Four Sources of College Funding in Plain English

January 28, 2012

Money For College - Four Sources of College Funding in Plain English
by Dr. Kuni Beasley

Here are four sources of college funding:

1 -- Merit Aid is "money" the college awards you based on your academic, athletic, or artistic abilities. There is really no such thing as a football scholarship. These are officially grants-in-aid where a dollar figure is credited to the students' account. Merit Aid is simply the college waiving normal costs to the college in exchange for the student's attendance or participation in college activities.

2 -- Need-Based Aid -- This is calculated based on the information submitted using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Need is defined as the difference between what the FAFSA people determine what your Effective Family Contribution (EFC) should be and the total annual cost for the college. The difference between the two is the Need and you can access federal, state, and college based programs to fulfill the Need amount.

3 -- Entitlement Aid -- This is often missed because many people -- including those who are supposed to know -- don't know. You may have entitlements based on your geographical location (in-state tuition vs. out of state), past military service (like the GI Bill), special category (like the blind, hearing impaired, foster children or children of deceased fire, police, or military members), and special status (mothers going back to college, Native Americans, people training to be teachers). Beyond these categories lie the vast gamut of government loans that virtually anyone in the United States (citizens and legal residents) qualify to receive.

4 -- Private Source Aid -- One of the big tools scholarship scammers use is the abundance of private scholarships that "go unused" every year. There are many thousands of private scholarships awarded each year. Many are made through a particular college, or, like the National Merit Scholarship, awarded to the student, but dispersed through the college, or, in several cases, a check from the private provider is simply presented to the student. Most of these are tied to academic performance, but many are targeted to specific groups -- ethnic, gender, national origin, activity, etc. For example, the National Achievement Scholarship parallels the National Merit Scholarship, but targets African-American students. See Scholarship Scam Articles here.

Conceptually, we seek multiple methods of college funding to reduce the amount of your money that comes out of your pocket in order to pay for college. We seek more ways to pay less through grants and scholarships, to defer for payment later (loans), or to get costs discounted or waived, in order to keep more of your money in your pocket.

Kuni Beasley, Ph. D., College Professor, High School Dean, and College Counselor.
No matter what I wrote above, it doesn't mean anything if you don't get into the college you want or have to go into debt up to your eyeballs to do so. Contact us to see how we can help 1-888-237-2087 ext. 2.

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