Grant-Based Financial Aid
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Attending college is a major life event. Tuition, fees, and room and board at a public four-year college or university in the 2014-2015 academic year averages about $18,943 per year for an in-state student, according to the College Board.
Several investment vehicles with tax advantages exist to help save for college. However, most college-bound students and their parents rely, in part, on financial aid to help pay for college. Federally funded financial aid comes in several forms, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. It can also include part-time military service during and after college. This educator aims to familiarize you with the major types of federal financial aid and scholarships to help pay for college.
Let's first take a look at grants. A grant is a gift. It does not require repayment. The two main types of federally funded grants are Pell grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs):
To apply for federal financial aid, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can submit a FAFSA as early as January 1, 2015 for the 2015-2016 academic year, which usually begins in August or September. The DOE urges you to complete a FAFSA if you are also seeking financial aid from non-federal sources since these sources use the FAFSA.
The DOE deadline for receiving a FAFSA for the upcoming academic year is June 30, 2016. Keep in mind that the deadlines for FSEOGs and other forms of campus-based aid may be different.
In addition to these federal grant-based financial aid programs, you may wish to look for grants from state government sources. Visit the Web site of the Department of Education to find a list of higher-education state agencies. You may also wish to contact charitable organizations, associations, foundations, and corporations for case-by-case availability of financial-aid programs. Many of these organizations sponsor scholarship funds, which we take a look at next.
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