College-Bound Students Leave Billions of Dollars On the Table Each Year
Higher education isn’t cheap—in fact, the average college student today will rack up over $28,000 in student loan debt by the time they graduate. College already costs five times as much as it did in 1985, and the cost of college tuition and fees continue to rise each year.
Because loan repayment typically begins within six months after graduation, most find themselves racing the clock to find a job in time to make that first loan payment. These graduates have to stress about making enough on an entry level salary to pay hundreds of dollars in student loans each month.
Sadly, that prospect leads many of our most talented young people to reconsider whether college is even an option.
Can I Avoid the Extra Debt and Keep College as Part of the Plan?
The trick to avoiding student loan debt is finding as much free money as possible. You can alleviate stress down the road and set yourself up for success right from the get-go.
Why add to your stress and debt when there are literally billions of dollars in free money out there? Here are some of the best places to find free money:
FASFA is hands down the best place to start when looking to fund your education. FASFA offers grants, educational and training vouchers, government loans and work-study funds.
FASFA is part of the US Department of Education and is the largest provider of student financial aid in the country, providing more than $150 billion of funding each year to students. In addition, they inform students and families about financial aid opportunities and offer free assistance for college-bound students.
Those who qualify can receive up to $5000 per year in grant money. That means free money that you don’t have to pay back! Apply now to see if you qualify for grants and low interest loans.
Scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded to students to help further their education without requiring repayment. In other words—more free money!
Scholarships are available through schools, interest groups, employers and non-profit organizations, and there are billions of dollars available each year.
Some scholarships require writing essays while others are available through filling out a simple form online. Scholarship search engines are a popular way to find scholarships, but may require students to build a profile. Some of the most popular scholarship search engines include:
It is recommended that students set up a new email account specifically for scholarship hunting, so as not to be bombarded with spam from advertisers.
Military Tuition Assistance
All five branches of the military are authorized by Congress to pay up to 100% of tuition expenses for active-duty and former personnel. Each branch has their own criteria and requirements for their specific financial aid programs.
This option will require your service in exchange for financial aid.
Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs to pay all, or part, of their employee’s education (Wait, you’re going to pay me and pay for my education?!)
Some employers require that the employee maintains a certain grade or GPA in order to receive reimbursement. Others require employment with the company for a designated period of time, or may require you to sign a contract stating that you will stay with the company for an agreed-upon period of time. Additionally, companies may offer to pay for employees to enroll only in programs related to their job function in order to enhance their overall performance, such as a business management program.
Each employer will outline in detail the requirements for tuition reimbursement through the company’s Human Resource Department. Make sure to check with your manager to see if your company offers tuition reimbursement benefits.
College is Within Your Reach
While not all of these options are truly free rides, they will help cut your debt burden as you start into your new career. The more “free money” you secure, the more financial freedom you will have in the early part of your career.
One less source of stress to worry about as you enter adulthood!