Ease your mind!!
|Don't know how to pay for college? Don't sweat it.|
Don't panic if your family doesn't have all of the financial resources you need to pay for college; there's a wealth of financial assistance out there to help you. Start by learning as much as you can about the many financial aid programs that are available, then talk to the financial aid offices at the colleges you're considering. They are there to help!
Louisiana has one of the nation's best tuition assistance programs, TOPS, but there are also hundreds of nonprofits, organizations and businesses that have scholarship programs to help you.
There are four main types of financial aid you should know about:
• SCHOLARSHIPS (including TOPS), which are based on merit and usually do not have to be repaid;
• GRANTS, which are typically based on need and do not have to be repaid;
• LOANS, which can come from state, federal or private programs and do have to be repaid;
• WORK-STUDY, which means your school or the government helps you find a job to contribute to educational expenses.
Your college itself is the best source for seeking financial aid, which is why you should never eliminate a college from your “short list” solely because of price. College financial aid officers spend all of their time working in this area and they know what's available. The financial aid office at your college or other postsecondary school will help you put together a “package” of aid that may include institutional scholarships AND loans AND other aid.
If you think you will need aid beyond your family's contributions, your first option should be scholarships. Organizations from state to local to national have a variety of scholarship programs for people just like you. For example, you can brainstorm a list of all the affiliations you or your parents have (employers, banks, clubs) and inquire about scholarships.
Corporations are also very benevolent and recognize hard-working students. Here are some examples:
• Discover: discoverfinancial.com/community/scholarship.shtml
• Kohl's: kohlscorporation.com/CommunityRelations/scholarship/index.asp
• Marriott (for students pursuing degrees in the hospitality management, hotel management, culinary, and food and beverage fields): uncf.org/scholarships or hispanicfund.org
• Burger King, Have it Your Way Foundation: haveityourwayfoundation.org/burger_king_scholars_program.html
• LeBlanc's Food Stores (scholarships for students in the Louisiana parishes where LeBlanc's operates): braf.com
• Coca-Cola: coca-colascholars.org/page.aspx?pid=347
Word to the wise: Start your scholarship search now! By February, most scholarship deadlines have passed and the money is drying up!
Finally, ease your mind by going to LouisianaConnect.org to learn more about college costs, financial aid and scholarships. But don't take our word for it. Get it straight from the LOSFA Trailblazers:
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