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Free Money Pt. 1: Fall in Love with Benefits.gov

College Hacks is an ongoing series written by Micheal Lewis, Campus Admissions Manager for Columbia College of Missouri's Evening Campus.

Figuring out how to pay for college can be the biggest obstacle to earning a degree. While there are plenty of ways to make your college expenses affordable (school-specific scholarships, employer-based tuition assistance, etc.), one rarely used source of free college money is the United States Government. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a one-stop shop where you can search for free government money? The future is HERE! Check out benefits.gov, the government portal that makes it easier than ever before to find government funding.

What makes benefits.gov such a great resource is that it removes most of the hassle from the funding search. Through the Benefit Finder tool, it locates a wide variety of funding sources based on a series of questions you answer. These questions are largely based on demographic information and once completed, a list of benefits is populated. The Benefit Finder tool is good for more than just uncovering education-related monies. Use the tool to find assistance with childcare, transportation, housing and more! After all, your success as a student may depend on how much assistance you can find in other areas of your life.

There are a few words of advice I want to mention. First, this isn't competitive sitting. You WILL need to do some legwork to get some of these programs in motion. This could include paperwork, income verification and other tasks. The faster these tasks are completed, the better. Don't procrastinate and miss your chance! Lastly, you may not find much depending on your demographic information, there will always be more government programs for people who fall into the lower income levels.

Now take a short break from our site and head over to benefits.gov and check it out!

Previously covered in College Hacks: Earning College Credit for What You Already Know

Family, Higher Education, Columbia College, College Hacks, Money

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