Pursuing higher education would be much easier if it was merely all about acing your entrance exams. Unfortunately, paying for college is a major concern of most families and students because of the high cost of tuition and fees. With this in mind, you need to start looking for the best source of financial aid as you prepare for college while keeping your expenses at a minimum. The following tips can help you get started in looking for the best financial assistance that meets your needs.
There are several places to start looking for scholarships and college grants such as your school’s financial aid office, community center, and even religious institutions. The internet also offers a plethora of online sources that will direct you to various sources of scholarships and grants. For instance, you may check out http://grants.gov for a list of grant opportunities and steps included in the application process. Another great place to find available scholarships is the Federal Student Aid (http://studentaid.ed.gov/), which manages students financial assistance programs that provide grants and work-study funds to students who are attending college.
When you are faced with a choice between applying for a federal loan and private loan, prioritize government-guaranteed ones first. Primarily, federal loans are much cheaper and come with more flexible repayment terms. In addition, these loans offer more options including public service loan forgiveness and income-based repayment. On the other hand, it may be difficult to negotiate payment terms with most private debt lenders, although there are good ones that offer reasonable interest rates. Make sure you come up with a list of notable lenders, and compare rates and terms before sending in your loan application form.
Debts are likely to accumulate faster than you expect, and the last thing you want is to find yourself buried in debts while you’re still in college. Thus, a great way to keep your debts in check is by getting a part-time job. As you look for a job, consider the place where you plan to work, as you may end up obtaining more benefits. A job at a local gym, for instance, entitles you to a free membership, while daily shifts at your school’s library can help you earn while you study.
When it comes paying for college expenses, you will never run out of options to choose from. With a wide range of grants, student loans and scholarships available, you can pursue your dream course without experiencing financial hardship. After all, it all boils down to choosing the right financial aid and keeping your expenses at a minimum, so you can turn your college dream into reality.