With college costs skyrocketing, unemployment hovering around 10% and an economy that still feels very much like a recession, thinking about finding the funds for college can seem daunting. The truth is that funding college doesn’t have to be difficult. Utilize these 7 simple tips for funding college and they will help you jump start and streamline your search for financial aid.
Have your taxes done early so you can turn in your FASFA.
Perhaps the most fundamental step in the grand scheme of funding college is to be sure that you have your previous years taxes complete. Of course, if the New Year is just around the corner, be sure to complete your taxes as soon as possible following January 1st. This is crucial, as your college of choice will require you to submit a Free Application for Student Aid (FASFA). This step is vital because the vast majority of colleges divvy out financial aid to students on a first come, first serve basis. By having your form in first, you have the greatest opportunity to secure funding for college.
Check with HR at your company to see if you qualify for any Employer Sponsored college funding.
Countless employers are turning to unconventional ways to keep their employees happy after major layoffs, increased responsibility, as well as reduced wages. One of the ways they are doing this is by offering a company match, or even a complete funding of an employee’s education if it is directly related to their job function.
Check out your parents company to find out if their employer offers any scholarships.
Several companies offer scholarships to the children of its’ employees. This is a great way for you to have competition narrowed down to a much smaller group. After all, how many graduating seniors of employees of your parents place of work can there be?
Register with a scholarship search engine like Fastweb to alert you to any scholarships you’re not aware of.
While it may seem a bit silly to register with a scholarship search engine, you might be surprised at what scholarships are out there, that you have never heard of! Even if you don’t think you completely qualify, you can check into the scholarships you are made aware of. Make sure that whatever group you use, you do not pay a fee to utilize their service.
Check with your school counselor to find out if there are any scholarships they are aware of.
Most secondary school counselors have a relationship with colleges and other organizations interested in seeing student’s progress into college. Simply swing by your counselor’s office and inquire about any scholarships that they are aware of.
Check with various community organizations to find out what scholarships may be available (4H, Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, FFA, Chamber of Commerce, etc.).
Several local organizations make it a point to help students from the community progress to college. Find out if they offer scholarships, and what it takes to qualify. Some may require being a member, completing community service, or being a distinguished leader. Some organizations may even offer scholarships just for considering majoring in a specific field, but you must ask!
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself is to be flawless on your applications.
Use proper grammar, write nicely (type as often as possible), and use a consistent format. For instance, if you write using capital letters, continue throughout your application using capital letters. Fill in all blanks, using N/A if it doesn’t apply, start over if you make a mistake, and keep copies for your records. Doing this will communicate quite a bit about how serious you are, how much thought, effort and time you put into their application.