Resourcing Yourself for Life After High School with Scholarships, Grants and More
When it comes to life after high school, the big question is — what direction to go, to school or work? While some are ready to go to work right away, others will decide to continue on to more formal learning, this is also known as post-secondary education.
Post-secondary education doesn’t necessarily mean attending a university, it can mean attending a two-year college, a vocational training school, or trade school. All of these post-secondary options can help you gain skill for a higher paying job so you can provide for yourself and/or your family more comfortably.
So, how do you get the financial resources you need for this additional education? There are ways to find additional financial help so you can pay for your post-secondary education. They include scholarships, grants, and work-studies or other similar programs. All of these funding sources are different from loans and don’t need to be repaid.
Scholarships — Free Money for School
As a student, you will want to avoid taking a loan whenever possible since they accumulate interest and can become unmanageable debt later on. Scholarships are a great way to get money for college since they don’t require repayment and often don’t require you to have “perfect” grades.
Scholarships do not have to be repaid but you do need to apply for them and the process can be easier than you think! The application process for scholarships varies, depending on the organization or individual offering the scholarship but it is often worth the time investment! Depending on your financial needs, scholarship money can stretch far and help lower the amount you need to pay out of pocket.
Our School Counselors and College and Career Readiness Advisors, have created this list of scholarship opportunities. It contains multiple databases where you can search for scholarships that you qualify for.
Scholarship Opportunities from Arizona Community Foundation
The Arizona Community Foundation has a website where students in Arizona can apply for 100+ scholarship awards online with one general application. Visit their website to get the full details: Scholarship Opportunities.
Many scholarship organizations want to help students of all types who need money for post-secondary education. Many are not looking for perfect grades or a long list of volunteer work. They want to see students with different backgrounds, interests or talents succeed, so don’t be afraid to apply!
Grants — Aid for Your Situation
Another good source of post-secondary education funding is grant money. Grants can come from different sources but many students get grants from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) through the FAFSA. You will need to use the FAFSA to apply for a Pell Grant. The FAFSA is the free application for student federal aid money. They have a video on YouTube so you can learn more about it here.
There are also a number of resources to help you apply for the FAFSA. A list of FAFSA resources from Grad Solutions College and Career Readiness Department is available here.
Like scholarships, grants often do not need to be repaid but some are contingent on the student meeting certain requirements. Side note —grants are not as commonly given to students as scholarship awards.
Work-Study to Reduce Expenses
Work-study programs are offered at some schools to help students with their expenses. There are pros and cons to these programs but generally, they allow students to gain experience working at their school while reducing their expenses. Any income generated from a student’s work-study does not affect their financial aid because it is non-taxable.
When you decide on what school you want to attend, the FAFSA will let you know if you qualify or ask the school directly about work-study programs that may be available to you.
There are several financial programs designed for Arizona students. Read our next article to learn about more ways to access those aid programs!
If you’re are interested in learning more about our program and the college and career resources we can provide, please visit the page for prospective students or speak with an Enrollment Specialist at (480) 689-5999 during office hours: 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.