Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Paying for College

Because September is College Savings Month, you will probably see a lot of ads/promotions discussing 539 savings plans (the lenders are behind this "holiday"). While a 529 plan may be part of your toolkit for paying for college, now is also a good time to discuss scholarship and grant resources available through the library.

Online Tools

Federal Government
You actually apply for federal grants such as the Pell Grant when you fill out the FAFSA. However, if you want to know more about all the government grants programs available to you, go to the
website. You can also get a forecast of the grants you are eligible for by using the FAFSA4caster.

State Government
Virginia residents have access to financial aid programs for undergraduate and graduate study.

College Board
The College Board's database includes grants as well as scholarships.

Search By Category
Using your favorite Internet search engine can be helpful. But, instead of searching for “grants,” be more specific about what you are looking for. Try “female, nontraditional college student grant” or “Hispanic accounting grant” or even “Native American female engineering college grant.” The goal is to not be too general or too specific. In one case, you’ll find thousands of sites that you’ll never be able to cull through, and in the other you’ll be lucky to find one or two likely options. Below are some examples to get started:

Minority Students
If you are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, you may be eligible for minority grants. Check out the listings on FinAid and on A Better Chance.

African American Student Grants
Female Student Grants

Hispanic Student Grants
Native American Grants

Grants & Funding Research Center

Did you know that the Bealeton branch of the Fauquier County Public Library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center? The Bealeton Cooperating Collection is one of more than 240 Cooperating Collections in the U.S., and its mission is to help grant seekers find funding. Grant seekers include nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private institutions, as well as individuals. There is no charge to users for this service. Before you head over to the Bealeton Library, you can check out the Foundation Center's free online webinar about how to approach foundations and win a grant for your education as well as their online course in proposal writing to win grants.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

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