Paying for College: What You Need to Know

Paying for college can be challenging, but there are many options available to help. It is important to start thinking about it early and develop a plan for how you will pay for a college education. If a parent or other relative will be helping to fund your college education, it is important to have a conversation with them about how much they are prepared to contribute. For students who will be paying their own way, there are several options to make this more manageable.

For many high school students, a part-time job can be a great way to save money for college. Weekends, after-school hours, and school breaks all provide a great opportunity to gain some work experience and make money to put away for college. The summer months provide the perfect time to work more hours and save. Be sure to plan a realistic work schedule during the school year that will allow you to earn money while also keeping up with your academic schedule.

Scholarships and grants are a great way to pay for college. By beginning the process early, you will have time to apply to the many scholarships available both nationally and locally. Websites such as Fastweb are a great resource to find scholarships that match your profile. It is also important to seek out local resources in your community. Many high school guidance offices will be able to help guide you through the application process and recommend good sources of financial assistance.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will let you know if you qualify to federal grants or loans to help pay for college. Once you are accepted to a college, you will also be able to weigh the financial aid options available from that institution. Most schools offer both merit-based and need-based financial aid for incoming students. The Federal Work Study program is another resource available to students. Through this program, students earn a set amount of funding by working a part-time job, typically in a department on campus, while going to school.

There are many resources available to help students pay for their education. By exploring options, planning ahead, and getting applications in on time, students can devise a good strategy to pay for college.

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