How to Find More Cash for School – 9 Financial Aid Options

As an undergrad, I financed my way through college with grants and student loans – but there was a time when I didn’t have enough money for basic living expenses.

Sure, I had a place to live on campus, but I didn’t have much money for anything else.

So if you ever find yourself worried about financing your education (like I have), here are some ways to cover your college tab:

Federal Pell Grants
The Federal Pell Grants are financed by our federal government – and typically get awarded only to undergrads. These don’t ever need to be repaid. It’s essentially free money to attend class. The maximum amount of money you may get is $4,731 (through June 30, 2009).

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
The SEOG grants are paid to you to help cover your financial needs. These can be awarded to both part-time and full-time students. Grants range between $100 and $4,00 per year (depending on need).

Stafford Loans
Stafford loans need to be paid back, but the interest is subsidized while you’re in school And you don’t need to start paying it back until 6-months after you graduate.

Federal Perkins Loans
The Perkins loans are available for both undergrads and graduate students. Interest rates on these loans is about 5% right now (03/08). Undergrads can get up to $4,000 per year, and graduate students can get $6,000 per year.

College Scholarships
There are tons of free college scholarships out there – it’s just a matter of taking the time to apply. Some people think that you have to have a perfect G.P.A. to qualify, but that’s not the case. There are thousands of scholarships based on other factors; including: athletics, community service, arts, etc.

Plus Loans
You may not know this, but you can get a loan to cover the cost of your education through your parents. Your parents are allowed to borrow the amount of money you need to cover the cost of your education (minus any other financial aid you receive).

Veterans Administration
You don’t have to be a military veteran to qualify for a financial aid. If you’re mother or father served in the military, you might qualify to get some financial help for school.

Company Assistance Programs
I work for a company that is paying my way through graduate school. And I’m not alone – there are many corporations that will pay for schooling and training of its employees. Most of the time you need to work fulltime, which can be a strain on study time – but it relieves the stress of paying the semester bill.

Social Security
I know you probably think social security is only given to older people, but that’s not the case. Social security payments are available people up to age 18 for unmarried students with a deceased parent or a parent who is disabled or drawing social security benefits.

Where to Buy Cheap College Textbooks – 29 Nifty Websites

Classes are starting up for me this week, so that means I need to start ordering my textbooks.

Buying textbooks is always a pain because of the inflated costs involved.

Last semester, I had to buy a 150-page textbook written by my professor that cost $97 used. And Im sure that cost doesnt surprise you.

Textbook prices are out of control – especially after reading on Digg.com that textbook prices have risen almost 186% since 1986.

However, there are plenty of places online to buy textbooks on the cheap.

Here are 29 places to buy cheap textbooks:

Abebooks.com
Free shipping and a way to shop 13,500 online booksellers at once.

Addall.com
Addall.com compares textbook prices across the web. It provides you with all the fine details – like taxes and shipping involved for each store.

Affordabook.com
Find discounted textbooks and novels.

Alibris.com
Alibris will connect you to independent booksellers across the United States. You can find some great deals here.

Allbookstores.com
Compare prices across hundreds of bookstores affiliated with Allbookstores.com – which looks a bit like Amazon.com.

Amazon.com
Ive bought and sold my textbooks through Amazon.com many times. You can get connected to some independent sellers who offer great rates on used textbooks.

BetterWorld.com
Fund literacy, care for the environment, and save money on textbooks with BetterWorld.com. They even offer free shipping. Check out their prices.

Bigwords.com
This website is a book search engine that aggregates prices of textbooks across the web.

Bookbyte.com
Another website that allows you to buy and sell used textbooks.

BookCloseouts.com
Cross your fingers and pray that you can find a discounted textbook here. You can find some amazing deals.

BookFinder.com
Lifehacker.com recommends this book search engine to find cheap textbooks.

Books-A-Million.com
A site similar to half.com – which allows you to buy discounted textbooks and novels.

