In today’s world, it seems like an impossible task to pay for college for both the parent and the child. Unfortunately, if you have not put aside enough money to pay for your child’s education, you are not alone. Many parents are finding themselves in this predicament. The good news is that today there are many options for situations like this. If you find yourself unable to afford your child’s college tuition, you and your child will want to know your options.
Fill Out the FAFSA Forms
Ensuring that all the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, forms are completed is the first step you and your college-bound child should do. Without filling these forms out, you will not know the eligibility for financial aid. So, even if you suspect you are not eligible to receive federal student financial aid, filling out these forms to see if they qualify for the school’s financial aid program is still worth filling out.
If your student is eligible for individual college-based financial aid based on their FAFSA forms, they could obtain various financial assistance. One of them is different grants, a type of financial aid a college student gets that does not require repayment. Because of this, there are specific qualifications, so when you apply, you need to have a good understanding of the grant before you apply. There are a variety of grants out there, such as the Pell Grant, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, and the Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant. There are others, and if you want to find the one that is right for you and your child, the best place to begin looking is the U.S. Department of Education.
Eligibility for student loans is also something that is determined based on your FAFSA forms. The three most common loans are Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. Suppose you discover you are not eligible for the amount needed for your child to go to their dream college. In that case, considering taking out private student loans is another option to pay for their education. Those can be acquired through a bank, credit unions, or other financial establishments.
Apply for Scholarships and Have a Savings
Many of those applying for colleges do not take advantage of also applying for scholarships. It is truly a missed opportunity because getting a scholarship is one of the best ways to afford a college education when you are low on funds. You do not need to pay back on a scholarship, so it is free money. There are also many places you can choose from to apply for various scholarships, such as colleges, states, towns, religious organizations, businesses, and non-profits. The amount of the scholarship can range anywhere between $500 and $25,000. There are so many opportunities to apply for scholarships nowadays, and you do not need to be a straight-A student or an athlete to qualify. There are several opportunities for those who have specific skills or interests. So, make sure your child is applying for numerous scholarships to help lessen the financial burden of college tuition.
When your child is young, another way to help ease the cost of college tuition is to set up a savings account. This could either be set up by you, or if your child begins a part-time job, then they can also contribute.
Find Ways Your Child Can Help
If the college price is still too high and you and your teen cannot afford the cost, then it is time to have a difficult conversation. Your child may need to consider taking a gap year or maybe a couple of years to take classes at a community college. It is not ideal, especially if they know their dream college, but in the end, it will be better for them financially.
As a parent, you play a significant role in helping your child pay for college, and knowing the various options you have to aid in the cost of their education is vital.