The long-term benefits of a college education are clear, but when
you’re trying to figure out how to pay for it while still juggling
your daily responsibilities, that’s when things can feel a little
daunting. Luckily, there are numerous funding sources available to
help you finance your degree.
Once you’ve calculated a rough idea of the total cost of your
education you can start piecing together what kind of funding options
make the most sense for your needs.
Here are 8 funding ideas to get you started:
Federal student loans
Borrowing can be a smart way to pay for school as long as
you understand how student loans work, how they’re different from
other types of debt, and how long it will take you to pay them
off. The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan
program is the
Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
. These loans are typically
offered with very low interest rates. and can be subsidized (the
interest is paid by the federal government while you’re in school)
or unsubsidized (the interest accrues while you’re in school, but
you don’t have to start payments until after graduation).
To qualify for either type of federal student loan, you must fill
for federal student aid.
Federal student loans are almost always preferable to
private loans, but if you don’t qualify for aid or need to
supplement your financing, private loans from banks and other
financial institutions are also widely available. If you choose to
go the private loan route, make sure you review the interest rates
and terms of the loan carefully before signing so you don’t get
caught in a repayment plan you won’t be able to manage in the
Grants are need-based, financial aid awards to help pay
for tuition and costs.
Federal Pell Grants
are need-based grants provided to
low-income students. The amount awarded will vary based on your
economic situation, but you can potentially receive up to $6,195 a
year. There also may be state and corporate grants that apply to
Scholarships are widely available and can vary
tremendously in type, eligibility requirements, money awarded, and
terms and conditions. Many organizations and institutions offer
scholarships based on a range of different criteria, including
financial need, scholarly merit, ethnic heritage, and so on. It’s
always worth applying for as many scholarships as you can, since
they don’t need to be repaid and even small amounts can add up to
big savings in the long run. There are a number of
available to help you get started
in your search.
Many companies offer tuition reimbursement and financial
incentive programs as a benefit to their employees to help pay for
schooling. In general, employers are looking to cultivate the
people in their organizations by helping them gain more education
and develop new skills that will be useful to the company. Check
with your HR department to see if you’re eligible for any tuition
reimbursement or financial assistance programs.
If you’re a service member in the Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marines, or Coast Guard, you may qualify for education benefits
through the national
. Many schools will also offer
additional discounts and savings to military personnel on top of
the benefits they already receive through their service
529 College Savings Plans
If you don’t plan on pursuing your degree for a few years
but want to start saving now, a 529 college savings plan is a
great option. A 529 allows you to save money, tax-free, in a
special account that earns a return on investments, much like a
mutual fund. The money in the fund can then be spent on things
like tuition, books, housing, and other school-related expenses.
You can benefit from other education-related tax benefits, too,
like the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning
Credit, both of which allow you (or your parents if you are their
qualified dependent) to receive a tax credit for tuition
The Strayer Graduation Fund
If you decide to enroll
at Strayer, the
Fund program rewards achievement. For every three classes
that you successfully complete, you earn one class towards your last
year of classes in your bachelor’s degree program. Plus: every new
undergraduate is automatically enrolled.
Learn more about tuition and
financial aid at Strayer University, and get in touch
with an Admissions Officer to discuss your specific background and questions.