Attending college is like a full-time job when you are enrolled full time. You have to give yourself time for study and homework. So it is very hard to work at a job and attend classes full time. Even though you have GI Bill benefits coming, definitely apply for financial aid, too. It is based on need, according to your previous year's taxes. Complete the free application for financial aid at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Web site, www.fafsa.ed.gov. Once that is complete, it will be sent to the location of your choice.
Financial aid consists of many different programs, including:
- Federal Pell Grant: This grant does not have to be repaid. The maximum award for 2008-2009 is $4,731 per year.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This grant does not have to be paid back. You can receive up to $4,000 per year.
- State Grants: Each state may offer other grants to assist with your funding for college.
- Teach Grant: This grant provides up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in public or private elementary/secondary schools that serve students from low-income households.
- Stafford Loans or Direct Loans: A loan is something you will have to start paying back six months after you have either graduated or are no longer attending classes.
- Scholarships: Online search engines can help veterans seek out and make scholarship applications. Visit the searchable "Need a Lift?" reference book at this site for options.
If, for some reason, your income was higher last year because you were on active duty, ask a counselor at your institution for an exception or special circumstances form. They may look at your income today, which may qualify you for financial aid.