Simply looking at the tuitions of certain colleges can be enough to make some students wonder how necessary college actually is, but the money is there. One of the primary ways of obtaining enough money to attend college is through a scholarship. For those students with perfect GPAs or outstanding athletic ability scholarships offering full tuition and room and board might be a possibility. For the majority of students, however, smaller scholarships are available for everything from volunteering at a hospital to being left-handed. There are also scholarship lotteries, though these tend to be highly coveted and the odds of actually winning one are akin to the odds of the actual lottery.
Regardless of age, most students who begin or return to school in need of aid will receive some from the federal government. The rationale for the government is that an educated, skilled citizen benefits the country, and so they offer aid to students trying to better themselves. Furthermore, these loans are paid with interest, meaning that the government actually makes money off of loaning it out. Though this is not an exhaustive list, some of the most popular means of receiving government money for higher education is through a Perkins, FAFSA, Direct Stafford, and Direct PLUS Loan. These all come with varying rates of interest and dates at which they must begin to be paid, from the month after the loan is approved to a year after graduation.
College Controlled Aid
Any aid received via a college’s student aid website, the disbursement of which is therefore under the control of the college, is considered, appropriately, college controlled aid. These loans can come in a variety of forms, some of which begin to be repaid a year after graduation, some of which, like grants, never have to be repaid. Grants and fellowships, however, are usually earned through deeds or circumstance, such as a grant to someone demonstrating a need for increased financial aid, or a fellowship for demonstrating an exceptional skill of GPA in a certain field.
Student Profile-Based Aid
For a variety of reasons, schools will offer aid to prospective students based on gender, sexual orientation, race, being disabled, or coming from another country to attend the school. The aid is a means of ensuring diversity within the school, helping those who might possess the grades but not the funds to attend, and as a way of ensuring the school receives the best students available regardless of race, sexual orientation, disability, or nationality.
Aid for Graduate & Professional School
Institutions, including the federal government, know that once a student finishes four years of college, he or she most likely does not possess the funds necessary to continue that education into graduate school. Therefore, there are many opportunities available for those students. Often there are specific loans intended for students looking to go into specific types of graduate schools, such as law, medical, or business school. Furthermore, Stafford Loans, campus-based aid, and other methods for obtaining money for school do not end when a student graduates with a Bachelor’s degree. Finally, if the student opts to become a teacher’s assistant or in some way teach undergraduate students or assist a professor in his or her research, the student can often receive a stipend for his or her work.
Aid for Elementary & Secondary School
Private schools are an important part of any education system, introducing a level of competition inherent in capitalism. For those who can afford it, an education from a top-tier private primary or secondary school can mean providing an education from an institution with a prestigious reputation. The downside, of course, is cost. Some private schools can cost as much as colleges, and for that reason financial aid, though difficult to attain for its rarity, is available. Approximately 20 percent of students receive financial aid based on need, but there are many scholarship and voucher programs for students wishing to attend a private school.
Aid for Specific Activities
Scholarships are awarded for a wide swath of activities. Of course the most notable of these are sports, and men and women have been receiving scholarships for excellence in competition for decades. The less notable though no less valuable to the student in need include scholarships for winning certain contests and for studying abroad. With the worldwide push for increased knowledge and innovation in science, there are scholarships available for simply choosing to study the subject. There are also scholarships available for studying nursing, engineering, journalism, etc.
The European and American systems of education continue to be drastically different, and this is certainly the case in how students pay for their education. Whereas in America scholarships are the norm, European students can often seek a sponsor, a private benefactor willing to pay for a student’s education in part or in full. American companies such as MyRichUncle have come about imitating the European system, offering financial aid to students in return for a percentage of that student’s income for ten years after graduation, but this idea did not work out and MyRichUncle filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after reverting to more traditional student loans.
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