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September 24, 2015 - Posted by Assignment Reviews

Financing College – It’s Like a Part-Time Job in Itself

Everyone, from educators to top politicians loves the pay lip service to the “talking point” that always goes like this: “No student should be denied a college education because they don’t have the money to pay for it.” Then, of course, nothing is ever done about that. It is up to the students and their parents to find the money somehow. Unfortunately, this usually ends up with the student taking out loans that s/he spends the rest of his/her life paying off. To reduce that loan amount, here are some tips on how to finance college while minimizing the amount you have to borrow.

Thinking Ahead

While this may be too late for the high school student, most colleges and universities do have college financing programs that can be set up through the college itself from the time a child is born through any year after that. The plans work like this: By opening an account and putting in money on a regular basis, a parent can lock in the tuition costs at the time of that account opening. This is huge, because tuition continues to rise at horrible rates.

Looking for Scholarship Money

Most kids do not know that a lot of scholarship money goes without being awarded. This is because the private organizations that have money to give also have some pretty specific requirements for awarding the money. For example, there are funds available to students who can trace their heritage back to anyone who fought on the side of the confederacy in the Civil War; there are funds for students with polish ethnicities; there are funds for students who have Native American heritage. Fortunately, these can be found through an Internet search, so get digging! While these awards will not pay full tuition by any means, every bit that you don’t have to borrow is a big bonus!

Community College first

One of the best ways to pay for college is to start out at a community college first. Tuitions are really low and Pell Grants pay for at least half of that. The first two years at any four-year school are filled with general education requirements that you can get at a community college for far less cost. So go that route and save yourself a bundle.

AP Courses in High School

Many students don’t think about this at the time, but a great way for financing college at a lower cost is to take as many AP courses as possible while still in high school. Each of these courses is one less course for which you have to pay full tuition. Colleges and universities accept these courses and only charge half of the tuition cost for them.

Part-Time Work

Part-time jobs can be a real “drag” on your social life in college. When you are not in class or studying, you are at work. But, if you can support your living expenses and textbook costs through a job, you are way ahead of the game. You can use your Pell Grant money towards tuition costs instead of living expenses, and that really lowers your ultimate loan debt.

Home Equity/Mortgage Refinance Loans

The going rate for student loans is no 7.5%. Mortgage rates, however, are at all-time lows – from 2-3%. Parents can re-finance their mortgages or take out home equity loans to finance a kid’s college, and the loan interest rate is really attractive. And when that kid finally graduates? S/he can start helping with the payments. The savings over the long run is huge.

So, what is the best way to pay for college? It depends on the individual circumstances, of course. But if you take advantage of as many of these tips as possible, you’ll lower the amount of debt you ultimately have to pay off.

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