College is a vital investment that can benefit a person’s life and/or career, unfortunately it can be also be quite expensive too. Many students wonder how to pay for college, and luckily there are a number of strategies that can be used. If a student is lucky then their parents can pay for a large majority of the bill but that isn’t always an option. Other ways to pay for college can include applying for scholarships, federal government grants, taking out loans, and also paying your way by working. There are pros and cons to each strategy and I will write them below.
Getting help from your parents or caregivers
Most parents are more than happy to at least partially help their children pay for college. If your parents are largely able to foot the bill it can greatly lower stress and pressure you may otherwise feel from having to pay on your own. Unfortunately, most college programs are so expensive that your parents are unlikely to be able to pay for all the college tuition. So there are still other ways for you to find out how to pay for college.
Going to community college for your first two years
Going to a community college for your first two years of schooling can do a lot to lower tuition costs. Community colleges are very affordable and these two years at a lower cost can make paying for college drastically easier. If you are having a large amount of difficulty paying for college you can very likely get grants that can take away the price of classes at a community college. The BOG fee waiver in California does exactly that and waives the enrollment and class fees for a student in community college in California.
Applying for Federal Government College Grants
Another thing that you can do is apply for college grants from the federal government. There are a few grants that are available. The Pell Grant is the current largest provider of grants from the federal government. The awards available go up to 5,920 dollars per academic school year. The amount that you will get will depend on your financial need, your cost of attendance, your status as a part-time or full time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
There is also the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. This is a campus-based grant that gives up to 4,000 dollars annually based on need. The average award for this grant is about 1000 dollars.
Another grant available is the Academic Competitiveness Grant. This is a grant for low income students who had completed a rigorous high school program such as honors advanced project classes. The applicants must already be Pell Grant recipients to apply. This grant is for incoming first or second year students.
And yet another grant available is the National SMART Grant. This grant takes is for 3rd or fourth year students. Students must already be Pell Grant recipients , academically talented, and be majoring in the STEM fields or high need foreign languages. The SMART Grant delivers up to 4,000 dollars worth of student aid every academic year.
For teaching students another grant available is Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education(TEACH) grant. This grant is used to offset tuition costs for teaching students who agree to work for high-need areas upon graduation. For a four year commitment each student will receive 4,000 dollars annually.
For nursing students there are large amounts of funding that can help pay a student’s cost of living assuming the student agrees to work at crucial-shortage health care facilities upon graduation. Students getting support will receive help beyond college cost. Priority is given to the most disadvantaged students. When service obligations are not met, these grants turn into loans that must be paid back with interest.
Taking out student loans.
When thinking about how to pay for college, taking out student loans should be considered but as a last resort. Student loans are a big responsibility and will most typically require years of payment to be able to clear off your record. A pro to student loans is that they greatly increase a student’s ability to pay off their college tuition. There is a large amount of flexibility to how you can pay off these loans, and the interest is low compared to other loans.
Working as a means to pay for college
Another potential strategy to pay for college is to work. A major positive to using this strategy is that it helps your work experience for potential employers after graduation. A downside to this strategy is that you will have less time for socializing and school-work. Working your way through college can also be drastically more exhausting than paying your way through loans and grants. But if you work your way through college also using grants, you can graduate debt free.
Applying for Scholarships from Private Institutions
There are a considerably large amount of private institutions that will regularly give out scholarships every year. It can be highly worth it to apply to as many of these as you possibly can. There are many millions of dollars worth of unclaimed scholarships every year. These scholarships will regularly change so it is well worth it to search for them yourself on the internet to check for available options.
College is a valuable investment that can be very beneficial for any person’s life. Unfortunately it can also be difficult to find out how to pay for college. Luckily, there are a number of possible strategies that can be used to pay for tuition. You can see if your parents or caregivers can possibly aid with tuition. Most parents and guardians will be happy to help pay for their loved one’s college tuition. You can also apply for federal government grants. You can also try working your way through college. Another strategy would be taking out student loans, but this is a potentially risky idea that should be well thought out before attempting. And finally you can apply for scholarships from private institutions. If you are wondering how to pay for college, you now know a few solutions available.