Students and their parents often have legitimate questions about how to pay for college or technical college.
Face it, higher education is expensive. Fortunately, financial aid is available.
A word of caution for you -
Be wary when you hear of companies that claim that there are millions of dollars in unused scholarship money and then offer to help you to claim some of those millions of dollars and charge you a fee for doing so. Oftentimes they will make the offer sound very attractive by guaranteeing that they will find scholarships that meet your needs. Their invitation to purchase their services may come in the form of an invitation to attend a seminar and to meet with your own personal scholarship counselor. Be careful! Offers such as this are usually a scam. With a bit of time and patience, you can find the same information for yourself. It is in your best interest to avoid companies that:
- make statements or promises that guarantee that you will win
- make claims that everyone is eligible
- put pressure on you to respond quickly to their offer
- ask for your credit card number or bank account number
- require an application fee (you shouldn't have to pay someone to find a scholarship for you)
- mention some special consideration (You're a finalist in a competition that you didn't even enter, for example)
Where can you look for financial aid?
Typical organizations that sponsor scholarships include:
- Community organizations
- Your employer
- Your parents' employers
- Labor unions
- The school that you plan to attend
Some useful sites on the web include:
In order to qualify for federal financial aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Information about the FAFSA and the electronic application are available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Please note that you may not file a FAFSA prior to January 1, 2006. Also note that while paper applications are available in the Guidance Office, the preferred method for filing the FAFSA is online. Filing online will save you several weeks in the processing time.
Another useful site is www.studentaid.ed.gov. This is the Federal Student Aid homepage, and it contains a wealth of information.