There's no arguing the fact that college is expensive. Whether you are in high school or are an adult considering furthering your education, you may think that the high cost of tuition will prevent you from following your dreams. If you don't have the disposable income necessary to pay for college out-of-pocket, here are five ways that you can find the money you need:
1. Federal Aid
The first step to finding any type of government aid is filling out the FAFSA. This form will tell the government how much money you or your parents make. You, in turn, will be told how much the government expects you to contribute to your own education. If the government feels that you need help in paying for college, you will be gifted grants. Your grants may come from both the federal government and your state's government.
Scholarships can be a great source of money for those trying to pay for college. Virtually everyone qualifies for at least one scholarship; the trick is to research them well and apply for every scholarship that you think you may qualify for. You may qualify due to your age, your grades, your gender, your ethnicity or even your current occupation. You can find a list of current scholarship opportunities at your school's financial aid office or in books at your local library.
3. Employer Contribution
If you want to go to school and you currently have a job, find out if your employer offers any kind of tuition reimbursement program. Some employers will require that you pursue a course of study that will benefit the company; others will partially reimburse you for any course of study that you undertake. If your employer doesn't currently have an education payment program, speak to the higher-ups about instituting one.
Student loans are available from a variety of sources. Many loan programs aren't based on financial need and none need to be repaid until after you graduate. Before you take out loans, however, you should know that they can take years to pay off and if you don't find a job, you'll still be required to make your payments. Payments on loans typically begin six months after you graduate or take your last class.
If you can't afford college on your own, speak to your family and find out if there is anyone willing to help you pursue your dreams. Your parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents may be able to pay a portion of your tuition for you. While many people are uncomfortable asking for help, most people are willing to give it. You'll never know if your family is willing to help you if you don't ask.
Paying for college is an expensive undertaking. If you don't have the money to pay for tuition on your own, you'll need to look to other sources if you want to pursue your dreams. If you look into the five options above, you're sure to find a way that can pay for at least a part of your education, making the path to your dreams a smooth one.