For most students, the expense of attending a college, university, or trade school seems so overwhelming that many simply give up the dream of continuing their education. The truth, however, is quite the opposite…students cannot afford to give up. With the job market becoming increasingly more competitive, job applicants with no previous training or degrees are often turned away. According to a 2014 National Center for Education Statics report, college graduates earn far more over their working lifetimes than non-college graduates. In 2014 the median earnings of young adults with a bachelor’s degree ($49,900) were 66 percent higher than the median earnings of young adult high school graduates ($30,000). The median earnings of young adult high school graduates were 20 percent higher than the median earnings of those without a high school diploma. Since it’s impossible for us to list all the scholarships available to students, we have compiled a short list of the best places to begin your quest for financial assistance. Our hope is that you discover ways to fund your education without amassing a large debt. Best Places to Find Money There are a variety of ways to pay for college or higher education. Are you eligible for a scholarship or grant? Do you qualify for government assistance? Is a student loan right for you? With so many questions, it’s hard knowing where to start. So, here’s some help. Federal Student Aid The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion every year in grants, loans, and work-study funds to students attending college or career school. Visit StudentAid.gov today to learn how to pay for your higher education. For more comprehensive OK College Start The folks at OKCollegeStart.org have a wealth of information available for students planning to further their education after high school. One of the best parts of the site is the scholarship database. It’s incredibly easy to use! Big Future The scholarship search tool at BigFuture.org is designed to sort through the clutter to find the scholarships best suited for you. Part of the process does require a brief survey of your interests, but it’s short and turns up quite a bit of information. (I pretended I was a senior in high school and, based on my answers that were true to my interests, I came up with 66 potential scholarships.) Best of luck in your search. If you have questions concerning a specific scholarship, you’re encouraged to speak with the host organization or sponsoring school. And, keep coming back to EpicCharterSchools.org as we’ll be sharing tips on the actual application process soon!