Did you know that the average cost of attending a private college is $48,500? That’s a steep price to finish college.
If you’re currently studying for a degree, you know that money is often a challenge. Depending on the institution you’re studying in, the fees can soar through the roof. In most cases, you can’t afford college without financial assistance.
Don’t get discouraged yet.
In this guide, you’ll learn ways to pay for college. Read on and find out which method works best for you:
1. Look for Grants
Colleges, states, and the federal government hand out grants. Your eligibility depends on your financial needs and the income you give to FAFSA. The best part about this is that you need not repay.
When getting a grant, the school will send you a financial aid award letter. It should arrive in your letter of acceptance. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry—some schools send it later.
The average grant aid for public college undergrads is $5,000. Meanwhile, those studying in private colleges received around $16,700. The biggest grant award often comes from colleges, so it’s better to ask whether you’re eligible.
2. Ask the College for Funds
You can bargain for financial aid, despite popular opinion. To do this, learn how to make a formal appeal letter. Call your college when you’re done.
Do your best to emphasize your strong points and compatibility with the school, and whether you got more aid from another college.
Aside from that, describe your current financial state more effectively. Sometimes, you might have a family member in need of financial aid, like medical bills. Do this only if the college hasn’t considered this special financial case.
The reason is FAFSA basing your income from the preceding year. If you don’t update your college about your special circumstance, they might not agree to give you aid. That’s why bargaining for college payments isn’t the time to be shy about your financial strife.
3. Work-Study Jobs
Eligible students have part-time jobs at their disposal, whether it’s on your campus or nearby areas. It depends on the school’s finances and available funds. Like asking for grants, submit your financial information to FAFSA to be eligible.
If you get a work-study job, you can expect payments at least once per month. Undergrads earn their wages by the hour, which doesn’t exceed your annual work-study award. The school also includes this information in your financial aid award letter.
If you’re not qualified for work-study, find another part-time job. Job posting websites have listings for college students searching for odd jobs. These often include dog walking, babysitting, tutorials, and other work related to your course.
4. Apply for Scholarships
This method is the most common aid you get if you can’t afford college. Thousands of private scholarships exist out there, funded by various organizations. Whether it’s from companies, charities, or community groups, scholarships can save you lots of money.
To start, ask your high school guidance counselor for the easiest scholarships to get. You can also check free online services for scholarship suggestions.
Take note, some departments offer scholarships separate from the college’s general admissions scholarships. They vary since some are academic, while others are volunteer-based and need-based.
If you’re looking for major-specific scholarships, seek them out since most departments won’t advertise it. Students applying for these might get the financial aid that covers a portion or even the entirety of their tuition.
5. Take Out Loans
Getting a loan should be the last on your list. But if your scholarships, grants, and savings aren’t enough to foot the entire bill, take it. In typical situations, a family can use iCash loans to cover 20% of their college loans.
When applying for loans, turn to the federal government first before asking private institutions. It’s because federal loans have a lower interest rate and protect you more as a borrower. That’s why you must fill out your FAFSA since you can’t student loans from the federal government otherwise.
You can get a loan regardless of your family’s financial situation. First-year undergrads have a maximum of $5,000 for their loans. But if you can prove your dire financial need, you might get subsidized loans that won’t gain interest until after your graduation.
The PLUS loan is another federal student loan type that enables parents to help their children pay for college. These loans need a credit check but it has a higher interest rate. The school determines the amount parents can avail, but it can cover the attendance cost while deducting other financial aid.
6. Claim any Tax Credits for Tuition Costs
Your tuition and other college-related fees might qualify for tax relief using the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. It has requirements to become eligible, and in most cases, you can only benefit from one instead of both.
The pleasant news is that these tax credits have a major impact on your tuition fees. For example, applying for the Lifetime Learning Credit decreases the taxes you pay. It doesn’t reduce your taxable income—it reduces the money you owe.
Sometimes, these tax credits will make your tax balance to zero. The money you save from taxes can fuel your next annual tuition bill instead.
7. Community College and Living Off-Campus
If you have the option of living at home and commuting to college, this saves a lot of money. Most colleges will charge you $10,400-$12,000 for a room each year. This can easily pay for your annual tuition at some schools.
Sometimes, your financial situation can only get you into a community college. This is a good decision, but keep in mind your goal is to transfer to a four-year school after. In a community college, expect your tuition to be around $3,500 each year.
Can’t Afford College? Use These Tips Today!
These are some ways to fund your education if you can’t afford college. Use them depending on your situation to make the most out of your money.
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