How to Pay For College: 3 Options

A lot of people may fumble around for years trying to find their career path and preferred working conditions. Attending college is almost always the biggest step in achieving a career. While increasing earnings is an enticing incentive, it shouldn’t be the exclusive reason for enrolling in college. It may take some time, but finding degrees that perfectly align with your interests in addition to being valuable to the market is always possible. In most cases, the argument against going to college revolves around it being a non-tangible investment that can sometimes be quite hard to actually secure in an ever-increasing world of debt and financial instability. It’s not hard to see why parents start saving for their children’s college once they’re born, sometimes even before.

how to pay for college

A lot of people may feel devastated when they get accepted to the college of their dreams just because they weren’t presented with a scholarship. It’s quite normal to feel frustrated when all that’s between you and your career or education are tuition fees. Once you decide that you’d like to enroll in college, you should make it your main focus to try and find the best ways that could help you pay for it. This is why we’ve condensed for you the best and most popular three options used by millions every year.


1.  Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships are considered a godsend when it comes to beginning or pursuing further academic education. A lot of people may be under the impression scholarships are quite limited with very hard to obtain prerequisites; while that may be true in some cases, it’s actually quite varying with tons of opportunities.

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The more time you have to search for a scholarship, the more likely you are to get one. Many students wait until it’s senior high school year to start looking for a scholarship, not realizing that they can begin the hunt a couple of years earlier. Some fields like the nursing profession may require a degree to pursue further positions and rise in a hospital’s ladder. There are tons of private scholarships offered by corporations, non-profits, and community organizations to help already-registered nurses. You can check a useful list of RN to BSN nursing scholarships if you happen to look for one. The state, wanted degree, difficulty, gender, ethnicity, talents, and interests are all factors that can affect your search for scholarships.

Grants are a form of financial aid that’s provided by the college or the federal government to help students who are having a hard time paying for college. It’s a bit more specific than scholarships as the main criterion for getting a grant is dependent on your income. It can arrive either with the school acceptance letter or be sent separately as a financial aid award letter. Grants for private colleges are much higher on average than public ones because most grants are provided by the colleges themselves. It’s calculated by determining how much the student and their family can afford and then trying to reduce that gap. Families that earn less than $30,000 annually can apply for Federal Pell Grants, which can shave off up to $6,000 in fees.



2.  Work-Study Jobs

This is one of the universal ways of making it to the top of the academic ladder. While it may not be as convenient as having enough money from the get-go to pay for your college, it can help you adapt to different conditions that can change your attitude and career for the better. The best thing about work-study jobs is that they help you get some funds into your wallet, gain extremely valuable work experience before graduation, and expand your network to widen the scope of career opportunities.

Work-study isn’t a random job to make ends meet; it’s funded by federal and state programs to help students in need of financial aid to find part-time jobs that are relevant to their careers. You shouldn’t expect it to completely cover all your student expenses and fees, but if you combine it with other financial choices and options, it can get you there.

To be eligible to apply for a work-study job, you have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first. Being accepted or permitted to have a work-study job doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll land one without doing any research. You need to ask around in your university or college to check if there are any available opportunities before widening the scope to other organizations. It’s a part-time job, so don’t expect it eating up all your time, but it still requires time management so it doesn’t end up setting you back in your studies.


3.  Loans

Loans are usually recommended if exhausting all other options to pay for college without being in debt didn’t work out. It’s the most common way of handling expensive college expenses as most students and families cover at least 20% of college fees using it. Federal loans are usually the first choice when it comes to student loans thanks to their very low-interest rates, as well as their flexible and adjustable repayment schedules.

Similar to work-study jobs, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA to know whether you’re eligible or not. You and your family’s income shouldn’t affect your ability to take out a federal student loan. There are some subsidized loans with very helpful terms like freezing interest on the loan until the student graduates. If a federal loan isn’t as helpful as a private loan, then you need to take your time to look for the best private loan with terms that are manageable to ensure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot before graduating.

The passion for academia and learning, in general, is sometimes met with harsh realities that may force us to exert extra effort to be able to pursue it. College fees are a deterrent to many people who are interested in academic education just because they don’t know how to finance it. It’s true that paying for college may be quite an obstacle, but as long as you prepare for it in the right way, you’ll get there.


The Author


I am simply known as Ikenwa Chizoba, a seasoned blogger and the Founder of Nigerian Infopedia. A very simple person who loves writing, reading and research.

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  1. Kay

    What email address can I reach you on?

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