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Funding Your Education with College Scholarships

Paying for college can oftentimes become the deciding factor on where and when to pursue a higher degree. Parents are often unable, and in some cases unwilling, to pay for a student’s education upfront and every year more students are made to rely on various sources of funding to foot the final bill. Funding can come in many forms including scholarships , grants, and loans. However, not all sources of funding are in your best interest. 

College scholarships are a great way to fund a higher degree, first because they typically come with no expectation of repayment, and second because they can be available to students regardless of need. One major setback that loan and grants often have is that they are only available to students who can show great financial need. Additionally, a loan must be repaid at an interest rate that can be high if the student does not qualify financially for a lower interest rate. It is becoming more common for students falling in the “middle class” to need more funding than they are getting. Scholarships help to fill the gap. 

Scholarships typically are awarded to students in various categories after review by a team of individuals. There are different categories that help to identify the type of student that the scholarship wishes to target. While there are need-based scholarships , there are also categories such as merit, plan of study, ethnicity, or career path. 

The best way to find scholarships that you qualify for is through the career services at your school. They often have books of scholarships that you can browse through. These books are often organized based on categories, so if you wish to find scholarships for people who are first generation college students, you will be able to look that category up in the book and find scholarships to apply for. Additionally, you should look up race, ethnicity, medical issues, and other characterizations that make you a unique college student. 

Additionally, there are online scholarship databases available to students. The same way the books are available with information, the online databases are available to students to search through. Many websites exist to help students find funding for college. 

The appeal of getting a scholarship over a loan or grant is that scholarship money is typically awarded even if your education is already fully funded. In this way, students can hope to earn enough financial aid, including scholarships , to help pay for living expenses they may incur during their college years. Any additional amount of money left over after living expenses are paid is free for the student to use as they wish. Students may choose to use a scholarship to pay for the additional expenses that a study abroad program would incur. 

Funding your education is one of the hardest steps to get past prior to becoming a college student. It would be unwise to jump immediately to federal or private loans, which need to be repaid once your education is completed. The goal of every parent and student is to fund an education entirely with money that does not need to be repaid. College scholarships are a great way to earn money and find funding that will help you to further your education unencumbered.

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