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Independent or service organizations sometimes choose to write you an actual check, but these scholarship amounts are usually comparatively small.Student loans, on the other hand, come directly to you.
But you may not receive the full amount of a scholarship award upfront.
Government grants and loans are generally split into terms that are negotiated with colleges.
Instead, the scholarship money goes elsewhere: If a college offers you a scholarship that's a tuition discount, the bill that comes to you will have the scholarship amount credited.
Or if you get a scholarship that's a book allowance, you might get a credit at the college bookstore.
For now, however, the increase in lifetime income presents a compelling argument for pursuing a college education so long as students resist the temptation to overborrow.
There are also a variety of non-financial benefits to a college education such as improved health and better life expectancy.
Analyses that are based on medians instead of means, such as those conducted by Sandy Baum of the College Board, demonstrate about half as much of an increase in lifetime income.
But there is still a net financial advantage to pursuing a college education.
The payback period for a Bachelor's degree is 11 years at public colleges based on median income, and 18 years at a private nonprofit college.
The payback period is 5 years shorter for Associate's degrees because the cost of education is lower, the cumulative debt at graduation is lower and the time to graduation is shorter.