Ways to save for college: Scholarship, grants

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by C. Washington
For New Pittsburgh Courier

Scholarships aren’t just for athletes and academic students. Scholarships and grants are two of the ways you can get money for college and save. Every student can apply, be offered, and get a scholarship. There are many scholarships and the student can apply for all.

“Scholarships and grants are a great way to pay for college because they give students the opportunity to attend college without incurring debt. Scholarships encourage students to perform well, academically, in high school,” said Alesha Council a high school transition counselor at City High.

Most scholarships are given to students based on academic merit. The most common national scholarships are: Coca Cola scholarship, the Gates Millennium scholarship, the Horatio Alger Scholarship, the Dell Scholars Program and NEED. National grants that are most commonly used: Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, ACG Grant, and the SMART Grant. But, there are thousands of scholarships available to students of various academic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.

Colleges that students apply to may be another source when looking into receiving scholarships. What financial packages the colleges offer will determine how much out of pocket the student or family will have to come up with. This should have a lot to do with the selection of a college.

“Many colleges and universities offer school based scholarships,” Council said. “The application process will vary depending upon the school. It is important that the students ask questions about the scholarship process at each school.”

Besides colleges themselves, students are able to locate scholarship in a variety of places, most notable the internet. A few sites include: http://www.collegeboard.org, http://www.finaid.org, and http://www.fafsa.edu.gov. Other places students can go to get information on scholarships are local libraries and through their school guidance counselor.

In some cases students can receive more scholarship funds than needed for school. All the money from the scholarships received can be used in various ways.

“Students are eligible to receive financial aid up to the cost of attendance,” Council said. “Which is usually more than tuition room and board. In these cases students will receive a refund to purchase books and pay for additional living expenses while in college.”

Scholarships do not have to be used all at one time. Students have the ability to defer their scholarships to another school year or graduate school. In most cases, scholarships are given directly to the school and money does not go to the student.

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