Incoming students must understand that there are serious costs associated with funding a college education, with most four-year colleges and universities costing over $100,000 to earn an undergraduate degree.
One of the best options for students struggling to finance their education is scholarships, which are financial gifts that do not need to be paid back. Scholarships are available in a variety of forms, typically from specific schools, private companies, and public institutions.
In addition, the federal government has devoted close to $30 billion to funding post-secondary education in the United States - offering students a series of education loans and grants to encourage the pursuit of higher education.
Since college-based scholarships can be very generous, students should always approach their intended college about awards based on need, athletics, academics or other criteria. More common though are private college scholarships from outside organizations, which are often times just as generous and often less competitive.
Students should be sure to look both locally and nationally, as many worthwhile opportunities may be found in the most unlikely of places. Students can consider their personal talents and unique abilities to locate and apply to as many appropriate scholarships as possible.
Most experts agree that applying early and applying often is the most efficient way to maximize the free scholarship money a student is able to receive, thus minimizing the amount of student loan debt incurred after graduation.
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