If you’re worried about footing the bill for your child’s higher education you’ll be happy to learn there are many ways for finding free money for college out there.

The fact that you’re thinking about this right now is great, because it pays to start planning as early as possible. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Start Saving While They’re Young

finding free money for collegeWhile your child is still young, open up a 529 College Savings Plan.

Some banks will offer up to $1,000 of free seed money if you open this account before your child turns one. As each holiday or birthday rolls around, encourage friends or family who would otherwise purchase a quickly forgotten gift for your child to instead make a donation towards your child’s fund, making a lasting difference in your child’s life.

Contribute regularly, as most states offer a tax deduction on any contributions you make each year. Would you rather put your hard-earned money toward your child’s education or pay the state more tax?

Even more enticing, there are matching grants available to families with low and moderate incomes that essentially double the contributions you make each year. You must apply each year for the matching funds, so add a note to your calendar so you don’t lose out on this way of finding free money for college.

Another program you should consider when finding free money for college while your child is young is Upromise.

You could be finding free money for college every time you buy groceries or fill up your gas tank.

It’s free to enroll and watch your savings grow.

They will even let additional people contribute to the same fund – for example, your child’s aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Free Money For College While Your Child is in High School

Once your child is starting to decide on a career and evaluate which college they would like to attend, there are still opportunities for finding free money for college to fund their education. Of course if your child is at the top of their class, had great SAT scores, or is the key player on the basketball team, apply for a scholarship at their school of choice. Universities want to draw the brightest students, and this is often accomplished by extending enticing scholarship offers to interested students.

There are also a number of federal and state grants available. Apply early for all of the ones you are eligible for, because there is a certain budget awarded each year. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

? Federal Pell Grants: This is the largest federal student grant program, providing up to several thousand dollars per year that will not need to be repaid. As your child goes through school, the amounts typically increase with a track record of excellent grades – especially for students with science, math, or social science majors.

? Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants: Applicants need very low incomes to qualify, but this program offers yearly grants up to $4,000.

? State Grants: Each state is different, but every state has grant money available for higher education. Consult with your student’s guidance counselor, or check your state’s higher-education commission website to find out what’s available.

Check with your prospective college or university to find out if there are any scholarships available in your child’s interested field of study.

Sometimes there are ways of finding free money for college just for the taking, and your child simply needs to write an essay about the person for whom the scholarship is named, or why they desire a career in their chosen field.

With advance preparation and some elbow grease, you can literally save thousands on your child’s higher education. The hard work you do now will definitely help pave the way for your child’s secure future.


Finding Free Money For College

Author and career advisor Jenny Masterson also contributes content to TheBestColleges.org, an informational site featuring college rankings as well as lists of specialty college programs such as online criminal justice masters degrees. She has a unique interest in teaching people ways of finding free money for college.