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What are some ways to pay for my possible Financial Aid Gap?

I am a high school junior who is very excited about going to college and become a doctor with a minor on education but I am concerned that the money will be an obstacle to achieve my goals in life. In my college readiness class we are measuring our possible net price, amount of money we would get from grants, loans and scholarship but after getting a large amount I still have a large amount of financial aid gap that I need to pay. I need help! #college #medicine #education #money #financial-aid

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Tina’s Answer

One option to consider is to look at attending a local community college or less expensive university for the first two years to fulfill the type of core requirements and basic courses you would need within your area of interest. Looking at the univeristies you would eventually like to attend whe you focus on your major, you can discuss with a counselor or look online at their transfer of credit processes. Most community colleges also have agreements and strong relationships with major universities in their area or state as well. This significantly cuts initial costs.
Once at university, look for additional opportunities for grants or scholarships that may assist in your overall assistance. It is amazing the number out there and even gaining small awards for $500 or $1000 can go a long way helping with costs, food, books, etc. There are several websites that lists available assistance you can apply for and the requirements for that particular award. A good Bing or Google search for "Scholarship and Grants for College" will pull those up for you. It will sometimes affect your FAFSA loans and amounts, but if sizable enough, it may be more beneficial to take the scholarships or grants ( sometimes ongoing if certain grades are maintained) than the full FAFSA amount.
Also, look into work/study programs at the school of your choice. Those often are jobs within the school and more apt to work around class schedules semester to semester.
Good luck.

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Catherine’s Answer

First, when you are admitted to a university, if you applied for financial aid they will tell you how much you need to pay on your own. Then you need to start thinking about what your real options are.

I filled my financial aid gap with private student loans. These are not as attractive as loans from the department of education.

Other options include working extra jobs during college, finding paid summer internships, continuing to apply for scholarships (some allow current college students to apply). However, if you find you cannot fill the gap even with some of these in place, you may need to attend a less expensive university.