Applying to college is stressful, and finding the funds to pay for it isn’t always easy, either. Luckily, there may be more financial aid resources than you are aware of — and you don’t need to be the world’s best student or demonstrate financial need to qualify for all of them, either.
In fact, Colorado’s Department of Higher Education works with post secondary institutions in Colorado to provide grants and stipends to state residents, and additional aid can be applied for through the schools themselves.
How can you start your own college journey? Let’s discuss the four steps all Colorado residents should take to fund a college education.
The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is your first step in paying for college.
This form is used to connect students with multiple sources grant and scholarship dollars, so it’s a necessary form to fill out regardless of what state you live in, or where you plan on attending college.
Brace yourself, however; it’s a long form. (That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you out along the way) Still, few scholarships and grants accept applications without the FAFSA, so it’s in your best interest to complete it.
Besides, it’s totally worth it. When you submit the FAFSA, the form alone will evaluate your eligibility for:
The FAFSA can be submitted before you’ve received your college acceptance letter, so there is no need to wait to apply. In fact, it is best to apply as soon as possible so that you don’t miss out awards that may have application deadlines.
After you fill out the FAFSA, take a look at some additional state-funded aid for Colorado residents.
Colorado grants include:
Additionally, Colorado’s Advancing Students for a Stronger Tomorrow (ASSET) program provides undocumented students with in-state tuition and eligibility for the COF stipend at Colorado public colleges.
If you’re a current high school student, schedule regular appointments with your high school guidance counselor to stay up-to-date on local scholarships. Set a notification on your phone to help you be on time and not miss an appointment.
It’s always a good idea to do your own searches online, as well. Check out the financial aid websites for the colleges you are applying to, or call them up on the phone.
Additionally, private organizations in Colorado offer financial aid. The Denver Foundation is one that offers a wide array of grants and scholarships, and, despite the name, you don’t have to live in Denver to qualify for all of them.
Some other scholarship resources that you might want to check out include:
Sallie Mae's Scholarship Search, which is a database of constantly updated scholarships
If you still haven’t come up with the aid that you need, a private loan can help you make up the difference that you’ll need to fund your education.
Before taking out any Colorado private student loan, check out our free NitroScore tool. Simply enter a college and major to find out your total costs, salary after graduation, potential loans needed, and a score that tells you how easy those loans will be to repay based on projected salary.
You can even play around with different college/major combinations and customize the results with info about scholarships, grants and savings.
From there, you can find out who can give you the best rate from our trusted and highly vetted loan partners.
Colorado residents shouldn’t have to tackle the cost of tuition alone. Start planning for your education today!