Many families faced with a member or two going to college are fearful that paying for it could mean being forced to take out a payday advance loan, especially if an emergency arises. There are many ways to plan ahead and save on paying for college that will ease those fears.
First of all, start saving now. Any amount of tuition you can pay up front means less interest you’ll have to pay in the future. You may want to look into a 529 savings plan, which is designed for families saving for college. Each state has a different plan, so you’ll need to do some investigative work to consider your options.
Make sure to explore all your options for financial aid. This can include scholarships and grants, which don’t have to be paid back, and government-backed loans, which do have to be paid back, but many types do not require payments until the student is out of college.
To get federal aid, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will look at things like your family’s income and assets to determine what type of aid you are eligible for. Take a federal loan before other sources, since federal loans have the best rates and you may be eligible to have part or all of the loan forgiven for public service, such as teaching in a low-income school district for several years.
Don’t be afraid to look in numerous places for scholarships and to continue to look for them during the student’s college career. This can include applying for scholarships at the college, from local organizations and from your state. Some scholarships are only available for certain majors, juniors or seniors, or even older students.
Going to community college can help avoid getting a payday advance
Another way to save is for the student to go to a local community college for the first two years before completing the degree at a four-year college. Also, check out public colleges in your state. Many of them provide discounts for residents, although many states require the student to have been a resident for a certain amount of time before qualifying for the discount.
If the student has very high academics, it may be tempting to go to a prestigious school such as an Ivy League school, but consider sticking with a state school if it provides a full-ride scholarship for all of the student’s undergraduate work. In general, it is more important where the student does his graduate work than undergraduate and he will have no debt for the first four years of college.
Also, take advantage of any Advanced Placement courses available to the student in high school. This can be used for college credit and the student may be able to do enough to graduate from college in three years.
If finances are a real problem and academic scholarships aren’t an option, the student may want to consider a career in the military. Students can get reduced or even free tuition at military institutions in exchange for a commitment to that branch of the military. The longer the commitment, the more money that is saved. This could even include graduate school, including medical school.
When paying for college, diligence is the key. Explore all your options so you can avoid having to take out a payday advance loan when an emergency arises.