Whether you have just graduated from high school, or you have been in the workforce for a few years, many people are beginning to see the importance of a college education. The steady increase in unemployment has forced many individuals who are out of work, to return to college in order to further their education. With the current economy, however, many people simply cannot afford the high price of tuition. Luckily, there are many options that may help you to finance your education, and make it possible for you to obtain that college degree.
Many people do not realize that they may qualify for a scholarship. Scholarships are one of the most desirable forms of student aid because they do not have to be repaid. The money is simply awarded to students who meet certain criteria. This includes:
- students in a certain area of study
- students who are considered non-traditional
- students who are from a certain ethnicity or background
- students who excel in a sport
- students who have a certain financial need
By talking to a financial aid representative, or conducting research online, you can find out which scholarships you qualify for.
2: Community College
You may want to consider attending a community college to obtain your degree. Depending on your field of study and the type of degree that you want to earn, you will be able to determine whether or not a community college is an option for you. If your degree is offered, it could save you a substantial amount of money off of your tuition. While many people believe community colleges to be second rate, they actually offer many wonderful education programs, and degree opportunities.
Pell grants, like scholarships, do not have to be paid back upon graduation. Awarded based on a determined financial need, grants are available to both part time, and full-time students.
4: Perkins Loans
These loans are a great option for those attending a community college, and are in need of financial assistance. Funded by the federal government, students do not have to repay Perkins Loans until they have graduated from school. The loan is given at a lower interest rate, making payments more affordable.
5: Stafford Loans
- Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP): Funded by private lenders, these loans are also backed by the federal government.
- Federal District Student Loan Program (FDSLP): These loans are federally funded
- Subsidized Option: There is no interest accumulated while the student is attending school full-time. Upon graduation, the student is responsible for making payments toward the loan balance.
- Unsubsidized Option: In an unsubsidized loan, payments are deferred until the student graduates. If the student is not able to attend the amount of classes needed to maintain financial status, they will also need to begin payments. The interest is capitalized until the loan payments are due.
6: Military Aid
The Montgomery G.I. Bill is part of the benefit package awarded to those who have served the country in the military. It will completely pay for 36 months of education at a community college, or trade school. Servicemen and women are also qualified to receive Tuition Assistance, or ROTC scholarships. They may also be eligible for the Student Loan Repayment Program.
7: Work Study
During work study, students are able to work at a part-time job, and earn money while going to school. Jobs are traditionally associated with the student’s area of study. This allows them to learn valuable on-the-job skills, while attending classes.
8: Promotions and Sweepstakes
Although you may not win a full-ride tuition paid to your favorite university, many students have won items that are extremely helpful while attending school. Items, such as gift cards to the campus bookstore, scientific calculators, and other expensive equipment, are awarded to amazing students who truly deserve the help.
Don’t forget to check with your employer to see if they have a tuition reimbursement program available. You may be surprised to find out that they do, and have a substantial amount of money taken off your tuition.
Many parents start college funds for their children when they are small. There are also certain savings accounts that have different tax benefits available. Prepaid Tuition Plans and Section 529 Plans will allow a student to waive tax on interest when repaying college student loans.
With so many opportunities available to you, you can find an option that will help to make your college education more affordable.