Paying for college is stressful in any situation, but with economic hard times facing many people, it becomes even more important to look for options that can help you to get your college student through school, or help you to pay for your own schooling costs. Keep in mind, the competition for resources to pay for school is fiercer than ever, which means that students need to act quickly and put forth his or her best offer.
One of the first thing for students to do is to get started on looking for financial aid options early on, even as early as Junior year in high school. Find out what options are available so you can apply as soon as you qualify. Further, improve your eligibility for this type of financial aid. Determine what your true income is now, for example, if you lost a job. Many schools have taken to increasing their aid allowances to help ensure that more students are able to enroll. Therefore, still apply to colleges you want to go to, even those more expensive options.
Ways To Save
Save money throughout your college career by making smarter decisions now. For example, high school students should try to take as many AP courses as possible and prepare for the SAT’s and ACT’s. Doing well in these areas will help you to qualify for scholarships and grants that other students cannot. Schools that allow students to earn college credit in high school can also be beneficial options to consider.
Federal, State and Other Aid
Federal student aid is often available, especially low cost loans to student. A good place to start is with the United States Department of Education’s FAFSA application, which can help you to qualify for numerous loan options. It will also provide students with options for grants, including qualifying for the Federal Pell Grant Program, which is a needs based program for low income undergraduate students.
Mistakes to Avoid
There are numerous options available to students for paying for school, but there are reasons to be careful about funding options. In some cases, people can make costly mistakes:
- Avoid taking a withdrawal from your retirement benefits to pay for college. Although in some cases you will be able to take a withdrawal without paying additional taxes, you are cutting significantly into the earning potential of these accounts.
- Avoid paying for college on a credit card. This, too, can be incredibly expensive to you. More so, most people will qualify for low cost loans through student aid instead. The interest rate on credit cards can be two or three times as much, if not more, than the rates on credit cards.
There are options for paying for college. The key is for you to ensure you make the right decisions moving forward. Making wise decisions regarding your financial situation right now will help you to pave the way for financial success throughout your life. More so, it can help to minimize the amount of money you pay out overall for school.