Many families find it difficult to pay the entire college tuition bill despite receiving federal, state, and school-based financial aid and scholarships. If paying for college is a struggle for you or your family this Fall, here are some ideas that can help:
Get Scholarship Help from Your Financial Aid Office
If you aren’t getting enough financial aid, your financial aid office at school can help. Regularly search and apply for scholarships. Ask the office or your academic advisor about departmental or school-specific scholarships, and look for scholarships local to where you graduated from high school or where you live. Community organizations and businesses in your community may also offer scholarships. Make sure to double-check the legitimacy of any scholarship opportunity by vetting it through your school’s financial aid office.
Take a Part-Time Job
If you’ve been awarded Federal Work-Study, that’s a good way to help you cover some college costs. If you aren’t part of a work-study program, many schools have other part-time, on-campus positions you can apply for. Visit your school’s career services office to find out what positions are available.
Take Out Additional Student Loans
If your earned money options are maxed and still need money to help pay for school, contact your school’s financial aid office about additional federal student loans. One option is having your parents apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. The PLUS loan application process requires a credit check. Applying for additional unsubsidized student loans of up to $5,000 may be another option.
Consider Private Loans
Some private institutions offer loans for college that do not require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. These loans usually require a cosigner and traditionally have interest rates and fees depending on the borrower’s credit. Your financial aid office may have a list of lenders or you can search for lenders on your own. Always compare fees, interest rates, repayment terms, credit requirements, academic progress requirements, etc. before deciding on a private loan.