For parents, shelling out tens of thousands to send their kids to college is a major concern. Thankfully, there are options to help reduce the cost of college funding.
With the average student paying upwards of $14,000 for each year of study, parents will welcome any help that is available.
7 Ways to Reduce Costs
Financial aid comes in different forms for college students. Here are seven ways to lighten the financial load:
Get a Grant
The great thing about grants is that you don’t have to repay them. Typically, if a student receives a grant from their college, or the government, this information will be listed on the financial aid award letter.
Grants are awarded on a case-by-case basis, depending on income and financial needs. To apply for a grant, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Request Extra Funding from the College
Many people don’t realize that you can negotiate with your college for additional funds. With some background work on the school policies, and through providing more information about your family’s financial situation, it’s possible to get more money.
The most effective way of asking for more funding involves a formal appeal letter.
Some students may qualify for work-study jobs, which offers hourly pay for roles on the campus or nearby. However, recent developments in government are set to reduce the number of work-study opportunities.
In any case, it may be a good idea for students to find a job in their free time, such as doing some freelance work, tutoring, or Uber.
Apply for a Private Scholarship
Students can use a free service such as Scholly to discover scholarships that they qualify for.
However, before choosing this route, students and their families should do research on the implications of seeking private scholarships. There is a significant risk that securing one will result in them losing the financial aid they have been awarded from the school or state.
Take Out a Private Student Loan
Many people would advise against loans. However, a private student loan can often be inevitable for many families. For students going to prestigious colleges or studying for higher degrees, these loans can be the only option. This is due to the fact that federal student loans have a maximum loan amount. Once reached, private loan options are the only way.
One benefit is that you can refinance the loans later to lower the rates, saving you money on the monthly repayments.
Claim Tax Credit
After you pay for tuition fees, accommodation and study materials, there is a chance to claim tax credit.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows families to make an annual claim of up to $2,500 per child. This is a great option for parents who have a gross income under $90,000, or $180,000 on a joint-application.
Live Off Campus
Choosing to live at home and commuting is a big money-saver. With average costs of room and board topping $10,000, it can make a huge difference for you.
Another option is to get a rental off-campus, as living spaces are often bigger and cheaper outside the central areas. Sharing with a roommate will cut the costs even further.
Aid is Widely Available
Unfortunately, not everyone can get a scholarship, but that doesn’t spell disaster, even if things are tight.
There are plenty of ways to cut costs and earn a little extra on the side to keep your college dream alive.
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