Author: Ryan Laspina
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Start a degree program at American Public University.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews, APUS
There are a variety of ways to pay for your educational expenses, but scholarships and grants are one of the best options available. In most cases, they provide funds that you do not need to pay back.
For many (including myself), earning scholarships and grants is a great way to attend college without accumulating large amounts of student loan debt. But what is the best way to find scholarships and grants?
Contact Your Financial Aid Representative
Your best contact is always going to be a financial aid representative at the school(s) you want to attend. He or she can give you detailed information about the types of scholarships and grants the school may provide and accept, as well as your eligibility for them. Be sure to stay in constant communication with the financial aid department to stay up to date on all types of financial aid.
Search for Scholarships and Grants Online
If you’re looking for a scholarship or grant, check your school’s financial aid page or do a simple Google search. You can also go to studentscholarship.org and search for scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. Make sure that any online financial aid you pursue is legitimate and safe by confirming it with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) advisor, as there are plenty of scams on the Internet.
Be Sure to Fill Out Your FAFSA
Some scholarships and grants rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). So fill out your FAFSA as soon as it is available, which is the October before the award year. For the 2019-2020 FAFSA, that was October of 2018.
That will provide you with plenty of time to continue your search for scholarships and grants. Also, it allows your school to have more time to let you know your eligibility for financial aid.
Tracking Down Scholarships and Grants Is Worth the Effort
Finding scholarships and grants and applying for them is a lengthy process, but the work is absolutely worth it. Any help you can get from these funding sources will help reduce your debt after you complete your education. The funds will come as a blessing since you probably will not have to pay them back.
Take the time to do the research, talk to your financial aid advisor and fill out the applications. You will not regret it!