How To Pay
For College!

There are
7 Ways
To Pay For


Money for College






7 Ways To Get College Paid For!

Your COLLEGE PACKAGE will determine what universities accept you and how much money they will give you.

In 8th-11th grade,  your goal is to do everything possible to build a great College Package.  In 12th grade, be honest about the Package you have then apply only to colleges that will love your package just as it is and hopefully give you money to attend.   Here are the ways to get college paid for.  Give colleges what they want and you can expect to get MONEY!


People who can prove financial need, can get money.  Parent's adjusted gross income must be under $50k for public schools or under $100k for more expensive private schools.  The money comes from 3 places.

  • Federal – PELL in the amount of $5,500/year for need.
  • State – Up to $20,000/yr. Requires the student to have graduated from a high school in that state and often requires attending a state university.
  • Institutional – The college itself will give need based grants and scholarships of up to 50% of the total cost of attendance to students with proven need.


National Merit Scholars can get a full-ride at many college.  Less than 1% of students achieve this status.  But there are many college and corporations that give scholarships exclusively to NMS winners. Here is what it takes to win.

  • PSAT – Must have an 11th grade PSAT in range of 200-219.  You also need a comparable SAT within one year of your PSAT.  For more details go here.


When you apply to a university that is a good match for your College Package, that application will result in both an offer of admission and an offer of primary aid. This award will be 50% tuition max!  To get primary aid you will need:

  • GPA – The higher the better.  3.8 is minimal.
  • SAT/ACT –  SAT of 1350 or ACT of 30 plus.
  • Honors – AP Scholar status or 18 hours of Dual Enrollment.


This requires a separate application by December of 12th grade.  This award can be up to 100% of the total cost of your college. To get college paid for today requires both primary & secondary awards. You will need:

  • GPA – The higher the better. Top 10 students in a class are preferred.
  • SAT/ACT – Top secondary aid looks for SAT of 1210 or ACT of 25 plus.
  • SAT 2 – One in any subject with 700 or better is beneficial.
  • Honors – This can come from any classes in dual enrollment or three or more AP tests with a3+.
  • Notability – You need proof of ongoing leadership, competitions, and community services going back to 8th Some must be at a state or higher level. Public notice of some type is favored.
  • References – One great reference from someone who is either important to your major, or well known to your school, or if famous throughout the world.
  • Awards – National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, NSHSS, or winning any state, national, or international competition, or getting a public recognition from a powerful person or corporation.


If you have a well-honed skill in an area of performance, then you can get program dollars at a college that has a competitive team in that skill, or from a college that has dollars for that skill.  Typical programs with scholarships are sports, art, debate, dance, robotics, math, chess, and brain games. There are literally program dollars for everything from playing video games to riding horses, if you just pick the right college to apply to.  You must audition early or seek active scouting to get these dollars.  Amounts vary tremendously.


There are limited ways to get college paid from the federal government.  Need is the most obvious.  However there is also money available to protected classes, people who have served and their families.

Special Circ – If you have a handicap then there may be a disability benefit that will compensate.

Ethnicity - Native Indian, Aleutian Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics

Military – If a parent served post 9/11 there is a GI Bill option for his/her children.

Service – If the student wishes to serve in the military after college then there are three ways to get it paid for.  They are very different and should be weighted carefully.

  • ROTC – Serve in ROTC during college in exchange for tuition, fees, room and board. You will be expected to join up afterwards but may opt out and cover the scholarship to a loan.
  • Academies – The service academies are the most selective colleges in the world but if you get in then it is paid for. You will be admitted before graduation.
  • Enlist – If you enlist after high school but before college then you can go to college on the GI Bill when you are ready.  There are no promises here!


After high school, go to a local junior college for up to 60 credit hours.  Keep you GPA at 3.8 or better.  Take only transferable core courses.  Get admitted into a national junior college honor society.  Then apply to a university and you will have automatic admission and receive a merit based scholarship.  No SAT or ACT required!

There is a way for every student to get college paid for! Use the one that is the best fit for you and you can avoid taking on college debt ✿



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