Myth: I Don’t Need to Look for Scholarships, My College Will Provide Financial Aid

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Flickr user Dan Phiffer

When it comes to scholarships, there are three major sources: the federal government, the colleges, and outside organizations / individuals. While colleges can indeed provide hefty financial aid packages that can greatly reduce your tuition cost, they probably won’t be able to cover the full amount.

Find Colleges For Scholarship Search

Scholarships are the best way to pay for college, hands down. By filing the FAFSA, you become eligible for government scholarships and grants. Your college will also send an award letter to you detailing what sort of institutional scholarship you’re eligible for. However, you should still look at outside opportunities.

Every little bit counts. Even smaller scholarships can add up and save you a ton of money in the long run. You don’t have to pay back scholarships, after all. But you do have to pay back loans, with interest. So it’s best if you exhaust your gift aid opportunities before even considering loans.

Fortunately, there are countless outside scholarship opportunities if you know where, and how, to look. There are local scholarships around your hometown, national competitions with big prizes, there are scholarships dedicated to your major studies, and scholarships offered for your hobbies, interests, talents, race, religion, sport, pretty much anything. Get searching!

Financial Aid is a Collection of Sources

You likely won’t get all of your college funding from one source. Instead, it’ll be a collection—your parent’s college savings, federal grants, institutional work study, outside scholarships. It could be a mix of merit and need-based aid. You should spend plenty of time seeking out these opportunities, it can save you thousands in the end. Anything to avoid creating too much student loan debt.

But if you’ve exhausted your scholarships, it’s important to find the right student loan that fits your situation—and to educate yourself on how they work. With College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder, you can compare lenders and interest rates side by side.

Allison Wignall

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