After making a budget that shows how much you can afford to spend on college and looking at tuition costs, you might wonder why you should apply to colleges outside your financial reach. If you can only spend $5,000 a semester on your schooling, why would you apply to a college that charges $30,000 a year for tuition alone? The simple answer is, that you will find a variety of different aid packages that help you pay for tuition, textbooks and all your other expenses.
Federal Student Aid
As soon as you receive a single acceptance letter from a college, you should hop online and fill out the FAFSA. This free application uses your financial situation, including how much your parents can help, to determine the type of assistance available to you. According to Federal Student Aid, the federal government can help you pay for college through the use of grants, loans and work study programs. With a work study program, you can make minimum wage or more than minimum wage simply working for the school on campus.
You should apply to colleges outside your financial reach, because you can take advantage of specific financial aid programs that are only available in your state. These programs offer grant packages and other support to students who reside in the state and agree to go to college in that state. Many public colleges now offer scholarships to new students who live in the state that pay a small portion of their expenses or a significant portion of their tuition costs. There are also programs that agree to pay for the cost of your schooling if you agree to work for the state or local government after you graduate.
Even if you think that you cannot afford to attend the college of your dreams, you should still apply. There are a number of organizations in the country that offer scholarships and grants to students in need. You might apply for unusual scholarships open to those of a certain age, those who are left handed or even those who golf or take part in other sports. Many fraternal organizations offer scholarships as well. If your parents are members of any specific organizations, find out if those groups offer scholarships or financial help to the children of members.
Another reason why you should apply to colleges outside your financial reach is because these schools often offer financial support to students who could not otherwise afford to attend. Major colleges across the country send out acceptance letters and then go over each application to determine the amount of need that each student has. The school may offer you a job on campus that comes with free tuition, give you a grant for majoring in a specific subject or award you a scholarship based on the grades you received in high school. Many schools also offer small stipends for incoming freshmen that range from $200 to more than $1,000.
Related Resource: Common Application
College is expensive, but you shouldn’t base your future on how much you have in the bank. Grants, scholarships and loans all help you afford your tuition. You should always apply to colleges outside your financial reach and look at the types of financial assistance available based on your grades and other circumstances.