What is the CSS Profile?

As you are exploring your financial aid options, you may come across the CSS Profile. CSS stands for College Scholarship Service which is administered by College Board (The same organization who administers AP exams, PSAT, and SAT). Hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide require it as a supplement to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Be sure to check if colleges you are interested require you to submit the CSS Profile! Read on to learn more about CSS Profile:  

Why do I fill out the CSS Profile? 

The CSS Profile allows you to be considered for need-based financial aid from certain schools. It is more in-depth than the FAFSA, so colleges can see your true financial need on a deeper level.  

When do I fill out the CSS Profile? 

The CSS Profile typically opens on October 1 for the upcoming school year. You will want to submit your CSS Profile no later than two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship application deadline. 

What do I need to fill out the CSS Profile? 

Since the CSS Profile and FAFSA application are similar, they will require a lot of the same documents. It’s wise to go ahead and get the following items together:  

  • Your College Board login, if you took the SAT, PSAT, or AP exams, you should already have this. 
  • Federal tax returns (your guardians’ and yours if you file taxes) 
  • Your SSN and guardians’ (if applicable) 
  • Record of any untaxed income 
  • Bank statements 
  • Mortgage information 
  • Investment records 
  • Your debit or credit card. 

The initial cost of the application is $25. To send reports to additional schools, it is $16. If you qualify for a free SAT waiver, your application fee will be waived, and you will have the ability to send your CSS Profile to up to 8 schools for free.  

If you ever run into any questions while filling out your CSS Profile, take advantage of the email support, live chat, and phone support that College Board offers! 

Your Guide to the FAFSA as a First-Time Applicant

The FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid allows you to be considered for financial aid from federal and state governments, and many colleges and universities.  Each year, the FAFSA opens on October 1 for the following school year, so mark your calendars or set a reminder in your phone. It’s best to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible, so you can be considered for the maximum amount of financial aid possible. Follow our steps below to complete and submit the FAFSA:  

Step 1: Create Your FSA ID 

Your FSA ID is the username and password that will grant access to certain Department of Education websites. It will also help verify your identity and serve as your digital signature for your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, then your parent/guardian will need to create an FSA ID as well. 

Step 2: Gather Important Documents 

You’ll need to dig in the archives for the items below: 

  • Your Social Security Number 
  • Parents’ Social Security Numbers (if you’re a dependent student) 
  • Driver’s License Number (if applicable) 
  • Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen) 
  • Federal Tax Information including W-2 information for you (and your spouse, if you are married) and your parents (if you’re a dependent) from two years prior (i.e. 2022-2023 school year will use 2020 tax info) 
  • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student  
  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you and for your parents if you are a dependent student 

Once you’ve input all this information, be sure to keep these documents in a safe, but accessible location in case you  

Step 3: Start the FAFSA 

You created your FSA ID, you tracked down your documents, and October 1 is here! It’s now time to start your FAFSA. Head on over to fafsa.gov and click “Start Here.” Be sure to use ONLY fafsa.gov. From there, you can also use the myStudentAid mobile app. Unfortunately, there are scammy websites out there that are named and look very similar to the real website that will charge for filing your FAFSA. You should NEVER pay to file your FAFSA! Once you start a new application, you can create a save key. Make sure you don’t skip this step, so you can save your work and return where you left off, if you don’t complete the FAFSA in one sitting. 

Step 4: Are You a Dependent?  

The FAFSA will ask you several questions to determine your dependency status. In general, you are considered a dependent for FAFSA purposes if:  

  • You are under the age of 24, 
  • Unmarried,  
  • And not a member of the military.  

If you are classified as a dependent and feel you have an extenuating circumstance, we’d recommend connecting with your college financial aid office regarding your individual situation. 

Step 5: Input Financial Information 

This section is where you input your tax and financial information. If you are considered a dependent, you will input your parents’ information as well. Pro tip: if you have the option to use the “IRS data retrieval tool,” do it! This allows your tax return to automatically sync with your FAFSA. 

Step 6: Select FAFSA Recipients 

Colleges need your FAFSA information to be able to award financial aid. You are required to list one school, but you can add up to 10. Some states have specific requirements for how you need to list schools on your FAFSA in order to be considered for state grant aid, and you can review those guidelines on the Federal Student Aid website. The colleges on your list will then use your FAFSA to determine both the type and amount of aid they’ll offer you upon acceptance.  

