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nancy Said,
August 16th, 2013 @8:26 am  

Sally Mae is a company that offers some private student loans and services some federal loans. They do have a scholarship search engine and they used to offer some scholarships to students (not sure if they still do–check on their website).

In general, the first step is to complete a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can do this for free at www.fafsa.ed.gov. (DO NOT go to www.fafsa.com–this is a commercial site that will charge you about $80 for doing the same thing). The FAFSA will determine what federal grants and loans you are eligible for. It is also used by colleges to help determine what aid they can offer you from their own endowments, so it is very important to do it even if you think you might not qualify for federal grants. You can find lots of information about financial aid programs at www. finaid.gov.
Beyond that, there are many, many scholarship programs you can apply for. Start in your guidance office and ask for a list of local organizations that offer them. Watch your local paper for announcements. Check the websites of organizations you belong to or that represent things that are connected to you such as race, ethnicity, religion, hobbies, professional organizations, etc. Scholarship search engines such as FastWeb help, but be prepared to do a lot of digging on your own.

Good Luck!

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Juanaquena Said,
August 16th, 2013 @9:24 am  

Sallie Mae offers private student loans (which have much higher interest rates than Federal student loans which can be made available after a student completes and submits the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid – http://www.fafsa.ed.gov )

To echo some of the advice given by Nancy . . .

If you are still a high school student, first hold conversations with a high school counselor and learn all you can about financial aid for college/university (grants – money that does not need to be paid back, loans – money that does have to be repaid, with interest, and scholarships – money that does not need to be repaid and which is often awarded for merit – high grades – or a special skill.)

If you are planning on attending a college/univ. Fall 2012, be sure to complete and submit your FAFSA soon. Again, be sure to learn more about the FAFSA (soon) from a HS counselor.

Also, learn about how to select the best, most cost-effective college/univ. for you by talking with a HS counselor. Locally funded community colleges and state government funded universities are the most cost-effective schools for the students who live in the CC service district and the students who live in the state where the universities are located.

The Education web site of the well-respected publication US News and World Report has a good section entitled Paying for College, with links to good articles about financial aid and ways to pay for higher education. This is the link to the Paying for College site:
* http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college
Be sure to click on some of the article links and read them in full.

To learn more about student financial aid, click on the following links and read all the info given on the web pages of Student Aid on the Web (part of the FAFSA web site – http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/index.jsp ):
* http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/preparing.jsp
* http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/choosing.jsp
* http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/funding.jsp

There may be locally funded scholarships just for students graduating from your high school or for students within your area. A HS counselor should know about them. Ask.

You can also look for scholarships for which you may qualify/to which you may wish to apply by using what I think is the best, most reliable database: Scholarship Search offered by the well-respected College Board:
* http://apps.collegeboard.org/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp
Click on the Start link in the middle of the text.
If you choose to register (free – registration is not required to use Scholarship Search) so you may return later and modify your search strategy, feel secure that you will not receive spam emails. A HS guidance counselor can advise you on using Scholarship Search and give you tips on how Do not select too many defining terms in your search strategy, which may result in a poor scholarship search result.

Many colleges/universities* have scholarship/grant funds (funds that do not need to be repaid) for just their own students. Staff members of the colleges/universities may need the info from your completed FAFSA or may need a completed CSS Profile (from the College Board – http://sitesearch.collegeboard.org/?q=css+profile&searchType=site&x=11&y=10 ) to determine if you will be awarded any scholarships/grants. Scholarships generally require excellent high school grades or college/univ. grades. You can telephone the Financial Aid Office of the school(s) you wish to attend and ask about scholarships or look for info about them on the school’s Financial Aid web pages.

*By colleges/universities I mean: local taxing district funded community colleges, state government funded colleges and universities, and private and independent colleges/universities (not to be confused with for-profit/career/proprietary colleges, which first and foremost are businesses with the main focus of earning profits for their shareholders.)

Please keep in mind that for the 2012-2013 school year the deadlines for applying for some scholarships have already passed or are coming up quickly.

Also, many, many other students will be applying for the same scholarships and only a few or maybe just one will be awarded. Please do not pin all your hopes of higher education financing on being awarded enough scholarship/grant funds to cover all your college expenses.

I do hope you have been saving any gift money and earnings – as much as possible for a number of years.

Librarians–Ask Us, We Answer!
Find your local Public Library at:
http://www.publiclibraries.com/
Find your College/University Library at:
http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/Academic_main.html

Best wishes

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