Sharpen those pencils, charge those laptops, and listen up because it’s time to talk money. If you’re headed to college this year, you might be wondering how in the world you’re going to pay for it. To make the bills bearable, many families take advantage of financial aid. With $150 billion available in student aid annually, it’s a valuable resource for those who know how to capitalize. Below are three key ways to secure financial aid like a pro.
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Scholarships you can use toward your community college tuition fall into a couple of different categories. Fortunately, you search for and apply for them the same way you would any other scholarship. Your first step will depend on how far along you are in your education.
- Current high school students should speak with their school’s guidance counselor as early in their application process as possible. Not only will they be able to give you advice and information you might not be aware of otherwise, but you’ll also be putting yourself on their radar. That way, you’ll be one of the first people they think of when new scholarship opportunities are announced.
- Students returning to school – whether after spending time in the workforce, in the military, or raising a family – will do well to start by visiting the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool. You can search their website for opportunities based on your current education level, where you live, and a whole bunch of affiliations. (We’ll discuss these in a bit more detail in just a second.)