Step 7: Sign and Submit the FAFSA 

One last thing: you must sign your FAFSA application using your FSA ID and hit “submit.” You’ll know you’ve successfully submitted your FAFSA once you’ve seen the confirmation page. You will also get an email confirmation of your submission. If you happen to have a sibling in college who is also a dependent, this confirmation page will allow you to transfer your parents’ info to their FAFSA as well. Be sure that your parent(s) sign your FAFSA, too!  

If you’re ever stuck on anything FAFSA related, you are not alone! Be sure to seek help from your high school counselor, college admissions counselor, or your prospective college’s financial aid office. Good luck! 

What is in a College Financial Aid Package?

Unsurprising for many students, the financial aid package is a huge factor in determining which college they’ll attend. Every college creates their financial aid packages differently, but the types of awards you see are similar. Understanding the awards is crucial to evaluating who is providing the best aid.

Let’s start with a quick vocab lesson. The three important terms to know: the Cost of Attendance (COA), Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and need.

The Cost of Attendance typically includes your estimated tuition and fees (generally based on full-time enrollment). It also estimates the following: room and board, transportation, books, and other miscellaneous costs. Pay close attention to each college’s estimated COA because some may include more factors than others.  

Your Expected Family Contribution is the number your FAFSA application generates based on the info you input. This is the amount that the government believes you/your family can contribute towards your college education per academic year. You have to renew your FAFSA each year, so your EFC can change throughout your time in college.

If there is a difference between your cost of attendance and your EFC, that is known as need. Financial aid offices do their best to cover your need by providing various forms of financial aid. Simply stated: cost of attendance – expected family contribution = need

Grants and Scholarships

You want your financial aid to consist of grants and scholarships because this is “free money” that you don’t have to pay back. Grants and scholarships come from colleges, the government, the state, and from outside sources. It is important to let your college know about any outside scholarships you earn because they can impact your financial aid package. Some grants, such as the TEACH grant, convert to student loans if you do not fulfill the associated service obligation post-graduation. Make sure to read the fine print!

Direct Stafford Loans

Direct Stafford loans are available for eligible students at colleges to help fund their education. Backed by the federal government, these loans typically have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than most private loans. Students are capped on the amount they can take per year. For example, a first-time college freshman classified as a dependent can only utilize $5,500 per academic year. The amount increases per year in college, up to $7,500 per academic year. There are two kinds of Direct Stafford Loans you may see: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized loans DO NOT accrue interest while you are in-school (enrolled at least half-time) or during the grace period of the loan. The grace period is for the 6 months after you leave school or drop below half-time status. A portion of your direct loans may be in the form of subsidized loans if you have a high financial need. 

You will also see unsubsidized loans; these loans begin accruing interest as soon as they disburse (are applied to your bill or direct deposited to your bank account). All of the interest accrued while you are in school capitalizes (aka it will be added to your principal balance). If you can, it’s super beneficial to start making interest-only payments while still in school, so that amount does not continue to grow. 

For Direct Stafford loans, you complete a master promissory note (loan contract) and entrance loan counseling (covers terms of loan, repayment etc.). These are really important so definitely pay close attention and take notes.

PLUS Loan

The acronym PLUS means “Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students.” You may see a PLUS loan estimate on your financial aid package. This means your parents have the opportunity to apply for the PLUS loan to cover your remaining cost of attendance. The PLUS loan is solely in the name of the parent, and approval is based on a satisfactory credit check. If your parents are denied the PLUS loan, they may request an endorser, or you have the option to receive additional Direct Stafford unsubsidized loans. Repayment for PLUS loans typically begins upon disbursement unless your parent applies and is granted deferment.

Work-Study

The Federal work-study program provides part-time jobs for students with financial need. These jobs are typically on-campus. If you are interested in being considered for work-study opportunities, be sure to indicate this on your FAFSA application. Your work-study opportunity will have a certain amount of money you are eligible to earn through this program; therefore, your hours will be capped once this amount is reached. The school will pay you directly either via direct deposit to your bank account or you can choose to have this payment applied to your student account for tuition and fees.

