For low-income students, the cost of higher education could stop their journey to college before it begins. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to widen college accessibility for low-income students.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant does not need to be repaid and is free money for college. You apply for the Pell Grant by filling out the FAFSA. The financial need listed on your FAFSA dictates how much money you will receive through the Pell Grant. Keep in mind, there is a maximum Pell Grant amount, and it can vary from year to year.
Work-study programs allow students to earn cash at part-time jobs on or off campus. All you need to do to apply is check a box on the FAFSA. About 3,400 colleges participate in work-study programs. Talk to the financial aid offices at the colleges you’re applying to and check if they participate.
Sticker shock is a common problem for low-income students applying to college. Instead of being scared away from college, use a net-price calculator to make a more informed decision.
The net price is determined by estimating the total cost of college — including tuition, books, room and board — and subtracting the average amount of student aid. Colleges are required to post a net-price calculator on their website. Utilize this tool when deciding where to apply.
Take a look at College Greenlight and fill out a profile to create a scholarship match list. Be sure to provide lots of information so you can be matched with as many scholarships as possible. There is no limit to how many you can apply for as long as you meet eligibility requirements.