A college education is an important, very expensive, investment. While investing in college is worthwhile, financing college isn’t easy. The average American leaves college with a debt of $23,000. This can be a major setback to the personal budget of someone who is just stepping out into the ever so competitive job market. While financial aid is tricky, there are still ways to finance college.
1. Keep an eye out for tuition deals. In the past couple of years, several colleges have introduced tuition freezes. With more universities moving toward freezing or reducing tuition fees it might just be possible to land a good tuition deal. A few cities have begun to offer free tuition to eligible students as well.
2. Earn scholarships. While full academic and athletic scholarships are a smooth deal, these are highly competitive. Consider smaller scholarships. Ranging from ethnicity, locality, university and field of interest, you might just land a few small scholarships that take a huge load out of your student debt.
3. Consider Income-Driven Repayment. IDR makes it easier for federal loan borrowers earning salaries that are low compared to the debt they incur to pay back their loans. Under this scheme you could get student loan forgiveness on up to 25 years of payments. This keeps you from defaulting on your repayment plan.
4. Inquire into employee benefits. You will find many employers who make student loan repayment plan as part of their benefits. These range up to full tuition reimbursement programs. Some organizations offer this benefit even on part-time jobs. Additionally, if you work at your college, you might just have your tuition paid for.
5. Make sure your grades stay up. Federal aid for some students is hard to get. However, there is a significant increase in merit-based financial aid. With merit based aid doubling up, it is in the best interest for students to pull up and maintain their grades. Ensuring eligibility is a matter of keeping grades up and starting your search for scholarships early.
6. Pick your college wisely! How much you pay for college is directly related to what college you go to. Find out which colleges offer aid to students from the same financial background as you. Use online tools to decide which colleges are best for you.
Financing college is all about planning and staying aware of all information on benefits and student aid. Saving, studying and working smart is the key to putting yourself through college.