Understanding the different award types will provide you a solid foundation to evaluate your options. It is always beneficial to have the Financial Aid office explain your package to you and answer any questions that you have. Always remember, you can pick and choose what aid to accept, and even reduce amounts. For loans, it is wise to take only what you absolutely need and be sure to ask about payment deadlines and payment plan options. Being in the know of all things financial aid definitely pays off!

A FAFSA Guide for the First-Time Applicant

You’ve probably heard about the FAFSA…but what exactly is it? Our guide for the first-time FAFSA applicant will break it down for you. First things first, the acronym FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” This application considers you for need-based scholarships and grants for college. It’s also necessary if you wish to use federal student loans to fund your college education. The FAFSA will be your friend when it comes to paying for college!

Each year, the FAFSA opens on October 1st for the following school year, so mark your calendars or set a reminder in your phone. Some states and colleges have priority deadlines and some funds do run out. The earlier you complete this, the better! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can complete steps 1 and 2 BEFORE October 1st!

Step 1: Create Your FSA ID

Your FSA ID is the username and password that will grant access to certain Department of Education websites. It will also help verify your identity and serve as your digital signature for your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student (more on that here), then your parent will need to create an FSA ID as well.

Step 2: Gather important documents

It may seem like the FAFSA is super nosy with all of the information they request from you, but it’s crucial in determining the aid you are eligible for. You’ll need to dig in the archives for the items below.

  • Social Security Number (check and double check this information)
  • Parents’ Social Security Numbers (if you’re a dependent student)
  • Driver’s License Number (if applicable)
  • Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Federal Tax Information/Tax Returns including W-2 information for you, your spouse (if applicable) and your parents (if you’re a dependent) from two years prior (i.e. 2022-2023 school year will use 2020 tax info)
  • Records of Untaxed Income (i.e. interest income, child support, Veteran non-education benefits, if applicable)
  • Financial information including cash, savings and checking account balances, investments, i.e. stocks, bonds and real estate (excluding your primary residence), business and farm assets for you or your parents (if you’re a dependent)

Once you’ve input all of this information, be sure to keep these documents in a safe, but accessible location. There’s about a 20% chance your application will be chosen for verification. You will then have to provide your college with certain documentation to ensure all information you reported is correct. You can be selected for verification randomly or because something doesn’t quite match up. For the 2021-2022 year, the Department of Education has put a temporary change to the verification process, allowing colleges to waive verification requirements. If you are still selected for the verification process, your college will notify you and let you know of the next steps required.

Step 3: Start the FAFSA

You created your FSA ID, you tracked down all of your documents, and October 1st is here! It’s now time to start your FAFSA! Head on over to fafsa.gov and click “Start Here.” Be sure to use ONLY fafsa.gov. From there, you can also use the myStudentAid mobile app. Unfortunately, there are scammy websites out there that are named and look very similar to the real website that will charge for filing your FAFSA. You should NEVER pay to file your FAFSA! Once you start a new application, you have the opportunity to create a save key. Make sure you don’t skip this step. You probably won’t complete your FAFSA in one sitting, so this allows you to save your work and return where you left off, even across devices.

Step 4: Evaluate your dependency status

There is a laundry list of questions the FAFSA will ask to determine dependency status. You can read more about those questions here. Generally speaking, if you are under the age of 24, unmarried, and not a member of the military, you are considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes. If you are classified as a dependent and feel you have an extenuating circumstance, we’d recommend connecting with your college financial aid office regarding your individual situation.

Step 5: Input financial information

This section is where you input all of your tax and financial information. If you are considered a dependent, you will input your parents’ information as well. Pro tip: if you have the option to use the “IRS data retrieval tool,” do it! This allows your tax return to automatically sync with your FAFSA. This makes your life way easier and decreases your likelihood of being selected for verification.

Step 6: Select FAFSA recipients

Colleges need your FAFSA information to be able to award financial aid. You are required to list one school, but you can add up to 10. Some states require in-state schools to be listed first for state aid, so check if your state has this requirement! These colleges will then use your FAFSA to determine both the type and amount of aid they’ll offer you upon acceptance. You can always add schools later, but some schools do create financial aid packages on a rolling basis. It’s better to have your FAFSA on file sooner rather than later. (Some financial aid award types do run out).

