3 ways to help pay for the high cost of college

College students studying together in a library

When you finally reach your senior year in high school, it’s an exciting time. There’s senior homecoming and prom, higher-level courses to take and special time to share with your best friends. Most of all there is a sense of becoming, of moving from time as a teenager to the first steps of adulthood. With graduation just around the corner, there are future plans to be made and universities to explore. Moving from everyday life at home during senior year to a college campus is a huge change. All of a sudden you are immersed in a world without many restrictions and starting to chart your own course in life. You’ll make new friends who share your interests and you’ll build a common bond as you navigate challenging courses and cheer on your college sports teams all year. Instead of a set schedule with 7 hours of school each weekday, you’ll only have about 15 hours of class each week. It’s truly a time of freedom.

Scholarships, Work Study and Grants

As part of the college application process, you and your parents will fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA forms will be used to assess your family’s income, assets and other financial resources. From there, each school that offers you an acceptance letter will detail the annual cost of your education, including tuition, room and board, fees and the like. Your university will then let you know how much aid they are offering in the form of scholarships, work study programs and grants. Typically, these will not pay the full cost of your education, but they are a great start. You can also apply for state-level grants that are available for residents and special scholarships offered by local civic organizations or national groups focused on your field of interest.

Taking Out Private Student Loans

The cost of college has skyrocketed over the last 20 years. It’s estimated that the average annual tuition cost for a private university has risen from less than $17.000 to over $41,000 between 2001 and 2020. With these soaring expenses it has become more critical than ever to seek out new ways of paying for your undergraduate education. It’s important to be able to focus on learning and your experiences in college, instead of worrying about money each day. One of the ways you can pay for your schooling is to take out a student loan from a private lender. With these loans you may be able to pay for your college in full. Banks, credit unions, and financial companies usually offer private student loans.

Save on Housing and Meal Costs by Renting an Off-Campus Apartment

Colleges make a lot of money by charging high prices for student room and board. When you live in a dorm you don’t get much personal space and you have to share communal bathrooms. You also have to pick a meal plan so there’s not much you can do to save money there. If you share an off-campus apartment with several roommates you will be able to split the cost and shop for the best deal. Each apartment typically offers a private room and bath for each roommate, and has a full kitchen available too. By shopping the grocery store sales, buying in bulk and cooking your meals at home you’ll save a lot of money each year.

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