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I've applied for many scholarships, but haven't won any yet. What other financial support can I find to help me pay for college?

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My family supports my education and are proud of me for pursuing an engineering degree. College is very expensive though, and my parents and I are going to be in debt for many years if I can't find some external financial support. My parents are retired and live on a fixed income, so any support I can win, and not have to reimburse, will help lift this financial burden we will have. #scholarships #financial-aid #scholarship #grants

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Amy’s Answer

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Hi Rachel, I'm not sure what kinds of scholarships you've applied for yet, but I would look into ones that have some kind of essay component. My understanding is that those have fewer people applying since they require more work. That might up your odds. You may also want to look at AmeriCorps programs, especially if you are considering the nonprofit sector. You'll gain great experience and they provide education awards after your year of service. The downside to this is that you would either have to take time away from school to do your AmeriCorps service or take out loans for school and pursue this when you're done. I've done both the NCCC program and the VISTA program, and had great experiences with both. Here is the link for more info: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

Another thing to consider if you do end up taking out loans for college is the program offered by the government for public service loan forgiveness. Once you graduate, you must work for a nonprofit for 10 years while making payments consistently on your loans. At the end of the 10 years the balance of your loans will be forgiven. You can use an income-based repayment plan so if you aren't making much money once you graduate, your payments will likely be small. The program is specifically for government student loans and not private loans. Here is the link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

Sorry I don't have more info on scholarships you can apply for now, but know that there are other options out there.

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Dear Ms. Spencer, Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question. Your suggestions are excellent, and introduced me to organizations and programs that I was not aware of. I have already talked with my parents about these options, and we will be investigating them more. It was very helpful to hear that you were involved in a couple of the programs, and that they were positive experiences. Thank you again for your input!
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Happy to help Rachel! I know how tough it is to have to figure out how to pay for college and then carry the burden of student loans for years after. Another option I just thought of is looking into doing some work at a community college before moving on to a more expensive 4-year school. You'll have to take a lot of general education classes anyway, and it's a lot cheaper to do at the community college level. Best of luck to you!