How To Pay For College

In today’s job market, even many minimum wage job employers hire candidates with degrees before candidates with just high school diplomas. You might be qualified, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the job unless you get your associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Of course, statistics show that having a degree qualifies you for much better-paying jobs as well.

The downside? College is expensive. Many people don’t attend school because they’re afraid that they can’t afford it. Although it is true that college can be costly, there are options to pay for your tuition without spending all of your own money upfront – or at all, in some cases. How can you pay for college? There are three main options:

Scholarships

Scholarships are a great college payment option since you don’t have to repay them after you’re done with school. Based on merit, you can get a scholarship even if you don’t qualify for other forms of aid, which are often based on your financial need. Most colleges offer scholarships directly for their students based on your high school GPA and SAT scores. You could get your tuition costs reduced by 50% or more through this scholarship alone. There are also scholarships through colleges based on sports talent, skills in the arts, and talent within your department. Not all scholarships come directly from colleges. Outside clubs, high schools, churches, and other organizations also offer scholarships to students showing promise or talents in certain areas. Many require you to submit an essay to be considered, so they are run more like contests. Apply to as many scholarships as possible, and keep your grades up while in school, since many scholarships are renewable on an annual basis as long as you get good grades.

Grants

Like scholarships, grants don’t have to be repaid, so they’re an attractive option for students. The difference with grants is that they’re based on financial need instead of merit. Usually, grants have more intense requirements than scholarships in terms of what you must do after you’re awarded the money. They’re more specific as to how the money may be used in certain cases as well. For example, some grants are only available for students with a research plan or some may be given to people who are using the money for education that will allow the person to apply to certain jobs where there is a high need. Grants are most commonly available from the government, but outside organizations also offer them in some cases.

Loans

Student loans can pay for the bulk of your education and are typically available to all students, even if you don’t have any credit (since most high school students don’t). Loans have to be repaid, unfortunately, but payments are deferred until after you’ve graduated, and many don’t start billing you until after three to six months after college, allowing you time to find a job. Make sure you read this site before accepting private student loan offers.

Be mindful of your career choice as well. There are often scholarships, grants, and loans available for people pursuing education in certain service-based industries, like teaching or medicine. Sometimes, if you get a job working in a certain career or in a certain area, you can even have all of your loans forgiven. The bottom line? Before dismissing education choices, explore all of your financial aid options.


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