Financing a College Education

There are numerous ways to finance a college education. Check out the information and resources below. Be sure to start your financing inquiries early.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – This is available October 1 of a student’s senior year. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID with questions about FAFSA.
  • CSS Profile – Some institutions will require a CSS Profile. Only submit the CSS if it is required. There is a fee per college/university.
  • FinAid – Visit this site for information on grants, loans, college work-study, etc.
  • If you have specific questions about your offer or financial aid, contact the admissions and financial aid offices at the institutions on your list.

Searching for outside scholarships can be time-consuming, but very rewarding. You may need to apply for many to get one. Increase your odds by applying for local or lesser-known scholarships. There is no limit to how many you can apply for, so apply for all that are applicable.

The peak outside scholarship application season is December through March of your senior year. We recommend you apply early!

Many scholarships repeat year over year. Make a list of scholarships that you want to apply for and use that as your guide during your senior year. Don’t miss deadlines!

  • Watch for scams. You should never pay money to be honored with a scholarship. Do not pay any fees for searches or to apply for merit or need-based funds.
  • Policies vary by institution regarding outside scholarships. Some may decrease loans, institutional grants, or other sources of funding.
  • Continue the scholarship search process while you’re in college. Check out online search engines, financial aid at your college, and the department with your major.
  • Create a spreadsheet of possible scholarships that match your criteria. Include name, deadline, requirements, website, etc. Sort in deadline order and stay on top of it!
  • Your employer
  • Your parents’ employer
  • Church
  • Community foundations
  • Associations related to major(s) or interest areas (e.g., Society of Women Engineers)
  • Local civic organizations (e.g., Elks, Daughters of the American Revolution)