Paying for college can be difficult, especially in our current economy. Like many parents, you want the best education possible for your child, but you also want to fund their education as smartly as possible.

fafsaAs you guide your child in beginning or continuing their IT educational pathway, you’ll want to research financial aid and scholarships for which they may qualify. This will make things easier for the both of you—and will allow your child to concentrate on establishing a solid IT foundation instead of stressing about money. There are many government and non-government resources you can access to help you with this.

Federal financial aid can be acquired by filling out and submitting the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online.  You’ll be asked about your household earnings and other tax information to qualify. Most students will qualify for at least some aid.

Eligibility

To qualify for financial aid, your student must:

  • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • For males between 18 and 25: Register (if you haven’t already) with the Selective Service
  • Maintain satisfactory progress in college or career school
  • Have either a High School Diploma or GED or have completed a high school education in a home school setting approved under state law

Types of Aid Offered Through the FAFSA

The FAFSA is a gateway to various types of financial aid. Your student might qualify for Grants, Loans, or a Work-Study Program. Here’s a breakdown of these types of financial aid:

  • Grants are student aid funds that do not need to be repaid. Check out this site for a list of common federal grants.
  • Federal Loans are another method to consider. Loans are financial aid that you must repay with interest. With a federal loan, you’ll most likely pay a fixed interest rate of 6.8%. This might be higher than the interest rates offered by private lenders, but federal loans are generally more safe and stable. Read this USA Today article to learn more.
  • Work Study: Federal Work Study (FWS) provides students with a part-time job to help them earn money toward their tuition. The program encourages work that contributes to the community in some way or relates to the student’s area of study.

The Final Word: Federal Financial aid is the most sure-fire way to save some money on your child’s college education. But don’t forget about other options your child may qualify for, such as Scholarships or institutional grants offered by your student’s college.