Here’s a surprising statistic: 58% of college money comes from loans; 40% comes from grants, and only 2% comes from scholarships.
There are quite a few things available that will give you free (or at least some) money for college – some of which that even pay 100%.
The State of Georgia (thanks to the lottery) has the Hope Scholarship and Grant programs. As long as you keep a certain grade point average, your tuition and books (up to a certain dollar amount on books) is paid by the state. In fact, there are people who attend college 100% and only pay a $35 technology fee! That’s a great example of how the lottery works in many states. To find out if the college you plan to attend gets funding from the lottery and how much is covered, contact the Financial Aid office at the college or visit your state’s web site and/or lottery page.
There are all kinds of special programs for which money is given based upon who you are. For example, women over 40, stay-at-home moms, low income, certain occupations, desirable candidates, etc. The key is knowing what you want to do and where you want to attend. In most cases, there is only “X” dollars available, so you have to “compete” to get the funds. Plan ahead and be prepared to submit your application to a variety of sources.
If you’re already in college, you may find that your program of study includes an internship option. This means you work at a company that agrees to help with your education by giving you on-the-job training. As such, your tuition for the quarter or semester is waived as long as your employer (and you) follow through on the paperwork. This is one of the best ways to give you both education and “real world” experience.
Did you know that companies like KFC, Coca Cola, and Toyota are among many corporations that offer scholarships? While it’s certainly a long shot that you’ll receive any money based upon the number of fellow students applying (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t: just be realistic), it does give you some ideas as to how local businesses in your area can help. The Internet is a great way to find corporations that have major offices or locations near you. Visit their web sites and see what they offer. Some good options are the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Exchange Clubs, etc.
When applying for any of these, the most important thing is know (a) where you plan to attend, and (b) what you plan to major in. You also need to find out what the schools requirements are. For example, do you have to follow a planned course of study for a certificate or degree; must you complete the program in a certain number of months/years; and/or do you need to live in the city/county/state for eligibility? By knowing the requirements, you’ll avoid wasting time attempting to get funds that are out of reach.
Above all else, you have to try. That’s the only way to put that free college money in your hands!