NEW YORK (PIX11) — After four years in higher education, the average loan debt for U.S. students is $30,000.
Parents and students are making their college decisions now, but there are still ways to get free money toward an education.
Experts with the College Benefits Research Group explain that there are need-based and merit-based scholarships, as well as chances to negotiate more financial aid, to help offset the rising cost of college and keep student loan debt down.
May 1 is the deadline by which decisions must be made so applicants commonly think there isn’t any more money out there as the date approaches, but experts say that isn’t true.
Here are a select few need-based scholarships available in New Jersey:
- Tuition Aid Grant (TAG)
- Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Grant
- For more information, visit Hessaa.org
And select need-based scholarships available in New York:
- Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
- NY State Educational Opportunity program
- For more information, visit Hesc.ny.gov
There are also merit-based scholarships available in both states:
- New Jersey Stars Program – Open to the top 15 percent of students in their class, this scholarship offers free tuition to any county college in NJ or up to $2,500 or more toward four-year institutions.
- New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship
- New York Academic Excellence Scholarships
- New York State Memorial Scholarships
Parents and guardians should do their research and be prepared to present the school with a financial figure they think is reasonable based on what FAFSA and the government have determined they can pay.
If a school’s aid package does not meet those needs, experts say talking to the financial aid departments can open the door to finding more money to make it possible for the student to attend.