Getting into college is one intimidating and frustrating process in itself. If you need to talk about financial aid, then it feels as if this insurmountable pile of documents stacked in front of you just got many more sheets of financial documents dumped on top of it. Stressful, right? Choosing a college is potentially a huge life decision. Yet, there’s so much uncertainty behind it.
You may be the getting recruited to wrestle in college, but how much can the coach actually help you? You may get some scholarship money this way, but is it enough to cover everything? Are you sure you want to roll the dice by leaving it up to wrestling alone?
How do you know you’ve done everything in your power to make college affordable? Chances are, you weren’t born into a trust fund or have an inheritance from a rich uncle (but if you did, that’s great too). That tuition bill just seems to go higher and higher. In this post, I’ll help you break down potential sources you can receive financial aid so you can at least get some peace of mind as far as what’s in your control.
Financial aid typically comes from four main sources- college, student loans, government grants, and scholarship organizations. We’ll cover each of these.
College scholarships can be broken down further into two categories: need-based and merit-based. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to applicants with high academic standing. Need based scholarships, however, are based on how much financial aid you’ll need to attend college. This is why they make you send in all those documents and profiles that disclose your financial information. Each college approaches scholarships differently, so be sure to check their financial aid page on their website or their financial aid packet for their policies.
Student loans typically come from a bank or institution. While it certainly is an option, use this as a last resort once you have all your other options on the table. Scholarships and grants are free. Student loans accrue interest and need to be paid off.
As a United States citizen, you are also eligible to receive financial aid from the government. This comes in the form of grants and is another viable option for financial aid. It probably won’t cover all of your tuition, but it’s usually a decent chunk of change.
This is where things get very interesting. If you play your cards right, this could be your ticket into college, and you could earn yourself a full ride. Applying to these scholarships can be time consuming as some scholarships only give a few thousand dollars at a time, which means that you’ll have to apply to several scholarships. However, free money that comes in the four figures range is always nice. I’ve heard stories of people getting over $100,000 worth of scholarships by applying to every single scholarship they could qualify for.
Generally speaking, you are automatically considered for college-based scholarships and government grants if you send in all the paperwork required. In most cases, getting a student loan approved isn’t too difficult either. However, you’ll need to be proactive in terms of applying to scholarship organizations if you want money this way. The sooner you start this process, the less overwhelming it’ll be.