Most people are turned off by the high cost of a college education. It’s no surprise why. The cost of tuition continues to rise at the same time that the economy is tanking. The high cost of a college education is dissuading high school graduates from even attending college. Those already in college are having a hard time paying for college and need to take on costly student loans. But there is a way to avoid being burdened by student loans the rest of your life. With a little bit of work you can actually get a free (or nearly free) college education. Here are five ways to get a free education.
1. Qualify financially
One of the easiest ways to get a free education is to be poor. If your family is in one of the lowest income brackets or is below the federal poverty line, you’ll get the most automatic federal financial aid. Many schools will step in and cover the rest of the tuition costs, giving you a great education for absolutely free.
Be aware that free tuition does not typically cover room and board, so you may still have to foot the bill for those costs. Attend a local college or university and commute to avoid these fees.
2. Know your roots
If you’re Native American or a minority you may qualify for special funding designed to give an advantage to underprivileged groups. You’ll find the greatest financial advantage of being a minority in public schools, where certain quotas must be met to keep federal funding.
Besides getting a discount on college tuition, knowing your family history is interesting and you never know what kind of colorful characters you’ll uncover. You can use online databases to trace your genealogy or seek help from local churches that have records of your family.
3. Survive hardship
In some states you may qualify for reduced or free tuition to state schools if you’re a resident of the state and have overcome some type of hardship. For example, Michigan residents who have been on Medicaid for two years automatically qualify for free tuition at in-state community colleges, or they can receive up to $2000 of assistance at a public in-state four-year university.
Other states provide scholarships for survivors of natural disasters or children of those who perished in the September 11th attacks.
4. Don’t have a job
Being unmarried and unemployed will maximize the amount of federal funding you’re eligible for. You can qualify for up to $9,500 in federal money by simply choosing not to work. That’s a great reason to prolong getting that summer job!
5. If you have a job, have the right job
If you’re pursuing higher education, what better place to seek employment than at the institution you wish to attend? Many colleges and universities offer employees the opportunity to take classes for free, though most limit the number of courses you are allowed to take at once. Though you’ll take longer to complete your education, you’ll get it for absolutely free. In this case, patience certainly pays off!
With a little creativity you can find hidden money and scholarship programs that will allow you to attend college absolutely free. Take advantage of these programs and enjoy a free education that’s invaluable to your future.