One of the easiest ways for students for get some cash for college is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This enables students to know which federal funding programs they may be eligible for in their quest to fund their degree. Eligibility for need based grants often is based on your income, number of dependents, family assets, and other financial information. In addition to completing the FAFSA, students with financial need may want to consider these additional resources:
State Based Financial Assistance: Obviously this funding depends on the state where the student resides. However, many states offer funding for students who have financial need and who are majoring in certain types of programs, such as education, given the high need. For example, Florida offers substantial funding for students who demonstrate financial need and who plan to teach in the state of Florida after graduation. The following website can be used to locate financial scholarships by state: https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-state/.
Federal Pell Grant Program provides awards of up to $5,000 each academic year. Usually these grants are awarded in conjunction with loans and work-study funding. Awards are granted based on students FAFSA information.
Federal Supplemental education Opportunity Grants are given to students with high need. That is, the students who receive the highest priority are those who have received a zero on their expected family contribution on the Student Aid Reports.
Buick Achievers Scholarship Program offers scholarships of up to $25,000 for students who demonstrate financial need and strong academic skills. These scholarships can be renewed for up to five years. In addition, they offer a number of smaller scholarships of $2,000 to about one thousand students annually. In addition to financial need, applicants are selected based on their commitment to serving their community and their membership in an underrepresented group.
The Central Alabama Community Foundation is one example of a state based organization that aims to provide funding to disadvantaged students. More information about available scholarships can be found at: http://www.cacfinfo.org/. The Michigan Tuition Grant provides funding to Michigan residents who demonstrate need and offers awards up to the cost of tuition. More information can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid/0,4636,7-128-60969_61016-274564–,00.html.
In addition to federal and state based aid, students with high financial need should inquire at the financial aid office about need based scholarships. Many of these scholarships are open to both incoming and continuing undergraduate students. Students can also inquire within their department of study as to whether there are any scholarships available to students with financial need. As well as checking with departments, students may want to ask about whether there are any need based scholarships funded by professional organizations (i.e., the American Psychological Association funds some scholarships specifically for students who are studying psychology). Finally, students may want to consider asking about local or community based resources for funding their studies. Often local sponsors will want to give back to the community.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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