College financial aid is often primarily sought out through free sources of assistance like scholarships and federal grants for students who may need help meeting higher tuition costs or additional expenses that arise in college like books, room and board, and food. However, many students feel that loans are one of the necessary aspects of acquiring an education, due to the fact that tuition rate increases may have left many without enough funds to meet the entirety of these college costs, but there are some options that may help students avoid borrowing during their college career.
Current students who are about to enter college or who may already be enrolled in college could have various scholarship and grant opportunities available for their particular situation, as these forms of free assistance can be given out based on a student’s financial need, economic background, or their particular college major and future career aspirations. As an example, fields like science and mathematics are being said to be an excellent option for students who are unsure of what areas they may want to major in, but options like the National SMART Grant may be available for students who are in their third and fourth year of undergraduate study in areas like science, mathematics, technology or engineering and, obviously, these funds which are available to these students can help meet the remainder of the costs that may be required for them to finish their particular degree in one of these fields.
Also, many students will fill out a FAFSA form this year may qualify for a federal Pell Grant, which has been beneficial for men and women that come from a low income background and simply cannot afford college costs out-of-pocket. Obviously, there are numerous students who may be unable to meet college costs without some form of aid, and even when these free federal grants may be unavailable, there are scholarships in not only generalized areas, like those for academic performance, but there are also scholarships specifically tailored to students who, again, may be pursuing a degree in a high-need field like science or mathematics.
Some of the best examples of financial assistance through either scholarships or grants are found in the area of teaching as there are federal assistance options like the TEACH Grant, which is a part of the Pell Grant program, but there are some state-specific scholarships and even national awards that can be helpful for future educators as well, provided these men and women agree to teach for a set period of time after they graduate.
While academic scholarships or institutional financial assistance directly from universities can be more common and widely known by college financial assistance applicants, looking for these specific grants and scholarship opportunities can also yield beneficial results as it could lead to more financial assistance funding or a single scholarship or grant opportunity that could meet the entirety of a student’s costs for college. Students need to understand that there are cases where loans may be necessary, but if proper research habits are conducted by students looking for aid to help them avoid borrowing there are opportunities that may go beyond what many feel may be available and could provide the funds that will at least allow a student to borrow a smaller amount in student loans, if some form of financing is still needed after these opportunities for free financial aid have been exhausted.