Whoever said that high school was the easiest time of your life clearly didn’t have to think about transitioning into the next phase of his or her education. As highly accredited universities become privatized, their tuition increases at an alarming rate.
In fact, many bright students who get accepted to prestigious institutions simply cannot afford to attend, or choose not to because of the tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt they would accrue. If this sounds like you, or you’re worried it could, know that there are boundless ways to pay for college or make your education more affordable that you might not have even known existed. Check out these tips to learn more!
How to Pay for College Tip#1: When looking at schools, check out their rates of financial aid.
Both public and private universities are required to publish what percentage of their students receive aid, and the average percentage of need that is met. If over half of a college’s student body relies on financial aid, it’s safe to say that you’ll be eligible for some sort of aid if you’re accepted. There are also universities that promise to meet 100% of their student body’s financial needs, which are definitely worth looking into. FAFSA.gov is the official website to apply for federal aid, and it will give you financial aid estimates for each school you’re accepted to after you create an account. If you need help researching, it might be worth the time to speak with an accounting tutor to crunch the numbers.
Scholarships and grants are both financial gifts that you don’t need to pay back after you graduate, so apply to every single one you’re eligible for. Your school guidance counselor or librarian can help you locate local scholarships and grants, and you can find more information about larger financial gifts using this college tuition research guide (see chapter 8).
How to Pay for College Tip 3: Research loans and their interest rates.
If you’ve exhausted your free financial aid and still need an extra leg up, see what loans you qualify for. Start with federal loans first, as their interest rates are usually fixed, and then take out a private loan if you still need help. If a loan looks like a good deal because its interest rate is low, double-check to see if it is variable; if so, you’re likely to see your interest rate rocket after you graduate.