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The average college student racks up about $30,000 in debt, according to U.S. News data. As student loan debt increases, this total will likely continue to rise in the coming years. However, there’s still a glimmer of hope for the next generation of scholars, and it comes in the form of books about scholarships and grants.
When side hustles, parents’ incomes and government aid aren’t enough, look for generous donors who are willing to fund your education. The following books will help you find such people, plus offer practical advice for applying for and winning these much-needed awards and prizes.
1. “The Ultimate Scholarship Book: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes” — Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe
“The Ultimate Scholarship Book” is just that — ultimate. More textbook than manual, this lengthy volume features information on thousands of scholarships and grants. Filter your search by career goal, major, community service, athletics, GPA and more. Earmark the ones you qualify for and take note of included details about the application, deadlines and restrictions. Then, read up on tips and tricks for winning those awards. The authors release an updated version of this book every year, so keep an eye out for the latest edition.
2. “How to Go to College Almost for Free” — Ben Kaplan
If you’re worried about paying for college, you’re not alone. Ben Kaplan was worried, too, but he was able to fund most of his college education by winning scholarships and awards. Better yet, he’s here to help you do the same. Pick up a copy of his book to discover his step-by-step plan and how he implemented it successfully. Kaplan also includes a few bits of inspiration to motivate you to reach your goals and succeed in college and beyond.
3. “Confessions of a Scholarship Winner: The Secrets That Helped Me Win $500,000 in Free Money for College — How You Can Too!” — Kristina Ellis
After both of her parents died, Kristina Ellis earned her way through college by winning grants and scholarships. She shares her expertise in this book where she explains how she created a plan to score a crazy amount of money. More importantly, she divulges secrets about finding awards and making the best impression during interviews. If you enjoy this read, check out her second book, “How to Graduate Debt Free,” for more tips and tricks.
4. “The Scholarship & Financial Aid Solution: How to Go to College for Next to Nothing with Short Cuts, Tricks and Tips from Start to Finish” — Debra Lipphardt
Hack your way through college for next to nothing with this handy guidebook. Not sure which scholarships are worth applying for? This must-read is full of tips on how to determine your eligibility and avoid scams. Even if you have mediocre grades and aren’t involved in extracurriculars, you can get your hands on some serious cash and this — and this book tells you how.
5. “Grant Writing Revealed: 25 Experts Share Their Art, Science and Secrets” — Jana Hexter
This book might have been published 10 years ago, but it remains a classic among books about scholarships and grants. The author interviews 25 successful grant writers who’ve “been there, done that.” Plus, she offer 24 tips for drafting a persuasive proposal. If you’re unsure what to include in your application letter or personal essay, this is a must-read.
6. “Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals” — Beverly Browning
Sure, this book is geared more toward organizations seeking funding but, your situation isn’t all that different. Whether you’re looking for grants from corporations, foundations or government institutions, there are key phrases that’ll increase your chances of receiving approval — and a big check. Learn perfect phrases to describe yourself, your achievements and goals with this comprehensive guide.
7. “The A’s and B’s of Academic Scholarships: 100,000 Scholarships for Top Students” — Anna Leider
There are many scholarships available to students who get good grades. This book includes ones for students that hover around a B average or higher. Win these merit-based scholarships, regardless of family finances and discover more than 100,000 in this one easy-to-read tabular book. Each listing includes details like eligibility criteria, deadlines and renewability options.
Reading for Rewards
It takes motivation and determination to get into college, much less pay for a degree. However, it is possible to earn your way through school by doing some work now. More than 85% of college students benefit from some type of financial aid, so there’s certainly enough funding available for you, too.
Claim your share of the reward by putting in the effort now. Read a few books about scholarships and grants, take lots of notes and put your plan into action. If you use what you’ve learned, you’re sure to earn some funding to help you get your degree.