Step 7: Sign and submit the FAFSA

One last thing: you must sign your FAFSA application using your FSA ID and hit “submit.” You’ll know you’ve successfully submitted your FAFSA once you’ve seen the confirmation page. You will also get an email confirmation of your submission. If you happen to have a sibling in college who is also a dependent, this confirmation page will allow you to transfer your parents’ info to their FAFSA as well. Be sure that your parent(s) sign your FAFSA, too! 

If you’re ever stuck on anything FAFSA related, you are not alone! Be sure to seek help from your high school counselor, college admissions counselor, or your prospective college’s financial aid office. Good luck!

College Financial Aid Vocabulary

When you’re new to the financial aid process, some terms may sound like a different language. Here we define a list of terms to help you through this process. The terms listed below are pretty universal amongst colleges in the USA, but there may be terms specific to each college. Don’t be afraid to ask your admissions counselor or financial aid counselor to explain certain terms to you!

Cost of Attendance (COA)

COA is more than just your tuition. It includes the cost of tuition, room and board, books, laptop, transportation, and other personal costs. 

CSS Profile

Some schools require a CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile for scholarship consideration. Check your schools of interest to see if they require a CSS Profile from you.

Entrance Loan Counseling (ELC)

ELC is mandatory when you take out student loans and PLUS loans. This online training module reviews the terms of the loan, origination fees, interest rates, repayment options, and so on. 

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The EFC is the total out-of-pocket amount that your family can contribute towards your college expenses. This amount considers factors such as your family size, the number of family members already enrolled in college (if any), and taxable and non-taxable family income or assets. The EFC uses the information you include on your FAFSA.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Each year in college you will fill out the FAFSA for need-based aid. You will also need fill out the FAFSA if you wish to take out federal student loans to fund your education. The FAFSA typically opens October 1st for the following school year. If you’re unmarried and under the age of 24, be sure to have your and your parents’ tax info from two years ago. More about the FAFSA here.

FSA ID

Your FSA ID is the username and password that will grant access to certain Department of Education websites. It will also help verify your identity and serve as your digital signature for your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, your parent or guardian will need to create an FSA ID as well.

Gift Aid

AKA free money that you don’t need to pay back. Gift aid takes the form of grants and scholarships. In an ideal world, you would want all your financial aid to be Gift Aid.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

This is essentially your loan contract that states that you agree to pay back all of the money you have borrowed, including interest.

Need

The world of financial aid defines “need” as the difference between the Cost of Attendance and the amount your family can afford based on your FAFSA application.

Need-Blind

Need-blind schools do not consider an applicant’s financial need or status when making admissions decisions. In other words, these schools would never deny someone because of their inability to pay full tuition. Fortunately, many schools define themselves as need-blind. 

Need-Aware

Need aware is the opposite of need-blind. Colleges that are need-aware will take students’ ability to pay tuition into consideration when they are making admissions decisions.

Origination Fee

An origination fee is a fee paid to the bank to compensate them for the cost of administering a loan. The fees are usually 3% of the amount disbursed. A part of this money goes to the federal government to offset administrative costs.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are federally funded, need-based grants for students who submit their FAFSA application. You do not need to pay back Pell Grants. 

Parent Loans for Undergraduate Study (PLUS Loans)

Parents can apply for a PLUS loan up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other aid. To qualify for this loan, parents must have a positive credit history. PLUS loans begin accruing interest and require repayment as soon as they disburse.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a program that helps forgive your direct federal student loan debt. The way this happens: after 120 payments under a qualifying repayment plan and working for a qualifying governmental agency or non-profit organization.

Renewable Scholarship

You can receive a renewable scholarship for more than one aid year. Renewable scholarships typically require a recipient to maintain certain academic standards. Some might require students to reapply every year.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order to continue to receive aid, you must meet certain benchmarks such as credit completion, a certain GPA, and so on. Make sure you are aware of all of the specific requirements for your aid.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

You’ll receive this report via email after submitting the FAFSA. The SAR is your opportunity to review all of the information you have submitted and make sure it is accurate.

Subsidized Loans

Subsidized loans DO NOT accrue interest while you are still enrolled in college. Repayment begins 6 months after either graduation or dropping below half-time status.

Unsubsidized Loans

Unsubsidized student loans from the government begin accruing interest immediately upon disbursement. Repayment will begin 6 months after graduation or after dropping below half-time status. If you have the ability, consider making interest-only payments while you are in school so that interest won’t capitalize. 

