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Tips on How to Get Financial Aid for College

Updated on December 1, 2011


Are you or your child going off to college soon? It is very important to begin the financial process early. If you did not invest in a 529 plan or get a scholarship from your college of choice, there are still ways to obtain financial aid for college


There are many grants and scholarships available through private organizations, companies, and churches. An organization you or your parent is a member of may offer scholarships. Sometimes you may have to write an essay on a given topic. There are also scholarships for certain fields that have a low major count. For example, if you did well in math and science, there are scholarships available for students who are interested in becoming engineers or educators in that field. Search for scholarships in the field you are going to major in.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is offered in each state. You must apply early in January. The money rewarded is usually grant money such as the Pell Grant. The money received is based on family income. If a parent looses a job after turning in the application, please ask for a reassessment since your family's financial situation has changed. You will need your filed income tax information from the previous year in order to apply.

Student Loans

If you are not able to get a scholarship or grant, apply for a student loan. They are low interest rate loans and do not have to be repaid until 6 months after graduating from collge. However, if you are furthering your education, you can defer it until you are done with all if your degrees. It takes about 10 to 15 years to pay back. However, depending on the field you are entering, there are loan forgiveness programs that will pay your student loan off for you. For example, if you are a teacher in an inner city school setting or rural area, your student loan may be paid off if you meet certain requirements designated by the state you are teaching in.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start in your junior year looking for scholarships and grants.
  • Do well in high school so you will get a scholarship from the college you would like to attend.
  • Parents: Start investing in a 529 Plan when your child is still a baby.


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    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Good summary of how to get money for college. It may also be wise during these unstable economic times to look for the most affordable college possible!