With financial aid being in high demand due to the fledgling economy, people are looking for more and more sources of aid. While the FAFSA is a necessary document for gaining federal financial assistance, it remains clear that the most desired form of financial aid funding is the kind that you don't need to pay back. However, oftentimes many students find receiving things like scholarships and grants is easier said than done, and many just don't know where to start looking.
Just this past week the US News and World Report delved into the growing phenomena of website builders and online entrepreneurs forming social networking sites for students who are seeking financial aid. These sites allow students to personally post information about themselves and ask for donations toward furthering their educations. Anyone can donate, and all donations are made electronically (via credit card or PayPal accounts). The website providers themselves verify that the students are in fact in school, ensuring that the money will be put to good use.
Sometimes called Facebook financial aid, these sites have helped numerous students so far, with the average donations falling somewhere between $500 and $5,000. Some popular websites providing education assistance are GreenNote.com and SponsorMyDegree.com.
While this form of financial aid assistance is surely not going to cover the total cost of education, especially not for all the students who are in need of financial aid, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Donations such as these should encourage students to spend the time searching for scholarships and other forms of free aid, as it is clearly not an impossible thing to obtain. Websites like the College Board allow you to make a profile that will match you with scholarship opportunities suitable to you, and most colleges and universities offer financial rewards for things like academic integrity or achievements within extracurriculars.
While the financial aid process can be grueling at times, don't sweat it. Talk to your guidance counselors about finding financial aid opportunities, and don't bypass taking the time to do some research yourself. There are tons of options out there, making financing your education a surmountable obstacle.