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So you need money for college.For yourself, your spouse, or your kid who is quite content to live at home for the next 40 yrs.You have the choices of scholarships, grants, or loans from either government or private sources. Naturally the scholarships and grants are the preferred route since neither has to be repaid. Not everyone can qualify for a scolarship or grant, therefore the need for student loans.

Grants are sourced federally, state, or institutional. The federal grants are all based on financial need and tax documents are required as proof of family earnings.
The most common of these is the Pell Grant which tops out at $5350.
The TEACH grants max out at $4000 and the recipient is required to teach low-income students for a minimum of 4 years.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants also max out at $4000 and are available to the neediest of the Pell Grant applicants.
The Academic Competitiveness Grants only provide $750 for the first year and $1300 for the second. Finally we have the National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent is for 3rd & 4th year students with a GPA of 3 and above who are majoring in the sciences or a critical foreign language.

All states have some kind of financial aid program for college students. You can check the state you're interested in by going to http://www.students.gov/STUGOVWebApp/Public?topicID=25&operation=topic .

Scholarships are far too numerous to list here and they are available to a much more diversified group of people than grants. Many of them are keyed to those with the greatest financial need, but there are those that only require something specific, like left-handed cow milkers. It will take a lot of research and time spent filling in applications, but it is time well spent. You want to be wary of scams that promise to find you a scholarship for a fee. Most of these only provide you with a long list of scholarships and you can get those off the internet for free. Time spent building your profile will reward you many times over. Apply to all that you are elgible for and have a reasonable chance of being considered for.

Whichever financial aid you are after, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do that online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ .

Loans can be federally funded, such as the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan or there are many sources in the private sector. The Government loans will always be the better deal if you qualify.

If you are saving up be aware that money in an IRA or a 401K is not counted against financial aid qualifications. Just don't cut yourself short when you take money out. Leave some for retirement.
You can put up to $55, 000 in a Coverdell, but if you can do that you probabnly don't need financial aid. Another thing to do is pay down debt. Credit card debt makes it appear to the decision makers that you have more money than you actually do.

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