One of the most crucial issues facing graduating high school seniors and others considering higher education is the question of how to afford college. Many people make disastrous choices when they do not fully understand the way college funding works. These choices can lead to owing large sums of money to various lenders and many years paying them back.
But don’t dismiss options because of the sticker price alone. Often, the most expensive schools in the country turn out to be among the most affordable. The purpose of this guide is to provide resources that can help make college more affordable.
The question of how to afford college can be answered in many ways. Federal and private loans are one of the most common options, but these cause students to graduate with debt that mitigates much of the short term benefit of earning a college degree. Loans, however, should not be considered to be affordable. Loans must be repaid and should be the last resort option. Many people are unaware of much of the hidden funding available for students. Whether this is through scholarships, or little known state and federal grants, there is little incentive to market the free money options, thus many remain unaware of the existence of such programs.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a school is the whole financial picture. This requires some research, and this guide provides you with many valuable tools that can be used to discern the true cost of a college education. The true cost is always the most difficult to figure out. Some students take one look at a $60,000 per year tuition and just assume that they cannot afford those rates. However, many schools with seemingly outrageous tuitions also have incredible financial aid resources. Many schools have a need blind admissions process and still manage to have only 30% of students borrow money in order to afford the school, and the average student debt of the students that borrow money at those schools can be tens of thousands below the national average. This is true affordability.