Finding financial aid

Tuition at public universities averages over $5,000 per year and private college tuition is over $20,000 per year. 

of all student financial aid comes from the U.S. Dept. of Education's Federal Student Aid via


It is not surprising that many students look for financial aid to help cover these costs. 

The complete idiot's guide to paying for college
by Ken Clark.
New York : Alpha, c2010.
With the lack of financial aid, grants, and scholarships available today due to the economic climate, parents and students need serious help in finding ways to pay for college. Savings plans and resources have disappeared. Loans seem impossible to pay off. That's where The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paying for College steps in. It helps develop an action plan for people to budget and pay for college right now, and if necessary, strategize repayment after graduation. It also explains how to: • •Find ways to lower the cost of tuition and room and board. •Find honest-to-goodness free money. •Discover more affordable options like college credit for military service, peer-to-peer lending, or attending nontraditional colleges and universities.
College access & opportunity guide.
Bethesda, MD : Center for Student Opportunity/Sourcebooks, 2010.
<b>Use the code 35JUL10 for 35% off!<p></b><p>"At a young age, you really don't think about college but this book tells you that it is possible. Don't ever think there is not money out there or there's not a spot for you. Now I'm really sure that I am going to get into college."<br><i>–Rochelle, 11th grade, Gertz-Ressler High School/The Fulfillment Fund, Los Angeles, CA </i></p><p>The <i>College Access & Opportunity Guide </i>is the first of its kind-a comprehensive college guidebook designed to help first-generation, low-income, and minority students make their college dreams a reality!</p><p><b>284 colleges and universities committed to access, opportunity, and success</b><br>You will see some familiar names and others that are not so familiar. But what bonds these institutions are the outreach efforts, scholarship and financial aid opportunities and support and retention services that each has to offer.</p><p><b>Do you KnowHow2GO? Learn the steps you need to take</b></p><p>Follow KnowHow2GO's plan for first-generation and other underrepresented students to take the steps necessary to go to college.</p><p><b>Insider advice from college students and other experts</b></p><p>Read articles and stories that share insight and firsthand experience on what it takes to get to college and succeed.</p><p><b>Valuable information for parents and mentors, en Español también</b></p><p>Whether you're a parent, guardian, teacher, mentor, or other caring adult, chances are there's a teen in your life who wants to go to college. We offer advice for guiding the student in your life to college.</p><p>Si eres un padre, tutor, maestro, o un adulto comprensivo, existe la posibilidad que un adolecente en tu vida quiere ir a la universidad. Nosotros oferecemos consejo para ayudar aquel estudiante en tu vida tomar los pasos necesarios para entrar en la universidad.</p><p>"Our students have found this guidebook essential to their college searches. It is easy to navigate and targets the information that's most important to them. There's no other resource that offers this kind and quality of information. 'Opportunity' is the perfect word; that's just what our students need!"<br><i>–Debbie Greenberg, College Bound St. Louis, St. Louis, MO</i></p><p>"I began using the <i>College Access & Opportunity Guide </i>with my upper division students, but very soon the other students were asking to see it. Since I had only one copy, I would have a waiting list to look at the book. It became the focus of our group meetings and soon the students started calling it 'the red college bible.' In the end, we decided to give all of our sophomores their own copy to set them on the right path to college."<br><i>––Linda Perez, Achieve/Gerson Bakar Foundation, San Francisco, CA</i></p>
Military education benefits for college : a comprehensive guide for military members, veterans, and their dependents
David J. Renza and Edmund J. Lizotte.
El Dorado Hills, Calif. ; New York, NY : Savas Beatie, 2010.
Every branch of the American military provides opportunities for educational benefits and ways to attend college at either no cost or at a cost far below published tuition rates. No military member, veteran, or dependent should have to go through school without knowing what their benefits are or how to obtain them. Military Education Benefits for College guides you in how to access, utilize, and take advantage of your benefits so you can earn the degree you deserve. Book jacket.
From here to freshman year : college admissions strategies for all four years of high school.
New York : Kaplan, 2010.
The essential pocket guide to making the most of high school, updated for today’s ninth through 12th-gradersIs it too early to start applying for college scholarships in ninth grade? Do I need to take AP classes? How important are extra curricular activities when I apply to college? These questions and many more are answered in this revised edition of Kaplan’s popularFrom Here to Freshman Year.nbsp;This easy-to-use guide provides up-to-date information for ninth, 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders to prepare them for college. Filled with tons of tips and time lines for all four years of high school, it also provides information for parents and students on time management, stress reduction, and problem solving.Conveniently portable,From Here to Freshman Yeartakes parents and students through high school with the ease of knowing that they took the right steps to prepare for college each year.Must-know topics include: the application process; campus visits; working with your guidance counselor; taking important tests like the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP exams; letters of recommendation; purchasing the right computer, and more.
