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.