There are countless sources of financial aid outside of federal and state student loans. There are grants and scholarships from local, state, and federal sources, as well as private bank loans.
If you’ve already reached your student loan limit, that means you’ve probably already applied for the FAFSA and may have received federal aid like the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and PLUS loans, as well as need-based federal grants like Pell, Academic Competitiveness Grant, TEACH Grant and the SMART Grant.
Here are other options that you may not have considered:
State government grants and loans. For example, California residents can apply for the Cal Grant to help fund their education.
Campus-based financial aid. Scholarships, federal work-study, and grants including the Federal Perkins Loan and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) are options, even if you’ve already taken out student loans. Most states and schools use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for other non-federal aid. Ask your school’s financial aid office about these and any other programs.
Scholarships. There are several options for scholarships that could help you get the funding you need for college.
- Campus-based scholarships (often found on the college or university’s website).
- Local scholarships.
- National scholarships, such as the National Merit Scholarship.
Private agencies, companies, foundations, and employers. Often, large companies will offer scholarships to the children of its employees as an added employee benefit. Also, many local businesses will use tip jars to create scholarships for its teen employees. It may not be much, but it can help you get the financing you’ll need in school even for smaller expenses like food and gas.
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Finally, you can always take out a private loan through a bank. Start with your local bank or credit union and ask whether they offer student loans. You may also be able to take out a standard personal loan, but before you do that, research whether other banks near you will give you a student loan option, which may give you better loan terms like deferment on loan payments while you’re in school and a grace period once you graduate.
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