If I could afford to go to college, I would.
Is that what you’re saying to yourself? This is why many people go back to dreaming instead of doing because they figure that they will never save enough money for a university education. Ambition costs money, right?
Yes, but always remember: ambition benefits everybody. That means if you have dreams of opening your own business or going back to school to find a high paying job, you have the potential to help others make money too. Other businesses benefit from your success. Your industry benefits from your success. Even your customers and the government benefit from your success.
It’s time for the moment of truth: what if someone were to help supplement your college payments? What if there was a way to win a scholarship or a grant where you didn’t have to pay back anything, but could go to school and get your degree?
Now we’re talking! And yes, there are many resources available to you that can help you with loans, grants, scholarships, work-study programs, assistantships and other sources of financial aid.
By consolidating your loans, you have only one monthly payment to meet...
Federal student loans generally have lower interest rates than the loans you can receive from a financial institution or other private lenders...
If you are a student paying your way through college, or paying the expenses of your spouse or a dependent, you may qualify for a tax credit deduction...
There are various reasons why students take out private loans to complete their education...
Now, more than ever, it has become easier to advance your education if you are an active member of the military or a veteran...
Nearly all grants are awarded to students with a financial need...
Consider some of the most common financial incentives that are already sending low-income students back to school every year:
Federal Grants and Loans
|Financial Aid Name||Type of Aid||Program Details|
|Federal Pell Grant||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Favors undergraduate students|
|Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Undergraduates with exceptional need|
|Federal Work-Study Earned||Earned, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Student works with school to find eligible employers|
|Academic Competitiveness Grant||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||First and second academic years; favors students who did rigorous secondary school program of study and Pell Grant recipients|
|National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (National SMART Grant)||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Favors math and science studies; full-time third and fourth year students|
|Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Parent/guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died in service|
|Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant||Grant, not repaid – U.S. Federal Aid||Students sign a TEACH Grant Agreement for Specific Services|
|Federal Perkins Loan||Loan – U.S. Federal Aid||Interest paid by lender while student is in school|
|Subsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loan||Loan – U.S. Federal Aid||Funds provided by and repaid to institution|
|Unsubsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loan||Loan – U.S. Federal Aid||Available to all students with financial need attending half-time or more|
|FFEL or Direct Parent PLUS Loan||Loan – U.S. Federal Aid||Favors parents of dependent students enrolled half-time or more.|
|William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program||Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan||Financed by the U.S. Department of Education; Loans for first, second, third and graduate year students|
|Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)||Military: Scholarship||Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines: awarded on the basis of merit as well as other qualifications, including service, type of college, and degree|
|Post-9/11 GI Bill||Military: Benefits including full tuition or 36 months of financial aid||For people with 90+ days of aggregate service after 9-11, or individuals discharged with a service connected disability|
|Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps College Funds||Military: Partial tuition assistance||Additional financial aid for Post 9-11 GI Bill recipients from each|
|Survivors Dependents Assistance (DEA)||Military: Up to 45 months of education benefits||Eligible dependents of certain veterans; can be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training|
|The Hope Scholarship||Tax Credit, reduced tax owed||Tax credit of up to $2,500 per student|
|The American Opportunity Credit||Tax Credit, reduced tax owed||Expansion of the Hope Scholarship, allowing the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education|
|The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit||Tax Credit, reduced tax owed||Tax credit of up to $2,000 per taxpayer, for unlimited years|
|Student Loan Interest Deduction||Tax Credit, reduced tax owed||Student can deduct up to $2,500 in interest as an above-the-line exclusion from income|
|Employer Tuition Assistance||Tax Credit, reduced tax owed||Employer provides up to $5,250 in employer education assistance benefits tax-free|
Financial aid is also available through scholarships, which aremerit-based financial awards based on academic achievement as well as need. Scholarships can come from schools, non-profit organizations, corporations and other sources. Students must keep a high grade point average to qualify. Some of the best resources for scholarships include:
- Sallie Mae
- College Scholarships
- College Connection Scholarships
Private Student Loans
Private student loans are available as another option, typically after federal options and other programs have been exhausted. They don’t always have competitive interest rates, but they are often used to supplement the total cost of a program, in addition to other grants and loans. Some of the best sites to look for private loans include:
- Sallie Mae
- SunTrust Education Loans
- Student Loans from Citi
- Wells Fargo Student Loans