BuyUsedTextbooks.com
Buy and sell used textbooks

CampusBooks.com
CampusBooks.com claims to save students 58% on average on textbooks. Prices include tax, shipping and coupons.

CampusBooks4Less.com
Another bookstore search engine to find cheap books.

Campusi.com
This search engine compares textbook prices on over 200 online bookstores.

CollegeSwapShop.com
This nifty website allows you to buy, sell, or swap used textbooks.

CompareTextbooks.com
A cool spot to get price comparisons on your textbooks at different websites.

Chegg.com
Chegg.com allows students to rent college textbooks – instead of paying the high cost of buying them at your campus bookstore.

DirectTextBook.com
This websites compares textbook prices across a bunch of popular online stores like Ebay.com, Half.com, and Amazon.com.

Ebay.com
You might be surprised to find your textbooks on sale at Ebay.

eCampus.com
eCampus.com provides a place to buy and sell discounted textbooks. Youve probably seen their ads in your campus newspaper.

FreeloadPress.com
Ive never used this service, but they offer free textbooks in return for completed surveys. These textbooks have ads in them – which help pay the cost. Leave a comment if this service is legit or not.

Half.com
Ive found some great discounted textbooks here.

Halfvalue.com
This is a typical buy & sell used textbook website.

iChapters.com
Save the environment and your money by purchasing only the book chapters you need to read as an eBook.

Textbookrevolution.org
A website thats beginning to archive links to free textbooks across the web. A very cool project!

TextbookX.com
You may have heard of TextBookX.com because they have a handy Facebook app that allows students to buy and sell directly through your profile. Ive never used this service, but leave a comment if you have. Im curious if it worked for you.

ValoreBooks.com
ValoreBooks.com promises cheap textbooks for students.

And dont forget about these free online textbook resources:

Any other websites you recommend should get added to this list?

Cheat Sheets

Heres a list of some helpful cheat sheets from around the web . . .

Algebra Notes
23 pages filled with every formula and rule you need to know for Algebra.

Algebra Cheat Sheet
A down and dirty guide to Algebra – in just 4 pages. Theres even a shorter cheat sheet here.

Calculus Cheat Sheet
6 pages of Calculus notes to help you master Calculus.

Chemistry Cheat Sheet [pdf]
This pdf provides a list of math and chemistry tips.

Computer Science Cheat Sheets
10 pages of theoretical computer science formulas.

English Grammar for Dummies
Somebody uploaded the entire English Grammar for Dummies book. Get the pdf while its still available. 388 pages.

Geometry Fact Sheet
Everything you need to know about Geometry.

GMAT in a Nutshell
A helpful list of info to help you prepare for the GMAT exam.

GMAT Tips
Grad Student Mirna Safi developed this document to help others study for the GMAT.

Grammar Cheat Sheets
Franklin provides you with a quick and dirty cheat sheet covering some of the most common grammar errors students make.

Law School – Bar Exam Cheat Sheets
35 pages of notes to help students pass the Bar exam.

MCAT Mnemonics
A giant list of mnemonics to help you prepare for the MCAT.

Pharmacology Notes
A huge list of pharmacology terms.

Physics, Calculus & Astrophysics Cheat Sheets
Harvard student Friedman provides everyone his personl cheat sheets in Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Optics, Relativity, Astrophysics, and tons more. Everything can be easily viewed or saved as a jpg.

Physics & Calculus Cheat Sheets
Dana provides his personal cheat sheets in Calculus and Physics. These are zip files that you can easily download.

Physics Final (Cheat Sheet)
A student posted his personal cheat sheet for his High School physics exam. Its complete with problems from the test.

Trigonometry Cheat Sheet
All the Trig formulas you need to know.

Vocabulary Cheat Sheet
This pdf is designed for those preparing for the GMAT, but will also help for the GRE. 96 pages.

Can you recommend any others?

