How to Find Higher Education School Funding6 min read
Financing a college education can only be compared to purchasing a home in terms of cost. It is one of life’s most expensive endeavors. Even when attending your local state college, you will be responsible for tuition fees, room, and board, and if you leave the state or opt for a private institution, expenses will most likely increase considerably.
Many students are unable to pay the costs of higher education out of pocket, so searching for other forms of funding becomes essential to achieving a higher education goal. Here are several funding possibilities worth looking into.
There are scholarships available from numerous sources from local clubs and associations up the ladder to the federal level. There are so many scholarship possibilities that applying to them all would be quite difficult if not impossible. Still, there is no limit to the number of scholarships that you can apply for.
The best aspect of obtaining a scholarship is that you will not be required to repay it. Scholarships are free. Many scholarships are awarded based on merit which might include academic achievement, athletic performance, or other.
Scholarship amounts will vary depending on who is offering the award and what the requirements are for winning one. Some scholarships will be a one-time award while others may be for a four-year program or may offer the possibility of annual renewal. When applying for multiple-year scholarships, inquire about what you must do to continue receiving the money.
Consult scholarship databases to discover what is available as well as locally and at the school you plan on attending. Keep in mind that scholarships are also awarded based on:
- Financial needs
- Grade point average
- Military affiliation
- SAT scores
Search all categories that you are eligible for and take note of deadlines and requirements before applying.
Grants are based on the student’s financial need. If you are experiencing difficulty in financing your college studies, you will be able to apply for grants at the institution you hope to attend as well as at the federal and local levels.
Some school grants are available to specific demographic groups and are based on gender, race, sexual orientation, residence location, or other. Grants possibilities are generally included in scholarship databases, but students should search locally for grant opportunities. Religious groups are also known to offer grants to needy members.
Similar to scholarship applications, grants will have varying deadlines and requirements. Some grants may be awarded only once, while others offer the possibility for renewal. When searching for grants, include anything that may characterize you or your situation.
Similarly, grants are available to both students and schools. In light of the numerous school shootings across the nation, schools are increasingly seeking funding to support the installation of new technologies. While many institutions may be underfunded at the local or state level, the federal government offers numerous grants specifically for school safety.
The bipartisan School Safety Policy legislation provides funding for creating safe school environments, training, and the acquisition of equipment and technology that especially assists when violent threats exist. Other sources of funding or school grants have also been made available through the Departments of homeland security, education, and justice.
Through federal assistance, institutions can improve CCTV video with new-generation AI-powered cameras, such as thermal CCTV cameras. Educational institutions can also get school grants for state-of-the-art access control which uses biometrics or digital credentials paired with smart locks, which is directly connected to law enforcement and first responders should an incident occur.
529 Education Savings Plan
Most states will offer some type of 529 plan for college savings. The more common plan is a type of investment portfolio that may include mutual funds, various investment funds, and even exchange-traded funds. Withdrawals must be utilized for qualified higher education costs such as tuition, books, or room and board. This kind of qualified tuition plan offers taxation advantages. Investment earnings are not taxed as long as they are used for educational purposes. If they are used for other expenses, tax penalties will apply.
Work-Study Program Opportunities
If the college or university you plan on attending is enrolled in the federal work-study program, you may be able to land a job that will aid in paying your educational costs. The first place to inquire is in the college’s financial aid office. These programs offer aid to those that can demonstrate financial need.
If you are eligible, you will receive a financial aid award letter from your school that is based on FAFSA or a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To submit a FAFSA, you must be a U.S. citizen or a noncitizen with a social security number who qualifies. You need a high school diploma or GED. You will not receive money immediately but must first get a job on your campus of choice. These programs help but rarely cover all expenses.
If you are unable to find other methods of financing higher education, student loans remain an option. There are two kinds of possible, federal or private student loans.
- Federal Student Loans: The federal government lends you the money. Once you have completed the FAFSA, you will be evaluated for the various types of financial assistance available based on need and your EFC – Expected Family Contribution. It’s important to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible as you may qualify for more aid this way. Loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans will see the federal government pay the loan interest as long as you are in school. With unsubsidized loans, you pay the interest. Subsidized loans are given based on financial need while unsubsidized loans are available without a financial need evaluation.
- Private Student Loans: In the case of student loans, banks, credit unions, and online financial lenders will approve loans. You will need to directly apply to a lender for a private loan. If one lender denies you, you can apply to one or more other lenders. When requesting a private loan, your credit score will be the most important qualifying factor. If you do not have a qualifying credit score, you will need a cosigner to guarantee for you. Private student loans often do not include the same advantages as federal student loans. They may also have requirements as to when payments are due if you are not enrolled in school full-time or once you graduate: also evaluate interest rates and fees.
How to Find Funding
Your initial action should be to complete the FAFSA. This application opens the door to grants, as well as federal scholarships and federal student loans. Federal aid requests must be repeated annually.
Use the internet to your advantage and search for scholarships and grants at the federal, state, and local levels. Keep in mind your family’s income, and your background including race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and more. Consider affiliations and organizations.
If the school you plan on attending turns out to be too expensive, consider changing schools. Evaluate going to a less expensive university for the first two years of required courses and then transferring later or for a graduate degree. You may also want to consider going to school part-time to reduce costs and perhaps work more to save up extra money. A gap year can also be a solution where you take time to decide what you want to do and work to accumulate savings for when you do start college.
Institutional Search for Funding
In light of the numerous school shootings across the nation, schools are increasingly seeking funding to support the installation of new technologies. While many institutions may be underfunded at the local or state level, the federal government offers numerous grants specifically for school safety.