Regardless of the nature of your academic institution, is it possible you will run into a need for financial assistance at some point during your educational journey? Most students are familiar with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which can be used to apply for federal student loans as well grants and scholarships are not required to be paid back. What many students may not realize is that there are other forms of assistance available as well.
If you're a registered resident of the state in which you're attending college, then you may qualify for assistance from your state. The best way to find out what's available is to contact your state's department of higher education. You can also speak with the financial aid office at the school where you're enrolled, and depending on your community, may even find help from local organizations. For many there are local scholarship and assistance opportunities available as well. Common internet searches can yield numerous public and private local organizations offering various scholarships for different reasons.
To qualify for any financial aid, however, you must first meet these basic requirements:source:www.fafsa.ed.gov/
1. For state assistance, you must have been a resident in the state in which you're applying for at least 12 months.
2. You have to meet certain academic requirements.
3. You must be a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident.
Of course, defaulting on student loans can lead to horrible consequences, such as significant drops in your credit score, disqualification from many positions and even wage garnishments(http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/). Always keep in mind that many student loans are backed by the federal government.
While each state will have their own unique programs available, most scholarships are intended to assist home-grown traditional students looking to move directly from high school into a Bachelors' program. There are, however, many programs available for nontraditional students as well. Some of the criteria that may typically be associated with these types of assistance are academic merit, military affiliation, ethnicity, special talents, major or department, financial need and even special funds appropriated for the children of emergency service personnel killed in the line of duty. Many states also offer loan forgiveness programs, which would mean that a student would use their degree to work at a full-time position within the state for an agreed-upon duration to eliminate some or all of their student loan debt.
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