Verification

If you’re selected for FAFSA verification, don’t panic. Some applications are chosen at random, and others are chosen because of mismatched information that needs further explanation. If you’re chosen for verification, each college will contact you with next steps.

Work-Study

A work-study provides the opportunity to earn money by applying for on-campus jobs.Many financial aid packages offer a work-study as a way to offset a portion of your Cost of Attendance. As you would with any other role, you will have to apply for these jobs. To give you a sense of the commitment, your work study shouldn’t require more than 20 hours/week. 

We hope that familiarizing with financial aid vocabulary will ease any anxieties you may feel about the process. Good luck!

3 Key Questions On The Role of FAFSA® In Making College Affordable

As you finalize your college applications, gather resources, and complete those last checklist items, don’t let the important topic of affordability and how it impacts your life beyond college take a backseat.

As the nation’s largest free college and career planning service, we are dedicated to ensuring all students have access to the resources and tools needed to be successful as they plan for college and their future. That’s why we’re excited to introduce a new resource available for all students, WithFrank.org. Frank was created in 2017 by 28-year-old female founder Charlie Javice to make college more affordable for millions of Americans. Over 4 million students have benefited from Frank’s financial aid services and advice on their post-secondary path to higher education. 

Financial aid plays a cornerstone role in the whole college-going, college application process for around 80% of students today. The FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the key to unlocking affordability opportunities. But, you likely have questions: 

1. Do I need grants, loans, or both—and what do those even mean?
2. What do I feel is a reasonable amount of student loan debt for me?
3. Does my planned major and the potential economic opportunities make it realistic to take this debt on?

Let’s tackle this…

Do I need grants, loans, or both? What do these even mean?

First things first; grants are monies awarded to you, specifically for education that you do not have to pay back—provided by your state and/or the federal government.  They generally come in semester “award” amounts paid directly to your school.  Depending on your personal details and where you attend, you could have a considerable amount of tuition covered by just grants. You need the FAFSA® to determine eligibility.  

Before we get into loans, know that scholarships are a wonderful way to help pay for college. Annually over $6 Billion in scholarships are awarded to around 1.5 million eligible students based on everything from academics, sports, socioeconomics, cultural background, personal interests, and even creative writing contests. 

Now, let’s talk about loans.

Loans are broken into two different categories (Federal and private). If you have the choice and need loans, federal loans are the way to go. They have the most flexibility in repayment, oftentimes the lowest interest rate (interest rate is basically an annual “tax” that adds to your repayment amount when you graduate), and are more flexible to accommodate unforeseen economic hardships. Yep, you guessed it—you need the FAFSA® to determine eligibility here, too. Private loans are education loans serviced (provided) by private banks. These generally have higher interest rates and are less flexible in repayment. 

What do I feel is a reasonable amount of student loan debt for me?

Understanding your future earning potential relative to your desired area of study can offer some guidance. Family finances play a role, too. The general rule of thumb is your total loans borrowed should not exceed your first year’s expected annual salary upon graduation.  For example, if you are studying to be a teacher, shoot for borrowing no more than $40-45k in total.  Repayment of federal loans is always deferred for 6 months post-graduation or when you leave the school and can be put off (deferred) if you go back to school. Private loans scarcely offer this flexibility.

Does my planned major and the potential economic opportunities make it realistic to take this debt on?

This is a really important question that comes down to your school choice and major. You may start to hear this referred to as “ROE” or Return on Education.  This is basically how much economic opportunity comes to you based on the money you spend on your education or your “investment” in education. When considering your school choice; are you paying for the experience or are you paying for the academics? Make sure you’re considering all types of schools that could grant you the degree you’re looking for—state schools and community colleges may offer you the ability to pay a fraction for the same education courses. Always have your end goal in mind. 

WithFrank.org is a great resource that can help you apply for the FAFSA® and educate you about college affordability. Over the coming months, we’ll hear from team members at Frank and offer more resources to help you make informed decisions about the FAFSA®

When You’re Unable to Pay Tuition

First thing we want to say to anyone suddenly unable to pay their tuition: you are resilient. It takes strength to pursue your education when financial insecurity is a part of that experience. This is a stressful circumstance, and we want to help. With these steps, we hope to equip you with the knowledge you need so you can tackle this situation with confidence. Take a deep breath, and let’s get started.

