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How to Pay for a College Education

By: Jeremy Smith


There are many different ways to pay for a college education. Each person’s situation is different. Some students may be able to use just one source of funding, while others rely on a combination of resources. These options might include scholarships, loans, trust funds, savings accounts and the generosity of others. The more degrees a student earns, the more educational funding they will need. The more money for college they need, the more creative they will need to become if their resources dwindle.

Students that excel in academics and athletics are frequently given scholarships by a college. A scholarship means that the student’s education – or at least part of it – is paid for by special funding from the school or some other source. The student earns the award based on merit and does not have to repay the money. Scholarships may be offered for academic excellence, athletic or musical talent, ethnic background or social factors. Many organizations and associations offer scholarship money for students that meet certain requirements. For example, they could be essay contest winners, good citizens or science fair participants. Scholarships may cover all expenses or just a portion.

Private Student Loans
When scholarships, grants and government loans do not cover expenses, many students turn to private lenders to supplement their educational funding. The interest rates are usually low and the terms for private student loans are reasonable. Some types allow the borrower to start paying back the school loan before completing school. Another option is to wait until the person stops going to school, either by graduating or simply ceasing their higher education.

Federal Government
The US federal government offers loans to students wishing to get an education beyond high school. The money is borrowed and repaid through the US Department of Education (DOE). There are different types of government loan packages available. Some students qualify for interest-free terms, while others have low-interest terms. The amount of funding the student receives is determined by the school they choose. Factors include the student’s age, family income, military status and credit history.

Grants are similar to scholarships, but they are usually given based on financial need, rather than merit. Grants are given through many different sources, including the federal or state government, private corporations, organizations and associations.

Trust Funds
Trust funds are usually set up by a student’s parents or grandparents to pay for college. The money is put into a special account that accrues interest as the child is growing up. When they are old enough, students are allowed to access the money for college. Some trust funds have special requirements that must be followed in order for the money to be released.

Personal Funding
Some students pay for school by working during the summer and/or school year and saving up money; others rely on their parents to pay for it. For some, the number of classes they can take each semester is dictated by how much money is available for tuition.

In conclusion, there are a number of different ways to pay for college. Different methods can be used or just one or two. Each person’s financial and educational situation affects the amount of money needed and whether or not it must be paid back.

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