Though obtaining a college education can open the doors to a plethora of professional opportunities, it doesn’t come without a price tag. To date, the average college student will pay more than $33,000 a year to attend a private college and more than $9,000 a year to attend a state or public college. Realizing that to obtain a college degree these numbers are ultimately doubled or quadrupled by the time it’s all said and done. Many college graduates find themselves getting a degree with a multi-thousand-dollar invoice attached.
Understanding the True Cost of Higher Education
When most college-bound students think of educational costs they only take into consideration obvious expenses like tuition. The truth, however, is that going to college will cost a lot more than tuition. Depending on your living arrangements you’ll need to pay rent or room and board, you’ll need to pay for food, transportation costs, cosmetics, laundry, school supply costs, and extra cash for entertainment. These additional expenses often add thousands of dollars to the cost of a college education. Fortunately, there are avenues that can be taken to pay for your college education and associated costs.
When applying for college one of the first financial solutions you should look into is financial aid. For students and families who do not have a lot of income for education, you may be able to receive assistance with paying for school. Depending on your income, some students are able to get their education completely financed while others only have to pay a small amount.
One of the best options college-bound students have for getting a free or affordable college education is applying for scholarships. Scholarships are financial aid rewards provided to eligible students to help pay for their education and associated costs. You can use a scholarship matching engine which will generate a list of scholarships you’re eligible to apply for. The more scholarships you apply for, the higher your chances are of being approved for money that never has to be returned.
Grants are non-repayable funds that are offered as a gift to recipients by businesses, corporations, educational facilities, government departments, and more. Students can apply for grants and if eligible receive free money towards their college education.
Although not totally free money, another way to fund your college education is to participate in a federal work-study program. Such programs are provided by the federal government and allow students with low or no income to work part-time as a means to pay for some of their education. Most work study jobs are related to community service or in the field of your college studies.
One of the most common options for funding school is a student loan. With federal and private loan programs, students with credit ranging from poor to good can receive funds to attend school. Most loans provide students with a grace period allowing them to repay the balance after graduating. While it may seem easier to apply for a student loan, it is important to point out that it can impact you financially for years. After graduating with more than $25,000 in debt and no job, finding a way to repay the loan before it’s out of its grace period may be easier said than done. If student loans are the route you must take, be sure to find a loan with the longest grace period, flexible repayment options, and a low interest rate.
When it comes to funding your college education the best options are those that require no repayment at all. Financial aid, scholarships, grants, and work study programs provide you with financial relief that won’t leave you in debt after graduation. However, if your only other option is to apply for a student loan, be sure to make an informed decision to avoid trouble down the road.