1. Ask for an extension

If you are approaching the payment deadline for your tuition, reach out to your college’s financial aid office. Explain your situation, and request an extension. You’re going to need a little more time to figure this out. 

2. Find out if you qualify for Special Circumstance

If you’re financial situation has changed from the time you submitted your FAFSA application (whether that be from a parent losing a job or unforeseen medical bills), apply for special circumstance consideration. The financial aid office will be able to provide a form for you to fill out, and you may be able to receive further aid. 

3. Inquire about a Tuition Payment Plan

Rather than paying a large sum upfront, communicate with your college about a payment plan. It will allow you to pay smaller, more frequent installments over the semester. Keep in mind, these plans may have additional charges. (Though you will not have to worry about accumulating interest). 

4. Consider work study

You may be able to reduce the cost of your tuition by working for the university. There are all kinds of jobs on-campus that may appeal to your interests and allow you to strike a deal with your school!

5. Make a fundraising profile

If you’re unable to pay your tuition, you may be able to ask for help through fundraising websites such as GoFundMe. It may feel intimidating to ask for money from family and friends, but there are generous people out there who may be willing to contribute to your education.

6. Take out a Short-Term Loan/Emergency Loan

Student loans should always be a last resort, but we know that sometimes they are necessary. Emergency loans or short-term loans allow you to take out the money you need and pay it back within a year. This may be a prime option for someone who plans to work during the semester. 

Falling short on money for tuition may cause you a lot of worry, but you do have options. Hopefully with these steps, you feel a little more at ease.

Types of Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to cut down or eliminate your out-of-pocket college costs. There are lots of scholarship money available, the trick is knowing where to look. The two main types of scholarship are college specific scholarships and non-college specific scholarships. We will give you more information about each type to help you narrow down your search!

College Specific Scholarships

College specific scholarships are offered directly by the college and can only be used for admitted students at that particular college. Be sure to ask every college you apply to whether or not you are considered for all available institutional scholarships based on your admissions application. If the answer is “no,” then be sure to ask where to find their scholarship application(s). Here are the most common types of college-specific scholarships you will find.

Academic scholarships

Academic scholarships are based on the academic credentials within your admissions application. For example, GPA or ACT/SAT scores.

Athletic scholarships

Athletic scholarships are available at Division I and Division II schools and are determined by your athletic ability and your prospective college’s athletic needs. If you are interested in becoming a student-athlete, here is more information about athletic recruiting.

Merit-based scholarships

Merit scholarships are awarded to the strongest candidates in the applicant pool and typically consider a wide range of criteria/requirements like your grades, rigor of high school coursework, ACT/SAT scores, class rank, personal statements, leadership, and community service. Admissions will also closely evaluate your letters of recommendation.

Non-College Specific Scholarships

You can start searching for non-college specific scholarships before your final college list is solidified because these scholarships can be used at the college of your choice. These types of scholarships are going to be more time consuming to find since there are lots of different places you can look. Be sure if you are awarded a non-college specific scholarship you communicate with your college’s financial aid office and the scholarship organization to coordinate the logistics of how the scholarship funds will be sent to your school. Here are some suggestions of sources for non-college specific scholarships.

Organizational scholarships

Organizations such as places of worship, school districts, chambers of commerce, and charities sponsor a number of scholarships for incoming college students. Once you are in college, there may be other organizations that open the door for more scholarship opportunities, so keep your eyes open for these opportunities. If you are involved in any of these types of organizations, it never hurts to ask around. The answer will always be “no” if you don’t ask.

Corporate scholarships

Corporate scholarships are awarded by companies to support employees and their families. These are more common in larger companies. It’s always a good idea to ask your parents if their employers offer scholarships to children of employees. If you work as well and want to continue with the same company while you are in college, it is smart to check with your employer to see if they offer any sort of tuition reimbursement or scholarship programs.

Some scholarships you earn may be renewable for a certain amount of semesters, or they may be one-time only. It’s important to understand the duration and renewal requirements for your scholarships so you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises down the road. Remember that your scholarship search shouldn’t just be limited to your first year in college. As you continue in college, your network and understanding of the scholarship game will expand, so keep up that scholarship hunting!