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Can you really go to college for free?

My family is middle class but still can't afford to send me to college. I can't afford loans and my family makes to much for financial aid. #moneyproblems

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Michael’s Answer

Catherine,


I was in your same circumstance before I went to college. I'll give you some ideas I have then I'll share what I did.


How student loans work:

When you take out federal student loans you don't start to pay on the loans until AFTER you have either quit school or graduated. You will get a 6 month grace period from the last day of classes before having to pay loans back. All of this info can be found on fafsa.gov. Everyone, regardless of financial circumstances, is eligible to receive federal loans up to a certain amount per year. Talk to a counselor at any school about these concerns, they will be able to give you specific advice for your situation.


Ideas:

You can attend a local community college for a much lower price tag than a university to get your associate's degree (the first two years of school). If you do well enough, you may qualify for scholarships when you transfer to a 4 year college. This way you are only paying for 2 years of the expensive university tuition instead of 4.


My Journey:

I attended a really inexpensive 4 year university and worked as hard as I possibly could to get an academic scholarship there. Then I got some work experience, saved money, and went to a more well recognized university for a master's degree.


There are ways to get an education if you really want to do it. Getting it for free would depend on what types of scholarships a school is willing to give you. This will require talking with counselors at the schools. You can simply call the school, tell them you are interested and they will send you information. You can also take tours of schools and get these exact questions answered.


Good luck!


-Mike




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Lydia L.’s Answer

Just because your middle class does not disqualify you from applying for Financial Aid. Pell Grant is based off of income you would need to apply to see if you qualify. Loans are available for all students. You have the subsidized and unsubsidized loans that can pay for most of your college expenses. Remember college is not free you will have to contribute to get the education you need.

Lydia L. recommends the following next steps:

Apply for FAFSA ( Pell Grant) @ FAFSA.ED.GOV
See if you qualify for Federal Student Loans. @ STUDENTLOANS.GOV
BEFORE YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA. YOU WILL NEED TO CREATE A USERNAME AND PASSWORD @ FSA.ID.GOV
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Olena’s Answer

To add to Mike's answer, if the particular school you'd like to attend doesn't happen to offer too many scholarships, there are tons of organizations that give out scholarships and grants and you can easily find them online! Of course, some scholarships are needs-based but there are PLENTY of others that are based on things like merit, community involvement, major, location, race, religion, interests, participation in the military, having been affected by a natural disaster and many more!


Here are some resources to help you in your search:


https://yescollege.com/post/scholarship-databases

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search

https://www.scholarships.com/

https://www.fastweb.com/


Good luck!

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Veronica’s Answer

It could depend on which country you are in.

Veronica recommends the following next steps:

Do your research
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Douglas’s Answer

This is a difficult question to answer. In short, yes it is possible however the need based test is significant. Complete the FAFSA form and any school you apply to will let you know

Also, consider a student loan. Depending upon your career choice, a college degree will allow you to earn significantly more over your working career than without it

Douglas recommends the following next steps:

Fill out FAFSA
Consider a college loan.
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Katelynn’s Answer

If you fill out the FAFSA (to go to college in the USA) you can receive GRANTS from the government and optional LOANS to accept if you want.
The difference between grants and loans is that you do NOT ever have to pay back grants. They are similar to scholarships in this way. You DO have to pay back loans; depending on the loan you choose you can pay it back while you are in school OR not pay it back until 6 months after you graduate.
The maximum amount of GRANTS you will receive from the FAFSA is a little over 5,000 a year (which is split into semesters) and if you sign up for summer classes they will reimburse you about 1,000 maximum.
My family is also middle class (dad unemployed, mom works) and I put my dads information down. You can choose to put only one parent down so this is what I did.

I was able to go to community college with no out of pocket cost but I did accept loans that I will have to pay back to pay for what the grants could not.

Hope this helps!
KH

Katelynn recommends the following next steps:

Apply for FAFSA
Submit all financial aide documentation to your school(s)
Wait for reward offer, then accept or reject
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Erin’s Answer

I would like to add that some private schools that seem really expensive will make an education affordable for students with their endowed funds or institutional aid. So, keep an open mind about all the opportunities. Community college, 4 year state related, 4 year private. Apply for all types of educational funding starting with the FAFSA, any state grant offered by your state, as many outside scholarships as possible and apply for all institutional scholarships. Most institutions will send an award notice that contains the funding being offered so you can determine what education is most affordable. I don’t think this has been mentioned yet but the military offers educational benefits. My sister choose this option and it was perfect for her. She served her country and got her college education paid for with little to no loans to repay.
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