Free college resource book
Doug Hewitt & Robin Hewitt.
Waco, Tex. : Prufrock Press, c2010.
<p><em>Inside secrets from two parents who put their five kids through college for next to nothing!</em></p><p>With tough economic times, paying for a child's education is harder than ever. <strong>Free College Resource Book</strong>takes students and parents through the process of weighing options for college funding, including scholarship searches, grants, savings plans, differences between financial aid options, and which financial aid programs provide the best benefits to students, and other sources of money for paying college tuition and fees.</p><p>This book shows students how to both find sources of funding and prepare winning essays, applications, and interview responses to ensure they meet their financial aid goals.</p><p>The book also includes a detailed resource section full of websites and organizations willing to help students find financial assistance for college. Written by parents who put five children through college on very little of their own money, this handy guide will aid parents and future college students in their search for the best education at the best price.</p><ul><li>Easy-to-use reference guide featuring insider tips and advice</li><li>Overviews the complicated federal financial aid system and provides solutions</li><li>Suggests a proven plan of action for completing and applying for scholarships and grants Includes a detailed</li><li>Reference guide to scholarships and financial aid resources</li><li>Written by two parents who put their five kids through college for next to nothing </li></ul><p>Prufrock Press offers award-winning products focused on gifted, advanced, and special needs learners. For more than 20 years, Prufrock has supported parents and teachers with a wide range of resources based on sound research. </p><p>The average day of a parent or teacher of a gifted or special needs learner is filled with a thousand celebrations and challenges. Prufrock's goal is to provide practical solutions to those challenges—to provide readers with timesaving, research-based tools that allow them to spend less time on the challenges and more time on the celebrations.</p><p>Prufrock Press' line of products features:</p><ul><li>Resources on parenting the special needs learner</li><li>Sage advice on teaching in the inclusive classroom</li><li>Advanced learning tools for gifted children and inquisitive learners</li><li>Cutting-edge information on innovative teaching approaches</li><li>Resources for college planning for gifted and special needs learners</li></ul><p>Prufrock Press is committed to resources based on sound research. It has a senior advisory group composed of the top scholars in the field of education and psychology. All of the company's editors have graduate degrees in education or children's literature, and they all have classroom experience. In essence, when a reader holds a book by Prufrock Press, he or she knows that the information found in that book will be research-based and reflect agreed upon best practices in the field of education and child psychology.</p>

There are many options available to high school students preparing for college, current college students, graduate students, and adults returning to school.

What are some of these of options? 

  • The U.S. Department of Education provides billions of dollars each year in loans, grants and work-study funding.   Some are for graduate students only, but many also cover undergraduate students.  Some need to be repaid; others do not.  Students can fill out one form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and learn about the options open to them.  This form is available in paper and online formats. 
  • Other federal government agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Army, and Department of Health and Human Services offer assistance to individuals that meet certain criteria. 

  • Of interest to some students is the AmeriCorps program that offers an education award in return for a year of community service.  That education award that can be used to pay for higher education, training or to repay education loans. 
  • For Missouri residents, the Missouri Department of Higher Education administers various grant programs and scholarhips programs.  These programs provide several types of assistance to help students access posts-secondary education in Missouri.  Other states provide similar assistance programs.
  • Students may want to consider exploring financial assistance opportunities provided by private corporations and organizations.  Private scholarship search services exist to help students locate these.  Caution should be used before contracting with these services to minimize the possibility of fraud and assure offers are legitimate.

Taking time to discover and evaluate resources covering financial aid options can result in a wider variety of educational choices.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff