Over the past ten years, the average cost of tuition at a four-year university has risen more than $7,000. This can pose a significant problem for many college students and their parents as they struggle to figure out how to come up with the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and more. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help many students better afford the rising cost of tuition.
1. Apply for FAFSA Early.
FAFSA registration opens on October 1. If your student wants to qualify for the best possible grants, scholarships, and work-study aid, it's important to apply as soon as possible. Many universities and even scholarship programs also require early registration for FAFSA, so make sure that your student takes care of filling out that important paperwork as soon as possible.
2. Start Applying for Scholarships as Soon as Possible.
Scholarships are a valuable--or potentially even vital--tool for many students who are hoping to attend college. Every dollar of scholarship money is money that you don't have to pay back later. With a growing percentage of the population struggling under the weight of student loan debt well into their thirties and beyond, scholarships have become increasingly important. Our credit union offers 2020 scholarships that many students can apply for--but that's not the only option available to you. There's a scholarship option out there for every student--you just have to be willing to go after it. Every student has something that can qualify them for these important programs: skills, interests, experiences, or life circumstances that make them the perfect candidate for many available scholarship opportunities. Encourage your student to apply for as many scholarships as possible.
3. Develop a Plan.
Sometimes, the plan for sending your student off to college needs to include student loans. Other times, you may be able to work out better options: pulling money from a savings account set aside for that purpose, working through summers prior to starting college, or accepting a work-study program at your student's chosen university. By developing a plan together, you and your student can approach college more effectively and avoid some of the weight of student loans.
If you have a student headed to college in 2020, don't forget to apply for our scholarships! These amazing opportunities can make it easier for your student to attend school without having to take out loans, freeing up a part of their financial futures.