Financing a College Education: Overview
For many the idea of paying for college may seem daunting. In the end, most families use a combination of savings, scholarships/grants, payment plans and loans to pay for college.The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) is a great resource for information on how to apply for financial aid, the methodology underlying financial aid decisions, and the different forms of financial aid (including grants and loans) that are available to students and their families. The Federal Student Aid site sponsored by te US Department of Education and the College Board’s new Big Future website are also invaluable resources on financial aid.
Here are a few links to help get you started:
- Learn more about financial aid and how it’s awarded at MEFA;
- Explore federal financial aid programs, including grants, loans and work-study at MEFA;
- Find additional information about student and parent loans at the College Board’s Big Future website.
- Many colleges also offer interest-free monthly payment plans to help reduce the amount you borrow. Payment plans allow you to spread the costs over 9 to 12 months rather than coming up with a lump sum. Contact the Bursar’s/Business Office at the school for more information.
In addition, a note about scholarships: colleges and universities themselves are generally the best source of scholarships. As scholarship guidelines vary, students are strongly encouraged to research scholarship guidelines (and often scholarship application deadlines) at the colleges to which they are applying. Local scholarships are also a good option, though they are often smaller, one time awards, between $500 and $2000. Sturgis seniors have access to a list of local scholarships via this web site. The list typically begins to form in January, with scholarships being added as they are brought to our attention throughout the winter and spring.
For students that are interested in applying for competitive nationwide scholarships, Fastweb, Scholarships.com and the College Board offer popular, free scholarship searches. We strongly advise parents and students against any fee based scholarship services.