101+ Web Resources for Students

Im in the middle of writing a lengthy paper – and Ive discovered a bunch of useful websites.

Here is a collection of over 100 web resources that you might find useful as well:

Almanacs

Biographies

Dictionaries

Encyclopedias

General Research

Journal Article Databases (Free Access from Campus Library)

Literature

Social & Economic Issues

Statistics

Style Manuals

Yearbooks

Free Online File Conversion Websites

There are tons of free online file conversion websites out there, but some act a bit buggy at times. Check out these sites the next time you need to convert a file—and let us know how it works for you.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite online file conversion sites:

Zamzar.com
Zamzar.com allows you to convert almost any type of format—from documents and images to music and videos. This site is great if you want to download YouTube videos and convert them to mp4s so you can watch them on your iPod.

Vixy.net
Okay, this site is mainly for converting online videos so that you can play theem on your PC, iPod or PSP. It converts files pretty quickly. All you need to do is paste the URL of the YouTube video, and then select what type of file you want.

We’ll keep adding to this post as we receive more recommendations . . .

Free Online Graph Paper

We really love this free graph paper generator. You can create your own custom graph paper online and then print it out. You can specify the color, the number of squares, the line weight, and the document size.

Yeah, we know it’s geeky to like graph paper, but we think it’s cool. Besides, you never know when you’ll need to graph data. Okay, maybe you’ll never need it, but now you know where you can get it.

Get Answers to Your Questions with These Websites

Here are a bunch of websites to help you find answers to all your questions:

AnswerBag
AnswerBag is similar to Yahoo Answers except the questions are always open for answering. They have a community of over 175,000 members posting and answering questions on a variety of subjects. You can ask any type of question from shopping advice to medical questions. It’s a shame this site isn’t as popular as Yahoo Answers. It definitely deserves to be.

Askville
Askville is Amazon.com’s version of Yahoo Answers. It’s a very simple website that acts much like all the others. You post a question and wait for an answer. Nothing really unique here.

BitWine
Bitwine is a pay-per-call service that allows you to use Skype to ring up an expert about whatever topic you’re interested in. It’s free to make the calls, and charges only begin after you and the expert agree on a price. The BitWine website makes it very easy to find bios and reviews about the various experts in their directory. Check out their tutoring section . . .

Ether
Ether.com is a place where experts are available 24-hours a day to answer whatever question you might have. Instead of posting your question in a forum, you call a free phone number (1-888-MY-ETHER) and you pay to talk to an expert (per minute). The only problem with this website is that it’s a bit difficult to find a list of people to ask questions to. The only way to find an expert is to sort through their directory of blogs. This is not a very user-friendly way to find help.

LiveQnA
This is Microsoft’s version of Yahoo Answers. MSN members quickly respond to your questions trying to provide you with the best answer possible. MSN did a nice job with the design of this website. Very easy-to-use.

Qunu
Qunu is a website that will connect you with an expert to answer your question through instant messaging. This is a great way to talk one-on-one with someone familiar with the topic you need help with. Not only are experts available 24/7, but they volunteer their time for free.

Oyogi
Oyogi has a very nice Web 2.0 look and feel. However, finding answers to common questions seems a bit difficult. Its also difficult to find answers to previously asked questions. Overall, this site is pretty weak.

Uclue.com
This site is managed by researchers who used to answer questions at Google Answers. You post a question with a price then wait to see if a researcher wants to answer. This might take some time to get the answer you want, but youre pretty much guaranteed a solid answer.

Yahoo Answers
Yahoo Answers is a website that allows Yahoo members to post and answer questions on practically any topic imaginable. The quality of answers you’ll get really depends on who’s interested in answering your question within a three day period. The best part about Yahoo answers is that it’s free and you can get answers from a variety of people within minutes. The only problem is that questions are closed after three days, which means better answers can never get added.

Yedda
Yedda is very similar to Yahoo Answers: where it’s free to post questions, and free to read answers from the members. Yedda has a pretty cool tagging system to find questions related to the topic youre interested in. Explore the topics.

Here are a bunch of others:

  • All Experts – Experts answer your questions on a variety of topics
  • Ask MetaFilter – not very user-friendly, but worth a shot
  • The Answerbank.co.uk – Q & A site based in the United Kingdom
  • Ask A Linguist – Working on a paper that requires help from a linguist? This is the website for you.
  • Ask Me Help Desk – This site operates much like a forum: people post questions and then wait for someone to answer their question. This isnt the best site to find previous answers from people.
  • Blurt It! – People post questions on a given topic and then wait for people to vote yes or no. Its intersting to see what people think, but not very helpful when you neeed a concrete answer on something.
  • I Recognise That – I Recognise That is a place where people can ask or answer questions about anything and everything. Someone that asks a question can also upload a photo to help illustrate that question.
  • JustAnswer – Ask experts a question and then set a price on how much the answer is worth to you.

Social Networking Hacks

So Ive been spending a lot of time researching online social networks for my grad project – and I stumbled across a variety of websites that aggregate online social profiles.

These sites allow you to manage multiple social network accounts and keep tabs on what youre friends are doing online.

Digsby
Digsby helps you organize all your email, instant messaging, and social networking accounts. This is only available for Windows right now.

Fidgt
Fidgt aggregates friends in your email address book all into one spot. One of the nifty features about this site is the Network Visualizer that allows you to create tag magnets to see who in your network is posting items about that subject youre interested in.

FriendFeed
Keep tabs on what all your friends are doing online with FriendFeed. You simply import your email address book and then FriendFeed scans the web looking for Amazon wish lists, diggs, flickr accounts, linkedIn profiles, blogs, social bookmarks, etc. This should be called SpyFeed.

Fuser
Fuser allows you to manage multiple email/inmail accounts (even within your online social networks). Theres even a social network leaderboard that shows you which of your friends on MySpace and Facebook communicate with you most (for whatever thats worth).

HelloTxt
HelloTxt allows you to simply – and very easily – update your Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook, and MySpace pages with the click of a mouse. You simply type in your message into a text box, and then submit it off to whatever networks you choose. Pretty simple.

Iminta
Iminta is a website that allows you to create unique feeds for your various online activities. For example, you can create a specific feed for your best friend that only aggregates info from your Facebook, Flickr, and MySpace page, but it wont pull in the articles/websites that your digging, bookmarking, or voting on.

MyLifeBrand
MyLifeBrand allows you to manage up to 8 of your online social networks – like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn – without needing to log into each one. You can also easily gather all email/inmail messages from across all the social networks you belong to. This can save you a lot of time.

Ping.fm
If youre an online social butterfly and like to post the same information in your Facebook account, Twitter, Tumblr, and/or WordPress blog – then Ping.fm is for you. You simply add your content once – and Ping.fm will add the same content for you across all those networks.

Socialthing!
Socialthing! is in private beta right now, but it aggregates all the activity from your friends once you import your email contact list. It will grab their flickr accounts, twitter updates, blogs, pownce info, and give it all to you in one nifty looking news feed.

Soup.io
Soup.io helps you keep updated on what all your friends are doing online (sort of like a Facebook news stream), and easily allows you to import all your activities from del.ioio.us, digg, youtube, flickr, tumblr, etc. You can also upload videos and images into your Soup.io page.

Spokeo
This is another spy website that allows you to track everything your friends are doing online. It aggregates their StumbleUpon data, digg votes, flickr account, facebook profile, myspace updates, etc.

Twitter Tools: 80+ Ways to Tweet

I just start twittering – and I recently discovered a bunch of nifty tools and resources to make Twittering more productive and more interesting.

Check them out . . .

Twitter Search Engines

Terraminds
Search tweets or twitter profiles.

