Find how to pay for college using 5 non-federal aid options. Plus, get tips for managing student loan debt.
Getting a college education can be difficult, especially when you don’t have enough income or savings to pay for it. This is the second episode in a 2-part series about how to get financial aid for you or your college-bound children.
In Part 1, I discussed the main types of student financial aid that come from the federal government. In this episode we’ll cover 5 non-federal aid options, plus tips for managing student loan debt.
5 Types of Non-Federal Student Financial Aid
The types of federal student aid that I covered in Part 1 of this series include grants, work-study programs, and loans. But there are even more ways students can get financial help to pay for college.
There are 5 main sources of non-federal student financial aid: state government aid, school aid, scholarships, private loans, and peer-to-peer loans.
Many states have programs that allow you to attend a university in another state, without having to pay expensive, out-of-state tuition.
1. State government financial aid is available from just about every state’s education department. Most states have at least one grant or scholarship for residents—and many states have a long list of student aid programs. Eligibility is typically limited to residents who attend a school in their home state; however, that’s not always the case. Many states have programs that allow you to attend a university in another state, without having to pay expensive, out-of-state tuition. These are called tuition exchange or reciprocity programs and they can save you a bundle!
To find out what’s available in your state and how to apply, visit the National Association of Student Financial Aid and Administration’s website at nasfaa.org. They have an interactive map where you can click on your state and learn more.
However, most schools have their own non-federal aid programs offered on a first come, first served basis. Some are based on financial need, but others may depend on your field of study or academic achievement.
2. School financial aid may be available from the colleges, universities, or vocational schools that you’re interested in attending. You might recall from Part 1 of this series that schools use the information from your FAFSA application to determine your eligibility for federal grants, work-study programs, or loans.
The administrators in the financial aid office of your school should become your new best friends. Financial aid officers have a lot of experience and it’s their job to help you succeed using appropriate financial resources. Ask aid administrators questions like:
- What types of financial aid am I eligible for?
- How much financial aid could I receive?
- What are the aid application deadlines?
- When should I expect to receive aid?
Once you’ve applied, if you don’t receive a financial aid package that you believe is right for your circumstances, let your school know. You may be able to appeal the decision by requesting that the financial aid officer review your situation more closely.