How do I pay for college? If this is the first time you are going to college, you are probably asking that question! This is one of the biggest, if not most important, decisions you will need to make when deciding to attend college.
One option when paying for college is applying for Federal Student Aid. You may have heard the term “FAFSA”…but have no idea what it is. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the US Department of Education to determine eligibility for financial aid, grants, loans, and other means of funding your college education. If you are going to college and need assistance with financing your degree, you should complete your FAFSA.
There are many misconceptions about applying for financial aid and paying back student loans. So even if you don’t think you will qualify, go ahead and fill it out. The quickest way to complete your FAFSA is to complete it online at: www.fafsa.edu.
Keep in mind that the application is FREE! There are many other sites (unfortunately) that charge you to complete the application, but if you go directly to the EDU site, it is free. And the great thing is that it only takes about 20-30 minutes to complete.
As soon as you submit your FAFSA, you will get a confirmation page that tells you what you should be eligible for in grant(s) and/or student loans. Cool, right? If you are researching several schools, you can enter multiple school codes on your FAFSA. Each school has a unique FAFSA code so that your financial aid information can be sent to the school. So if you are thinking of applying at CCBS, you can enter our school code, 041542, when prompted on your FAFSA.
Putting a school code or multiple codes on your FAFSA doesn’t mean that you have committed yourself to going to those schools. This is just allowing your information to be sent to the school.
The Federal Student Aid website (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/) is also extremely helpful, and they have a lot of information about applying for student loans. If this is your first time applying for federal aid, check out the site! Are you a visual learner? Check out their YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/1ElRXio.
Another option when paying for college is scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships offered each year. The challenge is finding a scholarship that caters to you.
While the FAFSA takes about 20 minutes to complete, the scholarship search can take a little longer.
The scholarship search can be daunting, so it’s helpful to start your search off on the right foot. Back in 2012, US Today recommended their top ten sites for scholarship searches.
Here are their top 4 picks:
Just like the FAFSA, avoid scholarships that require payment. Applying for a scholarship should be free. Take your time to review the scholarships available. And take even more time to apply for them. It’s not a process that should be rushed. Hundreds apply for scholarships each year. So take your time…and make yourself stand out.
Also, don’t forget to search locally. Ask around at your church. Talk to you pastor or minister. You never know who may be willing to help you on your educational journey.
Federal Work Study
Another option to pay for college is to apply for a Federal Work Study job. This program is for students who can show financial need (by completing their FAFSA) and allows the student to work part-time while attending school.
Not all colleges participate in work study, so you need to contact the financial aid department of each school. Work study jobs are available to both undergraduate and graduate students and can be done on and off campus.
If you are considering attending CCBS and have questions about how to finance your education, please feel free to call our admissions department us at 910-323-5614 or 910-818-0009.