Finding funds for college is one of the most daunting tasks associated with college financial planning. Most people start with an internet search for scholarships. For many, this “simple” search turns out to be not so “simple”. Not only is it not so simple, but it can be dangerous, as there are many scams to avoid. However, if you do not search, you will not find. So today, let’s go on a hunt to find college aid funds. And let’s be specific in our hunt and investigate state aid.
Now remember there are only two forms of aid, gift aid and self-help aid. For more information on those types of aid, see our post regarding understanding your award letter. We are going to do this together. So go ahead and open up your favorite internet browser to your favorite search engine and let’s get started.
State Aid Search
You can start by doing a simple search of the words, “State college aid”. Search results will vary among search engines, but my search found 8 million results. Don’t worry, you won’t have to look at all of them. For a more specific search, insert your state’s name. For me that would read, “college aid for Connecticut”. This time, my search found 19 million results.
On the first page of my result, I see a site that was on both my searches. So, I am going to open it first. The site is collegescholarships.org. This is in no way an endorsement of this website, but rather, just a way to show you what I have found.
State Aid: Gift Aid
On this site, I discovered that there were many gift aid options available. Remember, gift aid is aid that does not have to be paid back. We usually refer to this kind of aid as scholarships or grants. For my state, there are a few options available, but they all carry some kind of restrictions. There is aid available for veterans; aid available for senior citizens; aid available to those who will be attending an in-state college. There are even some career specific offerings. Some of these offerings are tied to individual need, and some are not. If any of these state aid offerings apply to you, make a note and read the specifics. Make sure you make note of any deadlines for filing. When it comes to receiving gift aid, there is always some work to be done, but receiving the aid will be well worth the effort.
State Aid: Self-help Aid.
I also found some self-help aid information on this site. It appears that my state offers a really competitive loan option. I need to make a mental note to investigate this further to see if it will be a good option once all other options have been exhausted.
I would not settle to just investigate one site from our search result, but what you will find is that after a few sites the information will all seem the same. That’s because your state’s aid is the same no matter what site you view. It is just packaged a little different. By spending a little time searching, you could save a few thousand dollars in college costs.
Be sure to let us know in the comments section what you have found in you state aid search, or what other sites you may have found beneficial.