Paying the entire college tuition bill even after receiving federal, state, and school-based financial aid and scholarships is still difficult for many families. Here are some tips that can help you or your family make ends meet for college this Fall:
Talk to Your Financial Aid Office
Regularly search and apply for scholarships. Ask the office or your academic advisor about departmental for help on finding school-specific scholarships. You can also 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.
Apply for Additional Student Loans
If you have exhausted all your earned money options but 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.
Research Private Loans
Some private institutions offer loans for college. They typically require a cosigner and traditionally have interest rates and fees depending on the borrower’s credit, but do not the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Always compare fees, interest rates, repayment terms, credit requirements, academic progress requirements, etc. before deciding on a private loan. Your financial aid office may have a list of lenders or you can search for lenders on your own.
Consider Working Part-Time
If you aren’t part of a federal work-study program, you can apply for part-time, on-campus positions. Many school offers jobs to help students earn extra money. Visit your school’s career services office to find out what positions are available.