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Financial Aid for College

Scholarships, Awards, Grants

Federal Loans

Work Study

Other Resources

 

 

 

Here are the three easy steps to calming the crazy, mad dash to grab cash before college.

Scholarships, Awards, Grants

First, search for scholarships, awards, and grants (=free money). Read this basic article from the Federal Student Aid Office on finding them and applying for them (never pay!!). Find Federal scholarships, awards, and grants using CareerOneStop. Find PA state scholarships, awards, and grants using PHEAA.

Please be aware of what information you are giving to websites... for example, Scholarships.com & FastWeb.com want to know your date of birth, zip code, and email address (which is usually tied to your real name). With this information they can easily find out who you are, where you live, who you live with, how to contact (and advertise to) you... this is information they can sell, because they have it tied to an email address. We would not recommend using these types of websites, because they are making money by selling your information. In fact, Scholarships.com says "Scholarships.com may make the information I supply available to its marketing partners."

You will probably see awards you can get by writing essays and such, which are good, but please do not set out to write several or even a few. If there is one that you feel particularly strongly about, go for it and pour your heart out. If you get it, good; if not, fine. Your time and sanity are valuable.

Where else to find them? The Federal Student Aid Office says:

Try these free sources of information about scholarships:

  • the financial aid office at a college or career school
  • a high school or TRIO counselor
  • the U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
  • federal agencies (this is the FASFA... do it. You are also applying for Pell Grants with the FASFA)
  • your state grant agency
  • your library’s reference section (actually, just go ask a librarian to help you find a current scholarship directory)
  • foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
  • organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • ethnicity-based organizations
  • your employer or your parents’ employer

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Federal Loans

Second, apply for federal loans. It is extremely unlikely that scholarship, awards, and grants will cover your full cost of tuition, but remember there is also the cost of books, food (even if you get a meal plan, you will still want a night out or a special cereal or whatever), entertainment, transportation (maybe parking), laundry, clothes, etc. Do it. FASFA home.

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Work Study

Third, after you apply for FASFA (you must first apply for that before you can apply for this), apply for work study at your college. Basically, it's a job around campus, maybe not fabulously paid BUT they will be much more flexible with scheduling than a "real" job (it's a real job, too, but you know what we mean).

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Other Resources

Foundation Grants to Individuals Online profiles over 6,500 foundations and public charities that fund students, artists, researchers, and other individual grant-seekers. Only available at the Foundation Center at CLP-Main. 

NEED provides career and college access services which empower youth from the Pittsburgh region to aspire to, learn about, prepare for and complete higher education.

Pittsburgh Promise: If you've attended Pittsburgh Public Schools from 9th to 12th grades, have a 2.5 GPA and 90% attendance record, you may be eligible for a scholarship of up to $5,000 to go towards tuition and expenses at a Pennsylvania college or university.

The Pittsburgh Foundation: Scholarship Search provides information about scholarships for students of all ages, but primarily high school seniors.

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