You’ve received your acceptance letter from your chosen school. You’ve already done the hard part, getting accepted. Now you’re wondering how you’re going to afford it for the duration of your degree program, and it’s no wonder why. According to The College Board, the average price for tuition, room, and board at a private school was $45,370, and the average student paid $26,080 of it. For public colleges, the average is $20,090, with students paying $14,210.
Even if you didn’t qualify for a scholarship, or your scholarship only covers a small part of your costs, there are other types of aid to help reduce your costs. It gets a bit confusing trying to understand the different types of aid and distinguish loans, which need to be paid back, from grants, which don’t. Here are six other ways you can pay for college.
Free money is the first source to go after. File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA, to determine your eligibility. Most are given to those who demonstrate financial need, which is determined by how much income you report. Grants can come from the college itself, especially if they pledge to fill in a gap because your income isn’t sufficient to pay for the costs out-of-pocket. Federal Pell Grants and state grants are also worth looking into.
- Request more aid
This practice works in some cases. Write a letter emphasizing what you can contribute to the school and make a case as to why you need more financial aid to afford to attend. Your financial situation may have changed or there may be other circumstances in your life making school unaffordable.
Work study jobs are part-time jobs on or close to campus. It’s based on need and availability at the school. Students get paid on a regular basis, and the amount you can earn is no more than the amount on your FAFSA award letter. Nonwork-study jobs can also be a source of additional funds.
- Private scholarships
Private scholarships are available all over and for nearly every type of student. Some are for sports, others academic achievement, and others for community service and character. Check the qualification criteria and apply for as many as you can to maximize your aid.
- Get a loan from the federal government
Get a loan from the federal government if you must to cover any other expenses that aren’t covered by grants or other sources. These loans are subsidized by the government, but the amount a student can borrow varies based on income.
- Get a private loan
A private student loan is yet another option to finance your college education. Private loan companies offer lending options to students after they’ve maxed out their federal loan limit. You can also re-finance your loan at a lower rate, which can save you hundreds or even thousands in interest over the life of the loan.
Take advantage of every path possible to pay for your college education. Your degree will be well-worth the effort.