TweetScan
Archives all public tweets and makes them easy to find.

Twitterment
A search engine for twitter.

Twitter Search
Search tweets by topic in real-time.

Twitter Resources

Commuter Feed
Get traffic updates from other Twitterers.
PollDaddy
Create polls in Twitter.

ReTweet
Set an alarm for things you want to remember by retweeting.

Track This
Track your FedEx or UPS packages in Twitter.

Twits Like Me
Find twits that have similar interests as you.

TwitterAdder
Add your username and password and youll get 20 new followers automatically.

TwitterLocal
Find twitterers within 20 miles of where you live.

Twitter Notes
Create notes and tag them in twitter.

Twitticious
Allows you to automatically transfer all our shared links from Twitter into your Delicious bookmarks.

Twerpscan
Learn more about the people following you – and find out who to block from reading your Tweets.

Twubble
Find popular twitterers that your friends follow.

Who Should I Follow?
Simply enter your Twitter name and it will make recommendations on who you should follow.

Twitter Desktop

MadTwitter
Its the Windows version of Twitterrific.

Spaz
An open-source Twitter client available on all AIR-compatible platforms: Windows, OS X, and Linux.

TikiTwit
Tweet from iChat.

Twadget
Twitter from Windows Vista desktop.

Twidget
Twitter from your MAC Dashboard.

Tweetahead
Free MAC widget that lets you tweet messages from your desktop (and schedule a time when it should post).

Tweetr
Tweet directly from your desktop – works on both MAC and PC.

Twhirl
Twhirl is a free desktop client that allows you to use Twitter like an instant messenger. It makes URL shortening, contacting friends directly, and reading tweets very easy.

Twinja
Twitter from your desktop (MAC & PC) – built on AIR

Twitteroo
Quickly shorten URLs and tweet from your desktop.

Twitterrific
MAC desktop application for tweeting that costs $14.95.

Twitter Aggregators

Crowdstatus
This web application allows you to group all the people you like to follow on Twitter – and formats all the tweets into one page.

Gridjit
Lets members view the tweets of all their friends in one giant grid. Its sort of like seeing Tweets from your different friends divided into different boxes on your iGoogle page.

GroupTweet
This lets users send private tweets to a specific number of friends.

Notches
Users send a tweet to @notches – along with a topic to review – and it gets posted on their Tweet stream. Check out the site to see the reviews and how to format your tweet if youd like to participate.

Summize
Find out what people are talking about on Twitter by topic. Simply type in a topic – and youll find out what people are tweeting about. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed about any of these topics so youll get instantly updated.

Tweet Clouds
This site allows users to create word clouds based on tweets from a Twitter stream.

TweetVolume
Find out how often certain words are mentioned in Twitter.

Twist
Its Google Trends for Tweets. Pretty cool.

Twitori
Find out who is tweeting with the words: love, hate, think, believe, feel, wish.

Twistory
This is currently in private beta, but it allows members to sync their twitter messages into their favorite calendar (iCal, Google Calendar).

Twitter Blocks
A visualization tool that lets you see recent updates from a users friend and their network.

Twitter Digest
A manageable way to read twitter updates from a variety of people. You can either visit the site or create an RSS feed to send it all to your favorite RSS reader.

TwitterMap
Its a Twitter zeitgeist. You can see a users location on a Twittermap.

TwitterTroll
Find out what people are saying about a given topic.

Twitterverse
See a tag cloud of topics that people are tweeting about right now.

Quotably
Quotably turns tweets between people into a threaded conversation so that conversations between users can be easily understood. As you know, it can be difficult following conversations when tweets are directed at one person, right? @yourname.

Twitter Link Research

Alpha Twitter
Aggregates a list of links shared by Twitter users. It ranks the links and shows an archive of the most popular links shared within the last day, week, and all time.

TweetMeme
Tweetmeme aggregates the most popular links being shared in between Twitter members and posts them on the homepage.

