Paying for college is expensive these days. Some students struggle with having enough funds to pay for school, and that can result in a pile-up of debt.
College Board reported that the average cost of fees and tuition for the 2017-2018 school year was close to $10,000 for residents who went to public colleges, $35,000 at private colleges, and $26,000 for students who lived out of state and attended public universities.
Not everyone can afford to pay this much in tuition and would prefer not to apply for student loans. Even though college isn’t going to be less expensive anytime soon, there are still ways you can afford it. Here’s the secret to avoiding student loan debt (or at least reducing it):
There are many scholarship opportunities on the web that can help you pay for your tuition. You may need to work extra hard to research and apply for scholarships, but it’ll pay off in the end.
So, let’s get things underway.
Check out five of the most powerful scholarship websites, and remember, there are many more where these came from as well!
This free scholarship search site is established and powerful. Plus, it’s also updated daily.
For starters, set up a profile. You’ll need to set up an account to find out which scholarships are available to you on the site.
After setting up a profile, it’ll be easy to browse the site with ease by looking up different scholarships under different categories.
Since there are so many scholarships listed on the site, this calls for coming up with ways to narrow down searches:
- Consider creating a shortlist.
- Use the criteria search to your advantage and filter through scholarships that may be a better fit than others.
2. College Board
If you’re looking for an incredible website resource that has multiple tools in addition to tons of scholarships, head over to College Board.
A few features on the site include college search tools, articles, and test preps.
Worried about SATs?
College Board offers free SAT practice tests on their site. Taking these tests can help students feel more confident by the time the test rolls around.
New scholarships are added to the site annually, and College Board updates their website with any changes every month.
Oh, and if you’re interested in reading any books to help you with college planning, they have an online store.
3. Sallie Mae
In the past, SallieMae was primarily known as a site that mainly offered loans. Now it is one of the most well-known scholarship sites online.
After setting up a profile, try out the “Scholarship Search” function and narrow your search by selecting colleges you want to attend.
While on the site, take advantage of the many calculators they have that will help you plan financially for college. One of the calculators is called the “College Planning Calculator,” and it helps you figure out how much to save for college.
Remember to keep eyes on the scholarship prize and not be tempted to give up and get a loan while considering all your scholarship options.
If you don’t qualify for a scholarship through Sallie Mae, it may be time to move on to another site.
FastWeb is a free scholarship site that makes it easy to sign up as a member and browse their scholarships, internships, articles, and more.
They update their site daily, which makes it convenient to check out the latest and most exceptional scholarships. This feature makes them one of the most popular scholarship search engines on the web.
Look around the site by typing in a desirable deadline and amount in their search field.
If there are any scholarships based on your criteria, you can also have emails sent to you.
If you’ve heard of College Prowler, then you should know that the site renamed itself to Niche.
First of all, Niche makes it easy for students to learn about individual schools based on other student reviews.
Due to its highly-organized categories, it’s convenient to browse the site.
It also doesn’t require you to sign-up, which is a nice feature if you don’t want to be bothered with setting up another profile.
The site makes it simple to search with its simplified categories such as career, major, sports, and more. It also does an excellent job of helping students find scholarships that meet their needs, including no-essay scholarships.
So go ahead and use this powerful resource to your advantage as you quickly navigate Niche based on its simple interface.
Checking out these websites is a good place to start hunting for scholarships.
But don’t forget to visit the direct websites of the universities you are interested in attending. Not every school offers merit-based scholarships, but if they do, don’t be afraid to apply. Who knows? You may receive a scholarship that covers your tuition for all four years of college.
If they don’t list scholarships on the university website, you try contacting the department of the major you’re interested in. They sometimes have separate scholarships that are available.
Bottom line: Leave no stone unturned during your scholarship hunt. In the long run, cutting college expenses will be more than worth it.