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Collect as much information as you can from colleges, federal and state agencies, banks and credit unions, and other scholarship sources. Before you begin your scholarship search you need to understand the costs associated with going to each of the colleges you are considering. Then, consider what you and your family will be able to contribute. Hopefully you will be able to pay the rest with grants and scholarships, however, you may also need to look at work-study programs and student loans.
There are a number of agencies and organizations that provide financial assistance for attending college. The money is out there; you need to find it and it is never too early to start looking.
The Internet is a powerful tool for searching for financial aid. The Internet links found below will get you started. The FAFSA is the best place to start. You can complete the application and check your status on-line. Also, check with your state's higher education agency to see if you need to send separate applications for state aid. From there, you should check for scholarships with any businesses, organizations, and churches you or your parents may be affiliated with. Also check for scholarships that may be specific to your intended major and institution.
Remember, deadlines are important. Develop a timetable to ensure that you are meeting all the deadlines. Do not wait until the deadline to send in your application though. Some financial aid is distributed first come, first serve. You need to communicate with the school's financial aid office and any other scholarship programs to find out about their requirements and deadlines, and to find out if the opportunities are renewable. Make sure you keep copies of all your scholarship applications and keep records of when you mail them.
We have put together several resources below to help you start to find financial assistance for college.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid - be sure to fill out your FAFSA in January!