8/3/2012 1:47 PM ET|
8 ways to go to college for free
Check to see if you or your student meets the qualifications for a free ride. Some colleges or aid programs could save you thousands.
News about college tuition is rarely good. As schools continue to raise prices, students are taking on an increasing amount of debt.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created to help consumers understand financial products and services, student loan debt currently tops $1 trillion. Research from the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to higher education, finds that one in 10 students graduates with $40,000 or more in undergraduate debt.
Even if you're not a straight-A student, an all-star athlete or inclined to apply for some of the world's strangest scholarships, you can still find programs that will pay the college tab for you. Here are eight reasons someone else might pay your tuition:
1. You attend an 'automatic scholarship' school
Students at Macaulay Honors College, part of the City University of New York system, don't stress about the high price of tuition. That's because theirs is free. At Macaulay and a handful of other service academies, work colleges, single-subject schools and conservatories, every student receives a full merit-based tuition scholarship for all four years. Macaulay students also receive a laptop and $7,500 in "opportunities funds" to pursue research, service experiences, study abroad programs and internships.
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"The most important thing is not the free tuition, but the freedom of studying without the burden of debt on your back," says Ann Kirschner, the university dean of Macaulay. The debt burden, she says, "really compromises decisions students make in college, and we are giving them the opportunity to be free of that."
Schools that grant free tuition to all students are rare, but institutions increasingly provide automatic aid to enrollees with high grades. Such institutions as Indiana University Bloomington, Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and the University of Kentucky in Lexington all offer automatic awards to high-performing students with stellar GPAs and class ranks. Residency requirements may apply.
2. Your family financially qualifies
Low-income families automatically qualify for some federal financial aid, but many schools step in to fill the remaining gap. At Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif., all undergrads in the liberal arts program whose families earn $60,000 per year or less receive free tuition, a value of $27,214 for the 2012-2013 school year. Families still have to foot room and board charges.
"The maximum (federal) Pell Grant is right around $5,500 . . . that's not enough to meet most tuitions at private universities across the country," says Soka director of enrollment services Andrew Woolsey.
Soka's not alone. Columbia University in New York and Texas A&M University in College Station both offer 100% free tuition for families with adjusted gross incomes of less than $60,000. Harvard University offers free rides to those with family incomes of $65,000 or less. Among the 1,171 institutions that provide information to U.S. News & World Report for their annual college rankings issue, the magazine reports that 62 meet 100% of enrollees' financial needs. To find out a school's policy on meeting need, call the institution's financial aid office.
3. You have native roots
Since 2010, approximately 2,400 students in Michigan have attended college for free through the state's Native American tuition waiver program, says Melissa Claramunt, American Indian and civil rights specialist for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Available to state residents who are at least one-quarter Native American and enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, the waiver absolves eligible students from paying tuition at any two- or four-year public in-state institution.
Claramunt adds that a few states offer tuition waiver programs for Native American students, but that even more individual institutions may offer waivers or special financial aid for indigenous students, including Eskimo and Aleut, as well as those hailing from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
"It is worth (a student's) while to look into individual tuition waivers," she says. "It always would behoove a student to check into programs for certain populations or certain types of student."
Students from these backgrounds may also find additional financial help through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the American Indian College Fund.
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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Easiest way to go to college for free is to:
1) Be a minority
2) Have your parents divorced
3) Have your parents be bums who don't work
You'll get all kinds of scholarships...
Now the REAL ways to get great scholarships SHOULD BE:
1) Work hard in school and get good grades.
Race, your parents' marital status, or your parents' job should have zero impact unless you're millionaires...a parent shouldn't have to sacrifice everything they worked for to educate their kid if their kid has good grades.
how hard can it be to block these scumbag spammers...seems there are more of them on these forums every day...hopefully NOBODY ever responds to them...
Community College is dam near free. That cut my Daughter tuition for a degree nearly in half. All of her Associate degree credits transferred to a 4 year college. She then applied for 49 scholarships. Most were for around $600 each. That with the minimum pell grant paid for her entire degree. She is a Registered Nurse now making very good money with no Student Loans. You must work out a plan first. Most of her friends are over $50000 in debt for the same degree. Moral of the story is please teach your children commom money sense before you send them off to college. The cost of a college degree will cost you THOUSANDS. Common Sense is PRICELESS. She thanked me the other day for giving her a Masters Degree in COMMON SENSE. Dont baby your children, just guide them into adulthood. Gave her the responsibitiy but guided and advised.
They mentioned "get the right job" but only talked about a job at a university... I started working at an automotive factory on 3rd shift when I was 19. I now have a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, paid for by my previous employer and have a job in designing & manufacturing orthopedic implants.
It's not easy working and going to school... but I work with tons of people who complain about the debt they are facing from student loans. I didn't have much of a "childhood" in my twenties, but I did get a free degree:) If you want to go to school and are willing to bust your tail, you can do it.
if i am not mistaken only one of these suggestions made mention of race "native american" scholarship and yet there are a lot of replies ignorning that fact and stating the "real truth" is that "white" people are not privy to anything free.
Does anyone feel an obligation to pay for one's own way in the world anymore? We are far from wealthy but we paid for our son's college, during which time he also worked weekends and during the summer vacation. Guess what? He graduated, is married, his wife stays home to care for their children, and he goes to work.
Now, I realize there are many people who are unemployed due to no fault of their own and I am not criticizing them--just those who seem not to understand that somebody has to pay for all their freebies.
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