The skinny on free money

A post secondary education can be very expensive. Most students attending college hope to receive some kind of grant or scholarship to help ease the financial burden. This is natural - after all, who doesn't want to complete their education with as little debt as possible? Unfortunately, not everyone receives the funding necessary to complete their education. While loans and other types of repayable tuition assistance are available, keeping your eyes open for any free money opportunities will greatly increase your chances of graduating debt-free.

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Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships

Both government and school-supported grants, bursaries and scholarships will come with conditions and modifications. As long as you meet the conditions and you continue to meet them throughout your schooling, you'll be able to receive the money offered. These monies can range into the thousands of dollars, and may pay your basic tuition fees outright. However, many scholarships carry the condition that you must apply for student loans first.

Unless you're a particularly exceptional student with the type of qualifications and experience that schools are competing for, you'll probably have to finance at least part of your education through student loans, which means a lot of time spent on financial aid applications. Be sure to fill out the forms carefully and correctly, for the most expedient results.

Although debt may be unavoidable, there's certainly no harm in learning all you can about grants and scholarships that may be available to you. The fastest, easiest way to learn is by using the internet. There are a number of different websites that allow you to create a profile and will search for grants and scholarships that meet your needs and qualifications as they come available. It can be time consuming, but you need to familiarize yourself with:

  • the scholarship application process
  • finding minority and other scholarships that might apply to your particular situation
  • finding unusual scholarships

The most important part of your scholarship search is the application process. Again, it's critical that you do everything right in this process, that you miss no steps and that you complete all the forms properly. After all, the job of scholarship judges is to reject scholarship applications - don't make it easy for them to throw out yours!

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