It is that time of year again. As 2014 fast approaches, the race of students coast to coast to find grant and scholarship money is in full effect. And while finding funding to pursue a degree is tough, it is not as hard as you might think to uncover a few sources here and there that can help you pay for college. The early bird often gets the worm. We’ve all heard it. In this case, it’s also true. Many scholarships and grants have fairly early deadlines and sometimes funding is only available as long as it lasts. So it might not even be 2014 yet, but it’s certainly not too early to consider starting your search for college grants. Here is some solid advice as you begin your education funding foray for this upcoming 2014-2015 school year.
The Pell Grant is probably the most often cited and talked about college grant available in the United States. And there’s a big reason for that. It is the biggest and most available of all the federal college grants. Students who receive a Pell can use it at around 5,400 post-secondary colleges and universities. Almost 10 million students annually receive the Pell and the yearly amount offered was recently upped to $5,645 a year. Those receiving a Pell Grant can use it for up to 6 years of study or 12 total semesters, meaning that it can be used to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree by eligible students who finish school on time. And while this is a needs based grant, the actual family income levels set for eligibility are rather high. They are higher than one might think and this may surprise you. There is one application to use to apply for the Pell and all other federal student grants and loan programs offered by the U.S. Department of Education. This application is handled online. Over $150 billion is going to be offered in 2014 through these government grants, loans and work-study programs. Don’t forget to apply. You can ask the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to help and they will gladly talk you through it.
Contact Your School’s Financial Aid Office
Speaking of your local financial aid office, this is absolutely the first place you should turn to when looking for local sources for grants or scholarships to attend their school. This is simply the financial aid counselor’s job. And they are far more qualified to help you find local sources for college funding than anything you are going to find on the internet. Many schools have school specific grant and scholarship programs. The staff in the financial aid office not only knows the best sources for you to turn to for college funding but they are also there to help. So if you know where you are going to school, this is the first call you should make. Many schools have school specific programs and such is the case with FSEOG grants. This funding is first come, first served and will only last as long as your school has available funding. So get on the ball and make the call to your financial aid office, sooner than later. Even if you are eligible to receive a FSEOG grant, if the money is already gone that is that. Looking into local sources for scholarships and grants should probably be your very first step in funding your college education.
Other Sources for College Grants and Scholarships
When looking for other sources for college grants and scholarships, ask yourself, “What makes me unique?” Believe it or not, there is a ton of money out there and sometimes it is available to a very small and specific niche of students you may just be a part of. Think I’m lying? There is actually a Star Trek Scholarship and a whole host of college money up for grabs for students that are anything and everything. Some students are eligible to receive college funding just for being left-handed. Believe me. The world of college grants is full of some rather wacky oddball stuff. And while some of the amounts offered are rather small, if you fit the description of what is being offered, go for it. Us right-handed folks have no other choice but to sit back and watch the left-handed gather up some scholarship money. If you find yourself going back to school later in life, there are plenty of grant funding opportunities for people who fit that bill. Such is the case with women over 40. So if there is something that makes you stand out from the crowd, explore it. You might just find that there is something about you that makes you eligible for a grant or scholarship just by being unique. And we’re all unique in some way. Even some of us right-handed people.