50 Top Colleges for African Americans

Our exclusive ranking yielded some surprises and some staples. And this year, after we show you the best schools, we take a comprehensive look at how to make college affordable.

and work ethic.

Striking Gold
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are 750,000 scholarships earmarked annually for qualified students, totaling $1.2 billion. So how do you find them? According to Gen and Kelly Tanabe, founders of SuperCollege.com and authors of Get Into Any College and Get Free Cash for College (SuperCollege L.L.C.; $16.95 and $22.95), it’s a matter of doing your homework.

“Most students search for scholarships on the Internet and think that they are done. This is a huge mistake,” says Gen. “We’ve discovered scholarships in the dusty collection of books at our library, in newspaper announcements, and on a supermarket shopping bag.” Try these places to find scholarships:

School High school students should visit their guidance counselor to discuss financial aid. Students should think about their family’s background, the type of college they want to attend, and special interests that make them eligible for certain scholarships.

The community Call all the local clubs, organizations, unions, and fraternities and sororities. Some organizations include local NAACP chapters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the Urban League.

The library Try scholarship directories such as Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2006 (Thomson Peterson’s Guides; $32) and The Scholarship Search: A Guide to Winning Free Money for College and More (iUniverse Inc.; $9.95).

Resources
Websites

  • www.fastweb.com
  • www.collegeboard.org
  • www.scholarshipworkshop.com
  • www.finaid.org

BOOKS

  • Beckham’s Guide to Scholarships for Black and Minority Students by Barry Beckham (Beckham Publications Group Inc.; $17.95)College Board Scholarship Handbook 2007 (Henry Holt & Co. Inc.; $27.95)
  • Scholarships for African-American Students by Peterson’s (Peterson’s Guides; $14.95)
  • The Everything Paying for College Book: Grants, Loans, Scholarships, and Financial Aid — All You Need to Fund Higher Education by Nathan Brown and Sheryle A. Proper (Adams Media Corp.; $14.95)

ORGANIZATIONS

  • NAACP (www.naacp.org)
  • National Urban League (www.nul.org)
  • Elks Club (www.elks.org)
  • American Red Cross (www.redcross.org)

The Lending Tree
When used wisely, loans can be an effective method of paying for college. Use this guide to determine whether a loan will be beneficial to you.

Federal Perkins Loans are available to part-time or full-time undergraduate and graduate students with great financial need, although Federal Pell Grant recipients receive top priority.

The loan amount is determined by your financial need and the school’s available funds. schools receive financial aid funds annually from the U.S. Department of Education. When all available funds have been distributed, no more are given for that academic year. This is why it is important to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early.

With a subsidized Stafford Loan, the Department of Education pays the interest while the student is in school, for six months after he or she leaves school, and during a deferment period. Eligible students can borrow a Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) to cover some or all of their need. Direct Loans are borrowed from and must be repaid to the Department of Education, while FFEL loans are borrowed from and must be repaid to private lenders. Depending on which program the school participates in, students may receive a Direct Loan, an FFEL Loan, or both.

With an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the student is responsible for paying interest from

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