Higher education continues to be a priority for many students, and the cost of college continues to rise each year. Potential college students can easily be overwhelmed by the prospect of paying for their education, but there are actually many possibilities when it comes to funding such an important part of so many adults’ lives.
Choose Your College
Anyone considering the path to higher education should think about what their career intentions are. Different careers call for different types of schools. For a student who is interested in law or medicine, a prestigious university may be the ideal option. Future chefs can look into culinary school. Those who are passionate about plumbing should look into a trade school or a community college. Ivy League universities may help some get their foot in the career door, but expensive schools simply aren’t necessary for all occupational paths. Weigh your options, and carefully consider differences in costs when choosing a college.
Complete the FAFSA
The Free Application For Student Aid is an essential piece of paperwork for anyone who is going to college. Once the federal government has an idea of how much tuition you can afford, grants, loan offers, and other financial benefits may come your way. During this time, researching the entire array of financing options, such as asset based lending, can help keep you informed about all of your possibilities.
Look For Scholarships
The number of scholarships available to prospective college students would surprise most people. Many organizations award money to students based on factors such as interests, skills, family background, heritage and career path. It can never hurt to apply for as many applicable scholarships as possible. Even with a small scholarship, what seems like a negligible amount of money can still help lessen the student’s financial burden. Most universities also offer their own scholarships in order to attract students with specific talents, such as those with musical, athletic or academic abilities.
Get a Job
While this may seem obvious, getting into the work force can help to pay for college. Several thousand dollars can potentially be earned during the summer breaks. Most colleges also have work-study programs that are financial lifesavers for some. If paying for college is a priority, sacrificing leisure time and getting a job may be necessary.
Consider a Loan
Loans often get a bad rap, but millions of college graduates would not have been able to attend school had it not been for the money they borrowed. Should you need to borrow money, federal loans are optimal due to the flexibility that you are afforded when it comes to repayment options. There are more factors to consider when looking into private loans, such as interest rates and loan terms, but these can also be a great option for some students.
Join the Military
Many students are not aware of this, but if you enlist as an active duty member of any of the branches of the United States military, full tuition assistance is provided while you are in the service. After military service is completed, veterans are given the GI Bill, which pays out a substantial amount towards post-secondary school. Military members are afforded many other financial benefits and opportunities when it comes to college, so joining one of the six branches of the military may be the best option for some students.
When researching a course of action to pay for school, it is best to take a systematic approach, looking into all possible funding opportunities and weighing which ones are best for your specific situation. Ask questions, take notes, and keep your options open when paying for college in order to assemble a responsible financial plan.