The thought of how to pay for college tuition fee is one of the problems many students are facing. It is generally said that education is the best legacy any parent can leave for his children. Unfortunately, many parents cannot afford to pay for their children’s school fees any longer. Many parents could not even earn enough income that will sustain the family. Some are over-burdened with debts as they are still struggling to pay back their loans. You shouldn’t be surprised that some parents are yet to pay off their student loans. No wonder the US student loan debts now stand above $1 trillion dollars. Still, students keep getting fresh loans year in year out. This tells you that a lot of students are not finding it easy paying their college tuition fee. This is actually a big challenge. In this article, I want to point out different ways by which students can finance their education.
How to pay for college
Below are the different suggestion on how to pay for college tuition fees.
Apply for Grants and Aids: Government usually gives out grants or financial aids to students who are in financial needs. If you are planning to access government financial aids, it means that you will need to fill out FAFSA. This form is free. That is why it is called Free Application for Federal Student Aids. You can either apply online or fill out a paper FAFSA form and then submit it through your school. One thing about grants is that, it is free unlike the loans which you need to pay back.
Apply for Student Loans: This is what is common among students. There are two types of student loans; federal student loans and private student loans. Federal student loans are cheaper and more flexible than private student loans. Another good thing about federal student loans is that, you don’t require good credit score. It does not require any credit check. Therefore, you should first explore all available federal student loans before you seek private student loans. There are several of them. There are Stanford and Perkins loans which are disbursed directly to the students. Under Stanford Loans, there are subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. The type of the loans you apply for will determine how much you will get and the interest rate you are going to be charged. If you are awarded subsidized student loans, it means that government will be responsible for your interest payments while still in school. But for unsubsidized Stanford loans, you will be the one responsible for the interest. Besides Stanford and Perkins Loans, there are PLUS Loans which are meant for parents to be able to fund their children’s education. One distinguishing feature about PLUS Loans is that it does not have any maximum limit. This can help parents to meet educational expenses which are not covered by other financial aids.
Apply for Scholarship: Many institutions usually give scholarship to students who meet their eligibility requirements. However, the competition for scholarship is very high. However, you can give it a trial. There is no crime in trying. If you are searching for scholarship, you may need to visit these websites; Scholarships.com, Fastweb.com, Cappex.com, JLV College Counseling, The College Board, and Niche.com.
Apply for tax credit: If you have paid for books, tuition fee and other related expenses, US government allows you to claim a tax rebate up to $2,500. Although this amount may not cover all your education expenses, at least it will reduce the amount you need to source
Apply for work study: If you indicate on the FAFSA that you are interested in receiving work-study funds, and demonstrate financial need through your FAFSA, you may be eligible for the College Work-Study Program. If you are eligible, you will be notified of your eligibility on your Financial Aid Award. But students need to understand that the fund for college work study is usually limited. Therefore, not all students who are eligible will be placed on the program.
Enrol in public school: If you enrol in public school, you may not have your college tuition fee paid for you but you may not need to pay high fee as obtainable in private colleges. Private colleges are more expensive than private colleges. If you still like to attend a private college, you can cross to any private college of your choice to complete your education there. I like the way somebody puts it. He said, “how many employers ever asked an applicant where he started his school? Employers will only ask you where you graduated from”. This is absolutely true. Therefore, starting your education from a cheap public school can help you save some costs.
Stay off campus: Tuition fee is just an aspect of education expenses. If you add the amount you need to pay as accommodation cost if you stay in the campus to your tuition fee, the amount can be staggering. It is usually less expensive to live outside school. However, you need to consider the school environment and the distance of where you will be staying from your school. If you live in a far distant place, you may end up spending more on transportation. Also, instead of staying alone, you can pair with another student of like mind. So, instead of you alone paying for the accommodation, you will be able to share the cost with another person. This alone can help you reduce your accommodation expenses by half.
Sponsorship by employers: There are employers that will be willing to reimburse their staff’s educational expenses if they enrol in a school or write professional examinations. I am a beneficiary of this. My former place of work had a policy regarding this. If any staff decides to further his education, the company would reimburse such staff the tuition fee and the cost of books. But the staff would need to obtain approval for the study first. Not all courses are eligible for such reimbursement. If a staff decides to pursue a course that is not related to his job roles, the company will not take up the responsibility for the reimbursement of whatever costs the person incurs in the course of his studies. Also, company will only reimburse you for the papers that you passed.
Other suggestions on how to pay for college include borrowing from your parents. If they are not buoyant enough to pay for your education, they may be willing to take from the savings they have made towards their retirement. Also, if you receive cash gifts, you may apply it towards the payment of your tuition fee instead of spending the money on frivolous things.