Free money in college refers to scholarships and grants that a college undergraduate can use to pay school expenses. Some people are saying that as the government increases the funding to support higher education funding, the cost of attendance in colleges and universities across the country are also going up. This has lead to more and more student having to borrow to be able to earn a college degree.
ASA.org shares that 60% of the total average enrolled college students in America needs student loans to get to and stay in school. This percentage boils down to about 12 million out of the 20 million students needing either a federal student loan or a private student loan or both to pay for college. This need produces students with a college degree and multiple student loan types and amounts.
The need to repay them has been nothing short of challenging for student loan holders who are already separated for school and has entered the repayment stage. There are approximately 14% of the 37 million college debt owners are trying to get current on at least one past due student loan account. This means that around 5.4 million borrowers with past due loans can become delinquent and default on their payments.
This has lead to some extreme and crazy things borrowers repay their student loans. Some has left the country to try their luck in a foreign land earning more and paying less in taxes. There are those that are packing back home and staying in their old room to save up on rent and food. While some are trying to juggle two to three jobs just to be able to make ends meet especially with their student loan payments. This is where free money in college could have made a big difference.
Getting free money for college expenses
Not all families are able to build up a college fund for higher education expenses of the children. For those that do, their kids are going to have a relatively easier time with their finances compared to those that are graduating every year with college debt. But free money is available for those that does not have a 529 plan or a college fund under their name.
Free money refers to scholarships and grants that a student can qualify for in college. It is free money simply because it is free and the entity giving it to the student does not require repayment. Comparing it to student loans that has to be repaid at a future date, free money is given to the student for use in college expenses without a repayment clause.
Briana McGeough is a testament to the effectivity of free money as shared by Huffingtonpost.com. Not only was she able to use free money to pay for cost of attendance in college, she was able to graduate debt free. To top it off, she was able to graduate with at least $16,000 refund after college expenses from all the scholarships and free money she used in school.
Of course, free money has to worked on. It may be free but it certainly is not easy. It does not grow on trees where student can leisurely pick and choose whatever they want. Hard work is also needed in securing free money for college. It will require time and commitment from the part of the borrower to identify possible sources of the funds.
Scholarships are merit-based while grants are need-based. This means that a borrower has to show proof of financial need to qualify for a grant while scholarships can have a variety of qualifications. The most popular are academic and sports scholarships where student in high school who has sterling grades or a promising athletic career are give a free ride in college.
Here are some steps to remember when actively pursuing free money for college expenses:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. This is the primary step in receiving federal financial package. One of which are need-based Pell grants. It is important to fill out the FAFSA because in the absence of free money the a Pell grant, you can take advantage of lower interest rates in federal loans and probably some subsidy on interest payments while in-school.
- Small over big scholarships. There are some who prefer using one hour preparing for a big amount of scholarship rather than use it to apply to three to four smaller amounts of free money. The idea is to get a balance with the priority on the smaller ones where the chances of getting some is better that being turned down for a one time big amount application.
- Do not stop after year one. Once in school, continue to actively look for other scholarships or grants that you can use in college. Even when you are already in your second, third, or even senior year in college, you need to constantly be on the look out for free money. Especially so that cost of attendance usually increases as you progress through your years in college.
- Under the parent’s name. For parents wanting to build up a college fund for the kids, it is advisable to put it under your name first rather than your child because when financial aid put more importance on a student’s list if assets rather than the parents.
- Part time job. Consider looking for free money as a job. Treat it as if your are working for someone (yourself) and you need to continuously look up scholarships and grant providing companies. This might sound like a crazy way to pay for student loans but it can work to your advantage.
Here is a video about free money that can help you understand it better.
Extra tip in pursuing debt free college graduation with free money
With all the statistics that are around you on how graduates are wondering how they will pay for their student loans or the total number of the student loan debt, it might surprise you to know that the school also plays a big part in the total college expenses. With that being said, students should be open to the idea that first choice of schools might have to be changed to match cost of attendance with free money available.
Debt collection scams even with student loans
After Illinois filed a landmark case versus some debt settlement companies dealing with student loans, it couldn’t be even more evident that shady groups are present even with student loan industry. In fact, CNBC.com discussed recently how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are putting their foot down on illegal debt collections techniques that can include student loans among the rest.
The buy and sell of old unpaid debts, that can include student loans, is a common practice between and mostly private lenders. There are banks that sell to a collection agency. In turn, the collectors gets their hands on fresh piece of information on who owes money and how much they are behind for. Of course, there are other companies that are too quick to the draw and possibly forego background check on the debtor if they do still haven’t paid for the loan or it has been paid off before.
Free money is a great objective in paying for college expenses, It just takes commitment in holding on to the feeling that you do not want debt in graduation. But for those that had to lean on federal and private student loans, there are a few ways to detect college loan scams.