Learn how scholarships work and how they can help pay for your community college education.
A scholarship is a great way to pay for part or all of your community college education. Whether you have a special talent, have outstanding grades, are a member of a minority group, or have a financial need, there's a good chance that you may qualify for one or more scholarships that will help you pay for your education. There are a number of different types of scholarships available. For example, some scholarships are awarded to students for volunteering and for performing community service. Other scholarships aim to help students going into specific areas of study, such as education. Still other scholarships seek to help students who have experienced some kind of hardship, such as the loss of a job.
Many scholarship sponsors look at various outstanding qualifications as their award criteria, so you don't have to be a straight-A student to qualify for some scholarships. In fact, there are a number of unconventional scholarships out there, such as ones for creativity, charity work, as well as skills in writing, photography, or dance. Exceptional scholars and average students alike should consider applying to those scholarships that best fit their grades, needs and talents.
Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with a track record of outstanding academic performance. In order to be considered for a merit-based scholarship, a student must meet certain requirements such as a minimum GPA or minimum standardized test scores. This type of scholarship tends to be highly competitive, however, some community colleges offer automatic scholarships to encourage
Learn how college learns work and how you can use them to finance your education.
Embarking on a community college experience can be overwhelming for many students. After all, rising costs of education can quickly eat away at your savings or your earnings from a part-time job. For this reason, a loan may be just the answer you've been looking for. An educational loan can help you pay for community college, allowing you to work towards your degree without the added stress of wondering how you will pay for it. A student loan can be repaid over time, once you've completed your education.
It is important to keep in mind that borrowing money is expensive, even if it is in the form of a government-subsidized loan at a relatively low interest rate. If you have any money saved, or are able to work and attend community college part-time, these may be some great options to avoid having a large amount of debt upon graduation. Only you, your parents, and possibly a financial advisor can determine the borrowing/savings scenario that is ideal for you.
Types of Loans
There are a number of different education loans available, each one uniquely tailored to address the needs of certain individuals. When the federal government offers loans to students, these loans usually have low interest rates. The Stafford Loan is the main vehicle by which the government loans money to students. Stafford Loans are further broken down into two subcategories:
- Subsidized - In this case, the interest on your loan is paid by the government while you are still in
What are college grants? Learn how they work and how you might obtain them for your college education.
The burden of financing your community college education can be eased slightly by the various Grants that are offered by the Federal Government. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be repaid once you have completed your community college education. Grant money is, essentially, free money. It can be used to cover tuition costs, books, and other school-related expenses. Navigating through the federal Grant world can be time-consuming, but it is well worth it as an investment in your education and your future.
The federal government gives Federal Pell Grants as a gift to those students who qualify based on need. The amount of the Federal Pell Grant varies from student to student and depends partially on the cost of tuition. Many students will also be happy to learn that eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant does not depend on your GPA or any other achievements. It does, however, depend on these other factors:
- Recipients must have a US Citizenship
- Male recipients must show proof of their Selective Service registration
- Recipients must have their high school diploma or a GED
- Recipients must be enrolled in any undergraduate school
- Recipients may only be awarded one Pell Grant in any year (Schweitzer 2007 - 1).
The financial aid office of your community college is likely to administer certain aid programs, all aimed at reducing the financial burden on students. In addition, most states also have a need-based grant program that is administered through the local colleges. Your local community college may also have certain grant programs that are
Learn about the different financial options you have for affording community college.
Embarking on a journey of higher education can be exciting, confusing and stressful all at the same time. To help with the financial aspect of education, current and prospective community college students are in a unique position to choose from various forms of student aid available. As you navigate your way through the myriad of financing options out there, let this overview help you in making the right decisions about financing your education.
While the average college tuition rates are rising fast across the country, you may be pleased to learn that the average cost of tuition at a community college is just under $2,300 per year (American Association of Community Colleges 2007). Although this cost is relatively low when compared to 4-year institutions, many students still find themselves looking for ways to finance their community college education. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that most parents are either unwilling or unable, for various financial or personal reasons, to finance all of the costs of sending their child to a community college.
You may be surprised to learn that there are over 1,200 community colleges across the country. In fact, 11.6 million students, just under half of all U.S. undergraduates, attend community colleges. Of those students, 47% receive some sort of financial aid (American Association of Community Colleges 2007).
The federal government alone provided more than $78 billion in various types of aid to college students last year (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Although there is some indication that financial aid increases
Learn how to evaluate and choose a community college that is right for you.
Many things factor in one’s selection process when choosing a community college. After briefly introducing you to these factors, we will discuss each factor in detail in turn. Here are some of the selection criteria that students consider when investigating community colleges:
- Why are you going to school?
- If you plan to continue with a four year degree, what type of articulation agreements does the community college have with four year colleges?
- What type of coursework do you need?
- Is cost an issue?
- Do you want or need a virtual campus?
- Do you have a four year college in mind?
- Location, Location, Location!
- On Campus Activities
- Student Support
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail now that we have introduced them to you.
Most people attending a four year college go with the sole target of getting a four year bachelor’s degree to help prepare them for their professional career. But with community colleges, students attend for different purposes.Many students attend to get a two-year degree. There are, however, other end goals for students including:transferring to a four year college, getting a high school diploma, remedial education including “English as a Second language, personal growth, professional certification, or workplace required continuing education.” While nationwide statistics were not available, numbers are available by looking at records that BellevueCommunity College in Bellevue, Washington, collected from 2002 to 2004 on the purposes that their students reported for their enrollment intent. The following statistics is from their Fall 2004 student population (the statistics do not total 100% probably due to rounding
We report on the recent increases in Stafford Loan Rates, which have led to some community colleges across the country discontinuing this option for financial aid.
Attending college is expensive but there are options for financing beyond just student loans. Keep reading to learn more.
College is expensive enough without the added cost of medical school on top of it. If you're on a pre-med track, consider taking some of your prerequisites at community college. Keep reading to learn more.