Its no secret that pursuing a higher education can often cost the student or the family a pretty penny. But what many people dont realize it that there are so many forms of financial aid out there that college can actually be a very affordable investment in your students future.

Here are a couple types of financial aid that you want to keep in mind:

    This is also called gift aid, or as I like to call it-free money! Who doesnt like free money? Grants can come from federal and state government, and individual institutions. Scholarships can be merit-based (awarded on specific skills) or need-based (awarded based on financial need) or both merit- and need-based combined.

    this type of financial aid has to eventually be repaid. It accounts for 54% of financial aid.

Financial Aid

How do you get your hands on this money?

    For Grants and Loans, you have to fill out the FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You HAVE to fill this out in order to get your hands on this money. Also, the earlier you fill it out, the better. (You can fill the application out as early as January 1st proceeding the year your student will enter college.)

    For scholarships, the search is a little more difficult. There are local scholarships as well as national scholarships that your student can apply for. Remember, some scholarships are merit-based, some are need-based, and some are both. Below is a list of (FREE) websites that you and your student can visit to get your hands on some free money. Dont forget to check out the scholarship options at the school of your choice. Many, but not all, schools automatically apply you for their scholarships when you apply for admissions. Make sure to check  the policy for your individual school so that you dont miss out on any money. 
    *Note: Never pay a website money to help find scholarships!

Dont forget about your local resources!