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Financing Your College Education

Oct 26, 2007
Most people will agree than a college degree is the most important factor in securing your future. Receiving an education from a college or university allows you to have a career that might otherwise be out of your reach. One of the stumbling blocks many prospective students come across is finding the funds to pay for their college education. A college degree isn't cheap and someone needs to pay for it. You need to decide if it will be you or someone else.

Scholarships
A scholarship is typically a merit-based monetary award provided by a college or a foundation based upon some predetermined criteria. Scholarships are not only for great athletes or excellent students. There are many scholarships available based upon community service, standardized test scores or other criteria.

Scholarships don't have to be repaid, which is the good thing. Some scholarships are one-time awards and others may be renewable yearly. Most renewable scholarships require students to maintain a certain grade point average. Otherwise, the scholarship may be lost.

Grants
Grants can be given out by the government or by private organizations. The main difference between a scholarship and a grant is that grants are usually awarded based upon financial need or some other type of criteria other than scholastic achievement. However, there are some exceptions.

Most grants awarded by the government are based upon need. It must be determined that you cannot pay for college on your own, based upon your family income and the cost of the education.

There are a limited number of grants available, so not all applicatns will receive a grant.

Military Funding
If you, your spouse, or either of your parents are currently members of a branch of the military, or have been military members in the past, you may be eligible for military funding for your education. Military funding is similar to scholarships and grants in that it does not need to be repaid.

To find out if you are eligible for military funding for your college education, check with your commanding officer.

College Fund
Your parents or other relatives may have set up a college fund for you. A college fund is contributed to over the course of several years and it is used when you decide to enroll in college.

The amount of money in your college fund may not cover all your college expenses. If it is not enough, you can suppliment it with another source of funds.

Student Loans
Taking out a loan is one of the last ways you can fund your college education. The main drawback of student loans versus other funding is that the loans must be paid back once you receive your degree. usually the benefits of your education will greatly outweigh the cost of the loan, making it a realistic way of funding your higher education.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for Finance 123. Please visit us at Business Credit Cards and Personal Loans
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