How Private Grants Work

Funding your education takes some planning. Private grants may help take some of the stress out of going to college. See more college pictures.

A surefire way to make good money is by getting a college degree, right? That used to be the case. Now it's almost essential. A college education is becoming more important with every passing day. It's perhaps the most valuable asset in today's ever evolving society. The problem with obtaining a college degree isn't always the commitment and academics; it's the cost.

It's no secret tough economic times have made paying for college even harder. In 2009, the national annual tuition average rose 6.5 percent to $7,020 [source: Los Angeles Times]. With the addition of housing, books and food costs, students paying for school out of their pockets can rack up debt quickly. So, what if you could go to college for free?

Sometimes academic scholarships and public grants offset these costs. But students may not qualify. Some who simply can't afford to go to college may forgo it altogether. Fortunately if you're in this boat, you aren't without a paddle. Private grants can offset or even cover all your education costs.

Securing private grants takes some work. Often you'll have to really search to find private funding. But nothing comes for free, especially money. If you are willing to invest four years in your education, chances are you're willing to work a little to find money. This article aims to help you with that search. But first, let's look at how grants and loans differ from other financial aid in the next section.