5 Ways to Get Free Money for College

How does free money for college sound?   It is that time of year again. Not just for holidays and gift-giving, but also for the start of the scholarship season. The great thing about scholarships, unlike other financial aid help like loans, is that they don’t have to be paid back.  A scholarship is a financial aid award for students to further their education and the money is yours to spend on your schooling needs.  In this blog, we will discuss the best ways to get free money for college through scholarship opportunities. 

We all know that college can be very expensive between living expenses like tuition, room and board, textbooks, and more. You have made a wise choice to begin your higher education at Coastline College where tuition is one of the lowest in the nation.   But California is still a very expensive place to live. Therefore, scholarships and financial aid are available to help you monetarily while pursuing your education in preparation for your future life and career.

Searching for scholarships and completing the application process does take time, so prepare and start early. One of the biggest mistakes students make in the process is starting too late and missing out on the scholarship because of deadlines. You need to keep your heads up on the various deadlines for each of these scholarships and you need to know where to look for these scholarships. And remember, it is free money for your education, so you should apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for, and you should do it every year while you are in school.

So where are some of the best places to search for scholarships?

Your Local Community  

First, start closes to home. You can look in your neighborhood at your local clubs, organizations, businesses, religious institutions, and the like, which may offer scholarships to students from the surrounding area to show their commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals in their community. 

These opportunities which are available on a more local and personal level may also be helpful in increasing your chances of winning a scholarship on a local level than a national scholarship.    Be proactive, reach out and network within your community to learn about where you can find these scholarships.  

Federal Student Aid

The U.S. Department of Education awards more than $120 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 13 million students.  All the information can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.  This highly informative website from the US Department of Education is a comprehensive guide about federal student aid and explains step-by-step, the process of applying for financial aid via grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form needed to apply for financial aid to pay for college or career school. FAFSA is required for most scholarships and grants.     

One of the biggest and most popular federal grants is the Pell Grant program which is a federal grant to promote access to higher education and provides money to financially in need low-income students to pay for college. 

Some other Federal Student Grant Programs  include:

The Federal Work-Study Program – The FWS Program provides funds for part-time employment to students with financial need, giving them a way to pay for college and to help them pay for education-related expenses.

Military Service –  The United States Armed Forces offers several programs, some of which pay 100% tuition assistance for college courses taken during off-duty hours.  You could earn your degree first by serving in the Air Force, Army, or Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

National Corporate Scholarships

There are thousands of scholarships nationwide that are available on an annual basis through various companies and organizations. Below are a few examples from firms and products you may use or are familiar with that offer scholarships:

  • Coca Cola Scholars Program – The Coca Cola Foundation has awarded a total of $73,800,000 in scholarships since 1989 through three nationally recognized programs. Every year the foundation supports more than 1400 college students with annual scholarships amounted to almost $4 million dollars.
  • Google Scholarships – Google offers a variety of scholarships in partnership with several organizations to inspire students, including minorities, veterans, and women who are pursuing careers in technology.

Search the Internet

There are a multitude of sites online for various types of scholarships. Below are just a few places to begin your search.

  • Fastweb.com – This website is considering the leading online resource in finding scholarships to help you pay for school. You create a profile and the site’s search feature will help you find the matches that best fit your needs.
  • Collegegreenlight.com They connect first-generation and underrepresented students to caring colleges, generous scholarships, and life-changing counselors and mentors.
  • Scholarship.com – According to this website, there is free money out there to help you pay for college. Use their free student resources and handouts to search colleges, keep track of important deadlines, get expert tips, and search over 3.7 million scholarships and grants, totaling nearly $19 billion.

Coastline College

Coastline College also offers more than 250 scholarships to students each year with various criteria and all students are encouraged to apply.   To access the Coastline application, visit coastline.edu/scholarships. You will need to log in using your MyCoast/Canvas username and password. Coastline’s Scholarship application is due on 11:59pm (PST) on Tuesday, December 31st. Of course, if you have any questions, please contact the Scholarship Committee at scholarships@coastline.edu.

Aside from Coastline’s Scholarship Program, additional scholarships are available for students to apply. These are different kinds of external scholarships and Coastline offers scholarships through partnering organizations such as:

Hispanic Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) – Deadline: December 31, 2019. This scholarship is open to students who reside in Orange County, CA.

Doyle Family Foundation Scholarship – Application opens November 1, 2019. Open to students who attend Coastline College or are a graduate from partnering high schools.

Live Mas Scholarship – Opens November 8, 2019. The Taco Bell Foundation Scholarship is available to college students aged 16-24 years old.

Different scholarships also have various requirements, so always and make sure that you meet all the requirements for a scholarship before you apply. Just remember that each scholarship is unique and has its own set of requirements, such as different qualification criteria, and different selection criteria. Remember to do your research and tailor your submission as closely as possible to the requirements to have a better chance of getting that scholarship.   

There is no limit on the number of scholarships to which you can apply. So, apply to every eligible scholarship. Find these hidden monetary treasures that are waiting for the taking.