The cost of college is a major concern for many students and their families. In addition to your tuition, you’ll need to think about paying for books, lab fees, and the cost of housing and bills. There are a variety of ways to pay for college, and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Keep reading to learn about the different resources available to help you pay for college.
Applying for Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are forms of financial aid that do not require repayment. There are many different types of grants and scholarships available, but finding the best ones for you requires a bit of research and dedication. Thankfully, there are sites like Tuition Hero, which take the stress out of the equation by helping students and their parents compare tuition costs across more than 7,000 schools. Tuition Hero offers an easy-to-use search tool that also lets users compare grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid in one place.
Filling Out the FAFSA
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form that can be filled out to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. The form is used to calculate how much money the student and their parents are expected to contribute to their education, as well as how much financial aid the student is eligible for. There are several types of financial aid available, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.
To fill out the FAFSA, students will need their Social Security number, driver’s license number, federal tax information for both themselves and their parents, and bank account information. The application can be filled out online or on paper by downloading a copy from the website. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the application online.
Students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to receive financial aid than those who don’t submit a completed application.
One of the best ways to ensure that you have enough money saved up to cover the cost of college is to start saving early. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, over time, it will add up. You can also take advantage of tax breaks and other incentives offered by the government to help you save for college.
You may also want to consider working while you are in school. Working part-time can help offset some of the cost of tuition and other expenses. And if you work full-time during summer break, you may be able to save enough money to cover your costs for the entire school year.
Taking Out Student Loans
There are a few ways to take out student loans: The federal government offers Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans, while private lenders offer everything from Perkins Loans to Parent Loans. The best way to figure out which loan is right for you is to do your research and compare interest rates, repayment options, and fees.
When it comes time to pay back your loans, there are a few different repayment plans available. You can choose between standard repayment, graduated repayment, extended repayment, or income-based repayment. Each plan has its own benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to read up on them before making a decision.
If you can’t afford your monthly payments, don’t panic! You may be able to get your loan deferred or even have the amount of your loan forgiven. However, keep in mind that both of these options will increase the amount you’ll end up paying overall.
Investing in a College Savings Plan
Investing in a 529 plan or other college savings vehicle is a great way for parents to save money for their child’s higher education. These plans allow you to save money tax-free, and the funds can be used to pay for any type of post-secondary education, including tuition, room and board, books, and more. There are a variety of 529 plans available, so it’s important to research which plan is best for you and your family. Some plans offer matching contributions from the state government, while others have lower fees or higher interest rates. No matter which plan you choose, investing in a college savings account is a smart way to prepare for your future.