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Government Grants

College is one of the greatest opportunities available to American students. In many families, it is just expected that kid will graduate from high school and head off to college in order to learn a marketable skill, earn a degree and land a well-paying job that will enable them to be productive members of society. For other families, college is a dream to reach and strive for, not an assumed right. These students see college as their ticket to a better life and a way out of a tough situation.

For anyone, college or career school can be a huge benefit. Education is one of the most valuable assets you can acquire, and it is worth doing everything in your power to make it happen. The biggest hurdle for most students is financial – college simply costs a lot of money. The average total cost to attend a public four-year college (such as a state university) is about $20,000 per academic year. If you want to attend a private school, bump that number up to a minimum of about $30,000 per academic year.

While many families have saved for years for college, most families clearly do not have $100,000 or more just sitting in a savings account waiting to be transferred to the school you or your child chooses. Thus, most college students end up paying for their schooling by cobbling together funding from a mix of sources: college savings accounts, monthly or yearly family contributions, grants, scholarships and loans.

Loans should be the last resort for college students because loans must be paid back, with interest. Graduating college with thousands of [...]

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Career Grants

There has been an increase in career-specific grants in recent years as the need for new hires in certain professions has increased. Nurses and teachers are a great example of this, but you can also find art, cosmetology, and engineering grants, as well. Wherever there is a need, a foundation or organization is likely to create a grant for that need. The government is a big provider of grants, but there are also private opportunities, which increases the options available to students going into specific careers. Deciding on a Career

For those who want to be fully prepared before college, it's best to decide what career path you want to follow before you leave high school. Your school's guidance counselor can help with this, and they can also provide you a wealth of information about available grants and scholarships to help pay for school. Creating a strategy to pay for college using grants and scholarships is the best way to leave college without debt and on track for early retirement.

However, that doesn't mean you have to know what you want before you head to college. A lot of students use that time to really discover what interests them, and what they might enjoy doing with their careers. In that case, it's wise to look into which fields have a constant need for new hires. This will give you plenty of options to choose from, but it will also open you to several new experiences before you have to decide which one works best for you. Once you do decide on a career, you should visit your financial aid office and determine which grants or scholarships you w [...]

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Minority Grants

Finding funding for college is often a difficult job that requires much time, attention, patience and persistence. The federal government is usually the best place to start, followed by your particular state government. These sources are open to all, so competition is fierce and success is not guaranteed.

There is another avenue available to many students, though, that narrows the field considerably: minority grants and scholarships. Some financial aid in the form of grants (that do not have to be paid back) is reserved for students of a particular heritage or race.

The word “minority” usually refers to a segment of the population that is smaller than the majority and has been marginalized or receives less benefits than the generally accepted majority. Minority status is usually determined by race, ethnic heritage or gender. Other factors such as religion and sexual orientation can also define minority groups. The most represented and largest minorities are usually African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and more recently, LGBT citizens.

Grants are often offered to these groups by ethnic foundations, private corporations and government agencies. These grants try to address some of the difficult and unique challenges confronted each day by members of these minority groups. These students must still show they need the financial help, but their competition for available dollars will necessarily be less in a more-limited pool of applicants.

Minority grants are generally offered in two different categories: Ethnic Minor [...]

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College Scholarships

The cost of a college education has become one of those taboo topics that people just don’t want to hear about. Since 1995, tuition and fees for earning a degree in the United States have increased by at least 179%. Since not every student has a robust college fund just waiting to be spent, they have to get creative and pursue other avenues that will help them live their dream of attending college.

Securing a college scholarship–or two or three–can make a huge difference in your financial security during and after your college career. Although scholarship funds can have a few strings attached, they do not require payback. You can even reapply for many scholarships and, if you qualify, receive funds each year of college.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a star athlete or the valedictorian of your class to win a scholarship. Keep reading to understand what kinds of scholarship opportunities are available and who can apply for them.

Scholarship Opportunities for All Types of Students

Academic Scholarships: Academic scholarships are based on your success in school. If you consistently get good grades and have high test scores, you could qualify for academic scholarships.

The most prestigious academic scholarship is the National Merit Scholarship. Winners, known as National Merit Scholars, receive a one-time award of $2500, which they must use at a regionally accredited US college or university.

Winners for the National Merit Scholarship (NMS) are selected based on their PSAT scores, high scho [...]

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