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About 40 percent of the $1.5 trillion student loan debt was used to finance graduate and professional degrees, with more black students borrowing money to attend graduate school compared to their white counterparts.

According to one organization which seeks to manage student loan debt for millions of Americans, 57% of black students, who earn associate degrees at public institutions, take out loans to pay for their education, compared to 43% of white students.

Nearly 1.4 million undergraduates borrowed private loans in 2011-2012, with many not taking  out Stafford loans or  applying for federal financial aid.  On average, black students owe $7,375 more than white students.

Scholarships for Black College Students, a new guide on Community for Accredited Online Schools, has vital information on how to find scholarships and help you break through student loan debt.

Pam Andrews, CEO of The Scholarship Shark, Shannon Evans, a college recruiting coach and owner of The Scholar Coach, and Carl J. Thomas, associate director of admissions and coordinator of Minority Services at Berea College, provide tips and advice on how students can find and land the financial aid they need to pay for their education.

Sources include Black Greek letter organizations, historically black black churches, organizations such as Rotary, Civitan, and Kiwanis clubs, as well as local chapters of groups like the United Negro College Fund.

Tips to land financial aid and scholarships include how to:

  • Tell a compelling story
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Develop self discipline
  • Build relationships, raise GPA and test scores
  • Get to know your college admissions counselors

Click here to find out more on how to maximize financial aid to help fund your education.

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