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What are the Different Types of College Tuition Assistance?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2018
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The cost of education should not be a deterrent to a dream of obtaining a college degree. There are many different types of college tuition assistance available for those who qualify, and almost everyone should qualify for at least one type. Just a few types of college tuition assistance available include scholarships, grants, loans, employer-sponsored assistance, and military tuition assistance. It is best to begin researching these opportunities as soon as possible.

The first type of college tuition assistance is a scholarship. Scholarships may be available directly from universities, or from private entities. They may be based on financial need, academic merit, extracurricular activities, athletic ability, or even ethnicity, just to name a few. A scholarship may vary in amount from just a few hundred dollars, enough to buy a meal plan for the semester, for example, all the way up to a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, and board. Many students are able to acquire more than one scholarship for college.

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The next two types of college tuition assistance go hand-in-hand: grants and loans. Students may determine their ability for federal grants and loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based entirely on financial need, the FAFSA will determine if a student is eligible for grants, which do not need to be paid back, or for loans, which will need to be paid back after graduation. Grants typically do not cover the entire cost of college, and it is usually necessary to add a loan. When combined with grants and scholarships, however, it may be possible to get a smaller, more manageable loan.

Another popular avenue for college tuition assistance is that which is sponsored by the employer. Employers might offer tuition assistance to their employees who want to pursue degrees in related fields; business or accounting, for instance. Generally, an employer will require that an employee work for them for a specified amount of time, and then they will pay a percentage of tuition; it may only be a small percentage, or it may be the entire amount. Again, be sure to research every option fully, and discuss any questions with the employer.

Finally, tuition assistance from the military is available. Each branch of the military offers tuition assistance, but the programs contain a number of specific stipulations that should be discussed with a recruitment officer before enlisting. With effort and research, most people should be able to find a way to fund their college education with various types of tuition assistance.

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