The cost of college tuition varies from school to school, and students will have to decide how much they’re willing to pay or take on in student loan debt before selecting a college or university to attend. Public versus private, in-state versus out-of-state, and other factors can all play a role in how much tuition costs.
In any case, students will be stuck covering the cost of tuition at whatever school they choose, unless they’re lucky enough to be offered a full-ride scholarship going in. So how can young adults with little money or prospects cover these costs? Here are a few tips to make the process easier.
- Financial Aid
Absolutely every student should apply for federal financial aid by filling out the FAFSA form. By doing so you could be awarded grants, low-interest federal student loans, and even work-study opportunities to help you pay for your college tuition.
It’s important to keep in mind that several factors can affect the amount of money you’re eligible for via student aid. Your parents’ income, money in your own accounts, scholarships, and more could reduce the amount of student aid you receive, so you need to calculate all costs and available sources of funding to ensure you don’t anticipate more aid than you qualify for.
- Personal Loans
Your parents might not want to foot the bill for your college education, but family members and friends may be willing to offer you loans to help you earn your degree. The nice thing about taking such loans is that your loved ones are likely to be a lot more lenient when it comes to terms.
The federal government certainly offers low-interest options, and you won’t be called upon to repay loans until you graduate (or fail to meet minimum standards for enrollment). Your family and friends, however, may still offer better terms, and they’re less likely to send you to collections for a late or missed payment.
Yes, scholarships can eat into your financial aid package, but it’s free money, so you can’t complain much. Just make sure to keep applying for loans throughout your time in college. It’s never too late to apply and there are plenty of options to explore.
The income you receive from part-time or full-time employment will not reduce your tuition, but it will certainly help you to cover costs. Even if you have your tuition covered by scholarships and financial aid, you still have books and living expenses to contend with.
A job could help to cover tuition and expenses. It could also help to reduce your loan debt. Both are desirable outcomes.
- Reduced Tuition
Before you set your sights on covering your college tuition, you might want to think about ways to reduce it. By taking your general education classes at community college before moving on to a 4-year school you could dramatically cut the overall cost of attending college.
You might also think about attending a program like University of Maryland’s online MBA. Even if you pay full tuition, you could save on living expenses, transportation, and other costs by attending college remotely. Whatever you can do to save will only help you to cover the cost of college tuition.