Earning a college degree can be expensive, including tuition, student fees, accommodation, transportation and books. Financial aid, such as grants, loans and work-study programs, can help reduce overall expenses for college students. Some financial aid is merit-based, so you’ll need to provide transcripts from your current college or former colleges attended. Others are need-based and don’t take transcripts into account.
Things You'll Need
- FAFSA form
- Online access
- Transcript letter
- Explanatory letter
Fill out the FAFSA form, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Government aid can take the form of loans, grants and work-study programs. Most of these options are need-based, so although you’ll need to provide extensive financial documentation (for example, tax returns or assets statements) it won’t be necessary to provide transcripts from former colleges. You will need to meet minimum requirements for satisfactory progress in order to continue receiving financial aid, however. This includes completing a certain number of units per academic year, depending on your part-time of full-time status, and maintaining grades above a 2.0 average.
Visit your school’s financial aid office to talk with a counselor. She can point you toward catalogs of available scholarships or online scholarship directory resources. Read through application requirements, carefully looking for scholarships that don’t require transcript submission from current or previous schools of attendance.
Apply for scholarships requiring only your GPA. If the prospect of providing transcripts seems discouraging because of one or two blemishes, it could be that your GPA is still relatively intact. Scholarship applications requiring only your GPA will allow you to demonstrate overall academic accomplishment without fully disclosing some of the lackluster specifics.
Apply for scholarships weighting factors other than academic performance. These might include scholarships for volunteer service, athletic ability, ethnic background, area of study or personal history. For example, corporations sometimes offer financial aid to deserving children of their employees.