Choosing the Right College
Despite federal aid, institutional incentives, and scholarships, paying for college is still a financial burden. Most students have $100k in debt before their 21st birthday. To avoid high student debt, research all of your financial options to avoid taking out loans. Apply for scholarships to supplement your financial aid package, and find alternatives to loans.
Having information is the first step towards saving money. Make a list of what you are looking for in a college experience, and find the cheapest way to meet most of your goals. Some students simply want to get a diploma while other students want an exciting campus life, specific location, and athletic and social opportunities. Determine what sacrifices you are willing to make to minimize your debt. Every student has to give up a luxury to afford college, so prioritize what you want in your college experience to make your decision.
Consider These Questions
Why is college important to me?
College means different things to different people. Is college important to you because it pushes you towards your dream job or is it important because you are the first in your family to attend? Answer questions like these to and pick why college is most important to you. Focus on campus qualities and a set of criteria and not brand names. The less attached you are to an institution the more options you will have when choosing a school.
Where do I see myself in 10 years?
If your dream job is a trade like construction or welding, paying $50k a year for college is unnecessary and uneconomical. Look for the best value for the education needed you’re your job. Doctors and engineers will pay more for a 4-year degree than general degrees. For general liberal arts degrees like English, education, communications etc. big-name schools are not important. Unless you want to be a doctor, or work in another high-demand field, avoid the brand names and the higher bill.
What do I want in my college experience?
Some students want independence, with flexible scheduling and a manageable work load to keep a part-time job. Other student want to fully submerge in the college atmosphere. These students want to eat, sleep, and play on campus. Students who fully immerse themselves in the college experience will have more debt than students willing to commute. Colleges cushion tuition to compensate for the lifestyle, so if you want the full experience there are options to make school more affordable.
Last Edited: November 2015
Latest College & Financial Aid News
February 4, 2016
by Susan DutcaWhat makes February so lovely? It is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and since filling out the FAFSA is stressful - much like taxes - several higher education institutions and financial aid organizations have jumped on board to provide informational sessions for families and students as they navigate through, and apply for financial aid through the 2016-2017 FAFSA. According to the National Center [...]
February 2, 2016
by Susan DutcaTwo for-profit trade schools are being accused of lying to students in order to secure millions in federal funding. After receiving a combined $107 million in federal funding in the 2014-2015 academic year, two for-profit trade schools are temporarily banned from receiving any more funding from the Department of Education after reportedly falsifying documents and student statistics in what is [...]
January 28, 2016
by Susan DutcaAccording to President Obama, the Pell Grant Program should be extended to include convicted felons currently in our prison systems so that they may continue their education from behind bars. The US is a "nation of second chances," according to Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education, and should offer the incarcerated the option of an at least partially funded post-secondary education. [...]