Many people believe that the best path to high-paying jobs and good careers requires a college or university degree. Unfortunately, the cost of a university program can seem prohibitively high to some, causing people to forgo schooling they qualify for and could benefit from, due to the tuition and living expenses. There are several ways to get financial aid for university, however, that can ease the financial burden and help students survive financially both in and after university.
One of the largest sources of financial aid for university is the government. In the United States, the federal and state governments run enormous programs providing grants and loans to qualified students. In order to apply for government financial aid for university, students must fill out a lengthy application with personal and financially data. Loans and grants from the government can fully cover the cost of a student's education each year, as the amount of money awarded is partially based on the school the student plans to attend.
Another major source of financial aid for university is the school itself. Most universities and graduate schools offer at least some financial aid programs for their students, often in the form of endowed scholarships. Students may need to meet certain qualifications to be considered for school-based scholarships, such as ancestry, place of birth, or particular circumstances such as learning disabilities or experienced hardships. Many other school-based scholarships are based on merit, and may require essays or letters of recommendation from teachers. Some scholarships may also based on financial need, and qualification may require family and financial histories.
For students who don't qualify for school-based or government financial aid for university, there is still hope. Many businesses, charitable and humanitarian organizations offer grants and scholarships to university students. One of the best ways to find these scholarships is by joining an online site that serves as a scholarship database. Many of these websites use detailed questionnaires in order to create a customized list of scholarships that fit the applicant. Questions about age, intended school, special skills and future career goals help determine what programs, grants, or scholarships fit the profile of the student.
Although the high costs associated with higher education can give anyone headaches, sources of financial aid can help. Many experts recommend that students focus on achieving scholarships and grants, and accept student loans only as a last resort. Student loans may defer payment of school fees until graduation, but the high interest and sudden transition into repayment may prove financially devastating for some. If loans become the only option, however, students should consider the benefits of the education and potential career before choosing to forgo getting that education. Scholarships are typically awarded annually, meaning that future years in the university may be less expensive as long as the student continues to diligently apply for aid.