How to Pay for College
Between the years 2019-2020, there were more than 26 million students enrolled in a United States higher education institution or college. However, that number is slowly declining over the past couple of years. This could be due to students choosing another course in life or failing to have the finances available to pay for college.
Don’t let a lack of finances stop you from having the college experience everyone deserves. Understanding how to pay for college is more simple than you might think. There are many wonderful resources out there to ensure you’re able to pay for college.
Although college might not be necessary for everyone to have a successful life, it’s still a life experience where many young people discover themselves and the paths they want to be on. If you want to attend college but aren’t sure how to cover the cost of college, then continue reading below. Here’s everything you need to know about paying for college!
If you decide college is something you want for yourself while still in high school, then you’re already a step ahead. It’s important to start applying for scholarships while still in high school. If you’ve already graduated high school, then there’s no need to panic as many scholarships are still available after high school.
However, if given the opportunity, start there. Speak with a guidance counselor about different local scholarships and how to apply for them. Many scholarships will require high school students to complete a certain amount of volunteer hours in the community, maintain a specific GPA, and write an essay.
Apply for as many scholarships as you can while still in high school. When out of high school, visit an adviser at the college you want to attend and ask them to provide you with a list of scholarships you might qualify for as well. Apply to as many of them as you can.
Many scholarships are specific for a certain type of student, so do your research and choose ones for your demographic. Different scholarships will cover a different amount of tuition for various colleges, so know how much is covered as well.
Another way to start paying for college while still in high school is to apply for dual enrollment. If you place high on your Advanced Placement exams in high school and your school offers dual enrollment, then you can take college courses while still in high school for free or at a discounted cost. These courses will satisfy both high school and college credits at the same time.
Most times, dual enrollment is offered through local community colleges. If you choose to go this route, when you graduate high school and start your college career, you’ll already have college credits completed and will be one step ahead of the game.
Financial Aid and Grants
Every student should apply for financial aid before starting a college semester. Even if you don’t believe you’ll receive financial aid, there’s no harm in applying for it. You need to check with your college’s financial aid office to determine when your application must be completed by.
Failing to have your financial aid information completed by that date will result in losing this opportunity. There are no exceptions, so know your dates! Single parents, low-income students, and other students meeting certain criteria will qualify for financial aid/pell grants.
Financial aid is money given to you in the form of grants to cover the cost of tuition and other college expenses, such as textbooks. You do not have to pay this money back and when you combine your financial aid with a scholarship, you might even have free money leftover in your pocket!
529 College Savings Plan
A college savings plan allows families to save money tax-free as long as the money is spent on educational purposes. Unfortunately, many families aren’t taking advantage of these tax-exempt accounts. These types of savings accounts are essential for families whose children won’t qualify for financial aid due to income.
Instead, families can place money into this savings plan over the course of several years to build a significant college fund.
Depending on where you work, your employer might cover the cost or portion of the cost of college courses for you. If you’re trying to juggle work, school, and home life all at the same time, then this is something worth looking into. This type of assistance mostly comes from larger companies who want to offer their employees a chance to receive better education as long as the courses are related to their industry.
For example, if you work at a large corporation and want to receive a bachelor of science in management in order to be eligible for a promotion, then your employer might help cover the cost. However, you’d be surprised by how many companies do offer some type of college tuition assistance. Never hesitate to ask and do your research.
When all else fails, or you still have some tuition left to cover after applying all the above, turn to federal loans. Your college will offer both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. Subsidized loans are loans that are available to undergraduates and the government will cover the interest while you’re still in school, for 6 months after you graduate, or during a period of deferment.
The amount you qualify for will depend on your school. Unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduates and graduate students. You don’t need to show financial need in order to qualify for these loans.
The amount given for unsubsidized loans is normally higher as well, but you’re responsible for paying the interest as soon as the loan is taken out. Both loans can help you cover the cost of tuition and other college expenses.
Learning How to Pay for College Is Easy
If you weren’t sure how to pay for college before, we hope you now know a few great options! It’s always best to start putting a plan together while still in high school, but you can always begin applying for scholarships, grants, and loans afterward as well.
Use all of the helpful information given in this guide above to ensure you pay for the cost of college with ease! To find more education topics, check back here daily.