Paying for College When You Don’t Think You Can
Earning a college degree provides benefits for the rest of your life. Your earning power is increased, and it can be easier to find employment. Even when you know that getting your degree makes sense, it may seem impossible. The financial issues surrounding college can seem insurmountable. If you have been out of high school for a while or attended some college and didn’t finish, you may feel like it is too late to go back. Both of these issues have solutions. It has never been easier to work a college degree into your existing life. Online classes are widely available. Some of these classes require you to be in front of your computer at a specific class time, but the majority have deadlines throughout the week. This allows you to complete the work on your schedule.
There is a solution to paying for school as well. You can use a combination of grants, scholarships, and loans to put together a package that allows you to earn your degree. The good news is, much of this legwork will be done by the college you choose. If you attend a public school and complete the FAFSA, the school will provide you with a financial aid package that takes into account grants and school scholarships. This gives you a clear idea of what you will need to pay.
Federal Loans are an Option
Once you see how much you need to come up with, you can apply for federal student loans. You should find it easy to qualify for these, but there are drawbacks. There is a limit to how much you can borrow each year in federal aid. It is common to owe more than you can borrow under federal guidelines. Don’t let this discourage you. There are other choices available.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans allow you to borrow money for tuition and other education-related expenses. One of the benefits of private loans is that there is no borrowing cap. This means you can borrow what you need to cover your expenses. You will find this beneficial if you are going to school full-time and need funds for accommodations, to pay for child-care, or other expenses. Not everyone will qualify for a private student loan on their own. You will need to qualify based on your credit score and history, so it isn’t unusual for a young person to need help. Having a cosigner for your loans allows you to qualify. This can be a parent, grandparent, or close family friend.
Expect Things to Change Every Year
You will need to go through the financial aid process each year. It will be less intimidating as you gain experience, but you can expect changes as you go through college. These changes often benefit you. Your freshman year, your aid will be made up of grants, loans, and maybe some scholarships. As you progress, you may have the opportunity to work as a resident advisor, take part in work-study, or work as a teacher’s assistant. All of these provide opportunities to lower your tuition bill.