College Loans, Grants & Scholarships

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Student Loans, College Loans and Paying for College!

With college costs going through the roof, not many of us have the option of writing a check for this year's tuition. According to CNBC, the average college graduate leaves with $37,172 of debt. Many students end up paying their student loans back for dozens of years, money that could certainly be better used elsewhere. Fortunately, there are many money sources for the student and virtually everyone can get a college education if they really want it.

Student loans are just one way of paying for college, and not even the preferred way. There are college grants, usually based on financial need. Most of these are from the federal or state governments, like Pell Grants, though there are some privately funded. Grants are better than loans because they don't have to be paid back.

Then there are the college scholarships, thousands of scholarships based on financial need, academic achievement, home state, home town, employer, religion, club association, hobbies, ethnicity and dozens of other criteria. There are many scholarships that go unused, due to lack of applications, so time spent researching them can pay off big time. Don't wait until senior year to go looking, freshman year isn't too early to begin. Your grades aren't great? Don't worry, many scholarships do not have academic achievement as a requirement.

You should be checking your hometown newspaper and website regularly, as well as making frequent visits to your high school guidance office to gather information on the local scholarships available to you. There are several good scholarship books available and, of course, there is the internet to help with your research.

Before you begin, start a list that contains information about your family, like schools and churches attended, clubs and association memberships, subjects studied, ethnic background, employers, sports played and anything else you can think about. This list will help when you start your money search. Once you have begun your search, it's important to set up a list or spreadsheet with all the pertinent information about each scholarship. Why? Every scholarship is different, with varying requirements such as an essay, application, references and filing deadlines. Miss any one of them and you are out of the running.

Student Loans will explain many of the financial options and point you to the right information. There are billions of dollars available through scholarships, grants and loans. Check through the site and find yours.

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