What Options Do Students Have for Paying for College?

College doesn’t feel like it’s optional anymore; in the last twenty years, a college education has become necessary for anyone who wants to live a better standard of life.  College isn’t free; the average cost of a four-year degree from most schools is $50,000 to $130,00 depending on your college.  Unfortunately, this means that a lot of new college students have to figure out how to pay the bill for education.

Luckily there are options.

Here are a handful of ways to pay for college that will get you one step closer to the career of your dreams.

Scholarships

This option isn’t a type of payment you can assume you’ll receive.  Scholarships are a source of cash for students through financial institutions, donors, and businesses that want to invest in student’s futures.  There are usually endless stipulations about who can receive a scholarship , depending on grades, ethnicity, disability, religion, and interests.  The time to look at these is the moment you’re accepted into college.  Apply for any that might suit you, but don’t let your hopes get too high, there’s a lot of competition for these.

Grants

Grants are like scholarships, but they’re usually either from the government or from a school itself.  These don’t have to be repaid, can be of varying amounts, and often have stipulations that ensure you’re using them well.  Most have a necessary clause that you have to keep your grades above a C average to continue receiving money.  They’re harder to obtain but are one of the best options.

Consider Less Expensive Colleges

Unfortunately, this is one thing many have to think about when looking at schools.  Having an Ivy League education may sound nice until you see that multiple -thousand dollar Ivy League bill .  Look into a community, or public, college in your area and decide if what they have available can benefit you.

Loans

This option is the most financially tolling one.  Paying for college through a loan means that you’re going to owe a lot more money than fronting.  You don’t have to pay while you’re in college, which can help since you don’t have to focus on work during classes, but the moment you have to pay, you’re under the loan company’s thumb.  This option could take a lifetime to pay off if you can’t pay it quickly and could ruin your credit score.

Working Through College

College is extremely stressful, but sometimes while also learning is your best option.  If you can’t get a loan or don’t want to- and none of the other options work for you, you may have to get a job while learning.  Look for jobs with your college first, since this may lower your tuition a considerable amount.  After that, look for jobs in your prospective field so that you have experience when graduating.  This option will allow you to get hired faster than your peers when you finish your education and could set you up on a path for success.