Let's face it: Managing financial commitments isn't always easy, and college tuition is, for many, one of the biggest commitments there is.
If you're a student wondering how to pay for college, often times you need look no further than your college administrative offices. Many colleges offer financial services for students, including help in searching for, and attaining, scholarships or work opportunities. In addition to financial aid, these programs often give general money management advice, as well. Financial literacy programs offer varied approaches for getting students on the right financial footing as they begin their college career, taking the form of classes, seminars, workshops, or even one-on-one advice from financial aid officers or peers.
Let's hear from experts working in financial aid and enrollment offices at major universities to learn about three financial aid opportunities that colleges provide students:
Are there any unique opportunities you offer that you'd suggest prospective students consider?
Opportunity # 1 - Scholarships for low-income, first-generation college students
Delisa F. Falks, Executive Director Scholarships and Financial Aid at Texas A&M University
At Texas A&M we offer scholarships to incoming freshmen that are for low-income first-generation college students. This scholarship also offers learning communities for all scholars which are very beneficial in college transition. We also offer Financial Literacy for our students to assist with money management. Texas A&M University in general has a tremendous amount of opportunities for all students.
Opportunity #2 - Pre-Matriculation Course on Financial Basics
Billie Jo Hamilton, University of South Florida Director of University Scholarships & Financial Aid Services
We recognize the challenges that many students face when they have to manage their own money for the first time. To help students learn about finances, we opened our Financial Education Office last fall to provide seminars, classroom lectures, and peer to peer counseling for students who want to learn about money. We also have a pre-matriculation course on financial basics that is required for every freshman.
Opportunity #3 - One-on-One Financial Aid Counseling
Ryan C. Williams, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Syracuse University
All students, whether prospective or current, should take advantage of the services their campus offers. Many colleges offer one-on-one student financial aid counseling, financial literacy programs, scholarship search assistance and guidance on work opportunities. The resources to assist a student with paying for college are right at the student's finger tips and it is wise to seek out and utilize the services offered.
All of these experts underscore the importance of accessing programs that are there to help you succeed financially. Be sure to contact your financial aid office for more information. If you're deciding on which college to attend, consider researching a school's financial aid programs before making your decision. Perhaps most important, though, is ensuring that whatever school you attend, it is accredited. Only accredited institutions are considered for federal student aid, as well as many other scholarship and grant programs.
1. Billie Jo Hamilton (University of South Florida), interviewed by the author 8/25/2014
2. Delisa F. Falks (Texas A&M), interviewed by the author 8/13/2014
3. Ryan C. Williams (Syracuse University), interviewed by the author 8/21/2014