How to Think About Paying for College
As the cost of college keeps rising, borrowing money to pay for school has unfortunately become the norm. But there are certainly ways to minimize how much debt your child will incur.
It’s extremely important to know your options and just as importantly, the order in which to apply them. Here’s a guideline:
- Make the smartest school decision you can. While it might be great to go to that far away school with the beautiful campus, it will likely serve you well to find the best program you can at the lowest possible cost (tuition, living expenses, and travel).
- Find every scholarship and grant that may be available to you. You may think that because you weren’t the class valedictorian that you won’t be able to get a scholarship. The fact is that there are many scholarships available for many reasons – and you can start your search at websites like Scholarships.com, ScholarshipOwl.com, or Cappex.com.
Remember: Every dollar you can save or win through a scholarship means a dollar less that you have to borrow.
- If you have a 529 College Savings Plan or other non-emergency savings, use those funds next. Remember, borrowing is the last thing you want to do – so use savings from that 529 plan or savings account before you start borrowing money from anyone.
- Seek assistance from parents or other family members. While not a popular means of financing an education, it sure beats borrowing money that you’ll be paying back over many years. Again, the goal here is to not borrow money unless you have to.
- Get Subsidized federal student loans. These loans are made to students, not to parents. Students obtain the loans through the school, but the government supplies the funds. To start the process, students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a laborious process, but if you have to borrow, this is probably your best primary option.
Please note that beyond the subsidized federal loans, the other loan services from the government are no different, or better, than any others (including the Parent Plus Loans).
- Fill in the final gap. If you still need additional funds (for things like off-campus housing, technology, study abroad, or transportation), just let us know. SnapLoan, from The United Methodist Credit Union, might be the most flexible and lowest cost solution.
If you have more questions about paying for college, please call us at (866) 657-0004. We’d be glad to help.
Posted by Parker Eads in Uncategorized.