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Tips for Paying for College

Female college student smiling while taking notes in class

Let’s tackle a topic that’s buzzing around every high school hallway: paying for college. Fortunately, you have a lot more options than you might think you do. Here’s a quick rundown on how to take your dreams from nightmare to financial reality.

Generally speaking, a four-year program at a private college or university will be the most costly. The costs tend to be much lower for community college or trade school programs, but all of these will still run in the thousands. There are, fortunately, a few things you can do to lessen the blow.

Family Contribution

First up, let’s talk family. Some of us are lucky enough to have parents or guardians who are ready and willing to pitch in for our education. Whether it’s through savings, investments, or setting aside a part of their income each month, family contributions can be a game-changer. Remember, they’re investing in your future!

Scholarships & Grants

Most students don’t take advantage of every scholarship and grant available to them. In fact, according to research conducted by Sallie Mae, only 61% of families used scholarships. Don’t be one of the 40% who missed out – there are opportunities out there, and you don’t have to be valedictorian to qualify! There are scholarships for almost everything: academic achievements, sports prowess, community service, and even uncommon hobbies. Don’t count yourself out, do your research, and do your best to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table. Jeanne D’Arc even has a scholarship for members in or heading to college! Spend some time researching and applying. Every dollar counts!

Tuition Reimbursement

If you’re planning to jump straight into the workforce after high school, keep an eye out for jobs offering tuition reimbursement. Some companies offer to pay for part or all of your education while you work for them as part of their commitment to employee development. It’s a win-win! You get work experience and a paycheck while they foot the bill for your education.

Federal & Private Student Loans

Last but not least, student loans. They can be a lifesaver when you need them, but remember, they’re loans, not free money. Be strategic about how much you borrow and explore all your options before signing on the dotted line. Look into loans with lower interest rates and repayment plans that work for you.

The Rest of the Bill

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: out of pocket costs. Sometimes, even with scholarships and family contributions, there are still expenses that need covering. That’s where summer jobs, side gigs, and savings accounts come into play. Every dollar you save now is one less dollar (plus interest!) you’ll need to borrow later.

So there you have it, a crash course on navigating the maze of college costs. It might seem overwhelming at first, but with a little planning and a lot of hustle, you’ll be well on your way to financing your future. You’ve got this!

If you’re looking for a loan to pay for higher education, find out how Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union can support you. Visit our Student Loans page for loan information and other resources.