TwitLinks
Twitlinks is an aggregator that pulls in tweets from tech industry experts. Its a way to find out the buzz before it hits the blogs.

Twitturly
Tracks the links people are tweeting about. It ranks results based on popularity and freshness.

TwitterBuzz
Track what people are linking to right now.

Twitter Video/Pictures/Files

Seesmic
This is currently in Beta, but users can upload video directly from their webcam and post directly to Twitter by automatically posting a short video URL. It will soon allow users to record Skype video and chats.

Twiddeo
Post videos to your tweets.

Twit Plus (Twit+)
Allows users to send pictures, video or files privately to friends.

Twitter Profiles

TwitterHolic
Find out about the top 100 Twitter users, ranked by number of tweets, number of friends, and number of followers.

TwitDir
Find out who are the top 100 followed, top 100 followed, top 100 favorites, etc.

TwitterWho
Search for people on Twitter via email.

Twitter Mobile

EmailTwitter
Post Twitter updates without incurring SMS fees through email.

iTweet
This mobile site is for iPhone users.

iTwit
iPhone Twitter site.

jTwitter
View tweets and timelines on your mobile.

Remember the Milk
A web application to let you tweet on the go.

Fring
Free mobile calls and free access to twitter.

Jargong
Twitter on your smartphone.

Twapper
WAP-based interface for Twitter.

TreoTwit
Twitter on your Treo.

TwitterBerry
Twitter on your CrackBerry.

Twitter Flashlite
Twitter from your cellphone.

Twitter for Blogs

LoudTwitter
Automatically publishes a daily post on your blog that contains a digest of all your tweets.

Twitter Feed
Twitter feed will check your RSS feed at a specified time and then will post a snippet to your Twitter. Its like having Twitter on autopilot.

TwitThis
TwitThis is a nifty little button that you can add to any of your blog posts. When clicked, it will allow visitors to immediately Twitter about your blog post with a TinyURL attached.

Twitter Tools
This tool integrates with Twitter by allowing you to create a blog post from each tweet. It will also allow you to post your tweets in your sidebar. You can also post a tweet from your WordPress Admin screen.

Twitter Widget
A WordPress widget that allows you to add a single widget to your sidebar which will display Twitter updates.

Twitgets
A sidebar widget for WordPress that reveals your Twitter friends timeline.

SimpleTwitter
A WordPress plugin that shows your most recent Tweet on your blog template.

Twitter Widget Pro
This widget works for WordPress blogs and handles twitter feeds. You can pull in the feed from one user or all the tweets from your friends. It also displays profile images.

Twitter Firefox Plugins

Ludicrous
Publish updates to Twitter from your Firefox search bar.

Firefox Search Bar
This nifty plugin allows you to submit tweets directly from your sidebar.

Power Twitter
Embeds flickr pics and youtube videos right on the Twitter page youre viewing. It also unwinds tiny urls and maps links to their full titles.

Shareaholic
Easily share links in Twitter.

Twitbin
Another sidebar plugin that lets you post tweets.

Twitterbar
Post tweets from your address bar – not search bar. Click on a small icon on the right of your address bar to see how many characters youve written.

TwitterFox
Publish and view your tweets.

TwitterNotifier
Find out when youre friends update their Twitter profile with this small icon located at the bottom right corner of your Firefox browser.

TwittyTunes
This plugin will automatically list the song youre listening to when posting a tweet – it can also show what website youre on. You can turn this functionality on or off when tweeting.

Tweetbar
A sidebar plugin for tweeting.

Have You Heard of Desktop Two?

Desktop Two is a cool web application that lets you have your own personal desktop (or webtop) on whatever computer you’re using.

This webtop allows you to store files, use open office applications, play games, read your email, chat, and whatever else you like to do. It’s essentially your own remote desktop that you can access whenever you want.

And the best part is that it’s totally free. Check it out.