College is how we get the education we need to further our careers. Whether it’s an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree, getting the education is, unfortunately, not free. Even with an associate’s degree, you’re still looking at several thousand dollars on average.
However, you don’t always have to pay for college out of pocket. Most people turn to alternative methods to afford it. Here are different ways you can pay for your college education.
Scholarships are when students are given a lump sum of money to pay for their college education. This is usually for people trying to complete an undergraduate degree. The money that is given to you comes with no strings attached. In other words, you won’t have to worry about paying it back, high interest rates or late fees. How you receive the money depends on who is providing the funds. In some cases, students receive a large, one-time check as where others get it via monthly payments. You can apply for a scholarship through your Financial Aid Department, but there are other places to apply as well such as a federal agency and even the high school you went to.
Student loans are how most people pay for college these days as it is both simple and effective. How it works is that you go to a lender, albeit from your bank or the federal government, apply for the loan and wait for approval. The thing is that you don’t need to have a credit score to apply for a student loan, at least when it comes to borrowing from the federal government. For banks and credit bureaus, you’ll need to have an average to above average credit score.
Another type of lender that doesn’t receive enough credibility are private lenders. Private lenders also require you to have a good credit score to be approved. However, what separates them from other lenders is that they offer lower interest rates, which can help so you can focus on your studies without working during school.
A Work-Study Program
Work-study programs are an excellent way to pay for college. Not only do you get hands-on experience in your chosen field, the money you earn from it is put toward the cost of your education. Furthermore, this isn’t limited to just undergraduate programs. Graduate and professional students can also take part in this program.
FAFSA is short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In fact, this is the first obstacle all new college students must go over when getting ready for college. You have to fill out a form that deems how eligible you are to receive loans, grants and take part in work-study programs. This form is able to be completed online, so it’s always going to be available to you.
After you complete your FASA, you’ll receive notification for which type of aid you qualify for and approximately how much. Most people do qualify for Pell grants, if they earn under a certain amount. The same holds true if they’re considered a dependent. If someone is supported by their parents, their income is then considered when finalizing the FASFA application.
*Photos by Davis Sanchez