must have obtained their GED. In addition to this, they need to be a US citizen, or they can be an eligible non-US student.

Second, the grant is based on low-income needs. When applying for the grant, students would have to figure out their yearly income. If they are with their parents, then that income is considered as well. If a student's income (including family) is over $50,000 a year, then the potential student will not be able to receive the grant. Usually, students with an income of $20,000 a year or less will be the first to be awarded the grant. This amount is considered along with the family size and number of dependents.

Third, these need-based Pell Grants are given primarily to help students pay for undergraduate programs. Many of the post-secondary programs are covered. Along with what type of classes the students are taking, consideration must be given to whether it is a part-time or a full-time course. While part-time students can receive a grant, full-time students are awarded a larger amount. This amount also depends on whether the student is going to attend the whole academic year or just part of it.

The Pell Grant has been applied for, now what?
The usual turnaround time for the award to be granted is two to four weeks. When students are notified of the grant, the school that they are attending will let them know how much and when it will be received.

The funds can come in different ways. First, they may be given straight to the school to pay off the tuition. Secondly, they may just give it to the students for them to check the award amount. Most often, it is a combination of the two. These funds can be used for supplies. Schools will give out a portion of the award once every semester of the academic year. If the school or institution does not run with semesters, the status quo for the Pell Grant is twice per school year.

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