Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You, Yes You, Can Go to College for Free

It's been quite a while since I've written here, but I've found some inspiration to write this post since this subject is something I have to explain to people on a regular basis.

So many people are amazed when they hear that my wife and I go to college and don't pay a dime.  So many people claim they either can't afford to go to school, or don't know how or where to start.  For anyone that doesn't know I will state it here....grants and loans are readily available and easy to get, you just have to put in the SMALL amount of effort to get it done.  "Yeah but don't you have to pay that back?" is THE most asked question that comes next.  To explain this you have to understand the types of financial aid available.

Grants are financial aid from the Government that you receive based on your income, and you do NOT have to pay these back.  Depending on your situation, you can attend school using grants alone to pay for tuition and books.  Also available if need be are loans from either the school you choose, or also numerous other financial institutions.  Personally I only went with loans from my school since the interest rates are very reasonable and the entire process is very easy and workable.  You DO have to pay loans back, but not until 6 months after your graduation from school in most cases.  And keep in mind, you are going to school to earn a degree that will help you get a better job/income, so this is an investment to better your situation in the long term.

Now the big question that everyone seemingly wants to know...."Where do I start?"  Many people get this info., and even though they claim they wish they could go to school for free like I do, they STILL never follow up on it.  All that is required is to obviously go to your school of choice and register (this can be done online on the school's site, just follow their instructions,) then go to FAFSA.gov (which is the website for Federal Student Aid) and fill out the info.  THIS is how you get the ball rolling, all the information you fill out determines how much aid you are eligible for.  These 2 simple steps can get you in college, and at no cost.

Keep in mind the information I have provided is for the Federal Student Aid site, but there are tons of ads out there offering loans and grants for college.  Some of these ads could be trying to talk you into high interest loans and taking things in a confusing direction, so be sure and do your research if you are going to look into any other grants and/or loans.  If you are unsure and just want to stick with the actual government grants and loans, stick with FAFSA.gov.  And keep in mind, ALL schools have a counseling office for the express purpose of helping you!  If you are 100% lost on the idea of college, 1 trip to a counselor can answer all your questions and point you in the right direction.

So there you have it, college for free, available to just about anyone that isn't making 6-7 figures, and in the case do you really need financial aid?  I will answer any questions in the comments below if anyone still finds any of this confusing or would like anything clarified.

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