An education is one of the most valuable investments you can make, whether it’s a trade school, community college or a traditional four-year university. By attending school, you can learn new skills, make connections and more.
That being said, higher education doesn’t come cheap.
If you want to further your education but don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spare, there’s still hope. Here are five other ways to pay for college:
There are hundreds of thousands of scholarships out there just waiting to help you pay for an education. All you have to do is find the right one.
You can find scholarships based on passions, talents, personal demographics on more. Start by searching online and speaking to an academic advisor about which ones you should apply for.
Believe it or not, some schools won’t actually charge you tuition to attend. In fact, nearly 20 states have colleges that don’t require students to pay to attend.
Tuition-free colleges range in size from small, Appalachian schools to big universities, like Columbia and Cornell. You’ll likely have to prove residency and disclose your income but other than that, budget enough to pay for rent, food, and transportation — the rest is covered.
Based more on financial need than merit, grants are awarded by colleges, states, and the federal government and are determined by the income you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
One of the most common grants is the Pell Grant, which is given to students whose family makes under a designated amount, is worth more than $6,000. And the best part of grants like these? They don’t need to be repaid.
Uncle Sam offers college students a few different tax credits that could help you garner enough cash to enroll.
Look into the American opportunity tax credit, the lifetime learning credit, the student loan interest deduction, the earned income tax credit, and a tuition and fees deduction — each of which offers anywhere between $500 and $6,000 — to help jumpstart your tuition savings.
When scholarships, savings, and federal aid aren’t enough, you still have a smart and affordable option to help pay for college. With private student loans from your preferred financial institution, you can focus on your grades, rather than your finances.
This type of loan is perfect for those who don’t qualify for federal aid, are attending a school that doesn’t offer Federal Stafford Loans, are attending a community college, nursing/EMT school or computer trade school, are taking continuing education classes, or for those whose cost of attendance exceeds the amount of FAFSA.
Look for a loan that offers competitive rates, reasonable maximum loan amounts, no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and interest-only payments while still in school.
If you’re confident you can find a decent-paying job after graduation and will be able to pay them back, student loans are a great way to pay for your education.