Where to look for more college funding

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Q. My son has two more years of college to go and we don’t have enough money. What kinds of scholarships can he find, and where can he look? I know there are scam sites out there and we want to be careful.
— Tapped out

A. There are lots of opportunities to find scholarships. It’s just going to take some legwork.

The first place to start is the website for the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, or HESAA, said Steven Sirot, co-founder of College Benefits Research Group (CBRG) in Roseland.

The site offers important information about both state and federal grants, Sirot said.

You should look at the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG), a need-based award that could be as high as $9,000 at some New Jersey public universities and almost $12,000 at some New Jersey private schools, Sirot said.

There’s also the Educational Opportunity Fund Grant (EOF), a need-based award that also considers capability and motivation. The amounts can range from $200 to $2,500 per year, Sirot said.

Sirot said you can also look to programs that are not need based.

The NJ Stars program, which is based on student achievement in high school, would cover the full tuition for a New Jersey county college.

Then there’s the NJ World Trade Center Scholarship, which is for dependent children of New Jersey residents who were killed in the terror attack on 9/11. This covers the cost of many eligible New Jersey and out-of-state schools, Sirot said.

You can also look to scholarship search websites.

Sirot recommends Meritaid.com, which helps match schools with the student criteria based on the student’s profile, and Fastweb.com, which lists and searches thousands of public and private scholarships and details how to apply for them.

You can also try to renegotiate your financial aid package with your child’s school. This will be best done if there are special circumstances that are not reflected in your financial aid forms, Sirot said.

Those would include a recent job loss by a parent, a parent’s death or extraordinary expenses such as taking care of dependent elderly parents or a special needs sibling.

“The bottom line is there are resources out there, even if you are late in the game,” Sirot said.

If you have to turn to non-aid resources, don’t miss this story.

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This post was first published in June 2016.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.