A necessary evil
Although most people dream about it, paying for college with scholarships and bursaries just isn't possible. Instead, the reality is significant debt for many who pursue higher education. Keen financial planning is needed in order to minimize the burden of paying for your education.
Tuition is expensive, no matter where you are or what you're taking (whether it's public college, private college, university degrees or associate degrees, taken online or on-campus). Admittedly, some of these options are more expensive than others, but all of them will end up costing thousands of dollars. And, if you're getting into graduate studies, you'll find the costs increasing.
The fact is that, in order to pay your tuition, you'll have to be resourceful. If possible, you'll want to try to avoid funding your education entirely with loans, especially when there's free money to be had! However, even with scholarships or bursaries and careful financial planning, you may still have to take on a significant debt load. Think of your education as an investment in your future. Sometimes, you have to spend money now to make money later.
How will you pay your tuition?
Each year, the U.S. federal government awards approximately $50 billion in financial aid. It comes most often in the form of loans, but there are options to take advantage of that will help you graduate with less debt. In order to qualify, you'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Here's a breakdown of the types of aid available to help you pay your tuition:
- Student Loans: In general, terms for these are much lighter than those of other loans. If you're an average person attending college or university, you may find yourself pursuing this option, with the knowledge that after graduation, you will have to repay the money.
- Work Study: Options here include federally funded work study, a campus run work study program or even a work study you create yourself.
- Scholarships and Grants: These are reserved for exceptional students, such as those who have excellent grades or those studying under special circumstances. However, they are never a given, and are often rewarded on a case-by-case basis.