With federal student loan debt currently $1.5 trillion and private student loan debt at $119 billion — it’s more important than ever to find free money to help pay for college. After all, graduating into debt isn’t something any student wants to do.
The first step in getting free money for college is filing The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). This government form is used by states, colleges, universities, and other organizations to award federal financial aid.
While this form does serve as an application for federal loans, it is also the key to accessing “gift aid” like grants, work-study programs, and scholarships.
What is gift aid?
Gift aid is money that students do not have to repay unless they withdraw from school or fail to meet eligibility requirements (such as Satisfactory Academic Progress).
Grants are a type of aid given based on financial need. The FAFSA® application determines Pell Grant eligibility. Students can review eligibility requirements and apply for additional grants at grants.gov.
Work-study programs are available for both graduate and undergraduate students. These programs allow students with financial need to work part-time and earn money to help pay for their education.
Unlike traditional jobs, students who participate in this program do not receive a paycheck. The money earned goes directly to the school.
Scholarships are a form of gift aid that is awarded based on merit as opposed to financial need. While some scholarships are directly awarded from schools, most need to be applied for separately through various organizations or institutions.
Many scholarship databases are available for students to build profiles and find scholarships they’re eligible to apply for.
Free money is out there if you know where to look! If you need help searching for scholarships or filing your FAFSA®, we’re always happy to help. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.