If you have a student thinking about college, you may be in the middle of figuring out just what your costs are going to be and how you’ll cover them. Research has shown that paying for college has become an exercise in pooling money from a variety of sources, and finding the most effective – and inventive – ways to fund an education.
Here are some options to consider when paying for college or university. (And again, many families are using a combination of these ideas!)
Many parents and students start thinking about paying for school early. Parents can create special college savings accounts, and make installments over years. If parents establish these funds while children are young, this can be a strong contributor to an education fund. Students can contribute by taking on part-time or summer jobs during high school to build their college or university fund.
Employment During School
If students course loads allow it, getting a part-time job while in school can help ease some of the financial pressure. Depending on the college and field of study, there may be on-campus and off-campus opportunities that pay while also providing practical work experience.
Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries
Scholarships are typically based on merit, while grants and bursaries are often awarded based on financial need (but other accomplishments may be considered). Either way, it’s assistance you usually don’t have to pay back once you graduate. Students should talk to with guidance counselors, and financial aid offices at colleges they are interested in attending.
They are there to offer ideas and guidance for scholarships. There are also some very helpful websites [such as scholarshipscanada.com and studentawards.com] that provide a database of available scholarships.
Student loans are based on financial circumstances, and often require you to keep up a certain course load and academic average. Federal Student Loans funded by the US Department of Education. Federal student loan borrowers may be eligible for:
- Direct Subsidized Loans, available to undergraduates who demonstrate financial need.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans, available to undergraduates, graduates, and professional students, and requiring no demonstration of financial need.
- Direct PLUS Loans, available to graduates, professional students, and parents of dependent undergraduates.
- Direct Consolidation Loans, available to borrowers who want to combine multiple federal loans into one.
Private Student Loans are nonfederal loans funded by private lenders (for example, banks, credit unions, and other lenders). Earthmover Credit Union provides Student Loans to Members looking to complete their graduate or post-graduate degree.
My mom always says, “A degree is something they can never take from you.” With some initiative and a little creativity, college is a very real opportunity. Talk to the financial representatives at Decatur Earthmover about your student’s education. If it's important to you, it's important to us.