How I Used Scholarships and Financial Aid BEFORE Student Loans to Fund My Education

Hey guys, check out today’s guest post from my friend Drew over at The Student Loan Report – if you’re a recent (or not-so-recent) grad struggling to get your student loans in check, go check out his blog and pick up some useful tips. 

How I Used Scholarships and Financial Aid BEFORE Student Loans to Fund My Education

How I Used Scholarships and Financial Aid BEFORE Student Loans to Fund My Education | brokeGIRLrich

Hello. My name is Drew and I want to talk to you about how I used scholarships and financial aid to fund my dream of an education BEFORE I took out any student loans for school. Student loans may seem like the answer to your financial needs when you are in college, but it also means that you WILL graduate with a bunch of student loan debt.

This is not a good thing and this is what I wanted to avoid. I knew I did not want student loans unless I HAD to have them, and I made sure that I did all I could to prevent myself from needing to take them out. Below, I will discuss the steps I took and what I did to limit the amount of student loans I would need.

Scholarships

Scholarships? Yes, they are a great way to fund your college education and the best part about them is that you do NOT have a limit as to how many you can receive. There are many students who receive full ride scholarships and some students who choose to fund their entire education with scholarships alone.

I chose to take some time and apply to as many scholarships as I could. I can tell you that it can be discouraging when you do not receive the award, but there are some tricks to it. You need to apply for smaller scholarships and lesser known ones. This way, the competition is limited and you have a better chance.

Fortunately, I did win a couple of scholarships when I was in high school and the total amount equaled about $10,000. I was as happy as can be and I knew it would help pay for my first year of college.

Grants

In addition to scholarships, I looked into university grants to ensure that I did not have to take out student loans. I did have a financial need at the time, but I also earned some of my grants through my good grades that I earned in high school.

You can apply for and receive grants based on both (financial need and grades). In addition, there are some grants offered by individual schools such as an award for participating in on-campus volunteer events and similar.

Student Loans

Student loans are a serious deal, and you do not want to be in a bunch of debt when you enter into the real world. Many students do not understand what student loans truly mean for them, and they will take out the maximum amount of money offered to them and view it as a “pay day”. On top of this, some students take out private student loans that often require cosigners, further embroiling someone else in the student loan debacle. This is not a good thing to do and should be avoided at all costs.

Student loans should be used sparingly and I made sure that I did not use them unless I needed them. I do have to admit that I did take out student loans, and I am paying for it! This was because I was in a time of need and had to purchase books for school. Other than that, I would have liked to (and tried to) avoid them.

Final Thoughts

It is wise to avoid student loans when you can because they may put you in debt and leave you without room to breathe when you finally graduate. I took the time to apply to every scholarship and grant that I could which was helpful. I would recommend that you start to apply for scholarships as soon as possible.

Drew Cloud started The Student Loan Report when we found it difficult to find student loan news and information in one place. In his free time, you can find Drew playing basketball, reading other blogs, or playing with his Great Dane named Rudy.

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