How Can I Afford College?

Affording college is on the minds of many students because the cost of college tuition rising nearly every year. The total amount you pay depends on where you live, the number of courses you take and even the type of classes you take. Many colleges charge additional fees for those in engineering and technology programs, and if you take medical classes, you’re responsible for the supplies and equipment you need outside of school. After looking at how much college costs, take a look at some ways you can pay for your tuition and other expenses.

How Much Does College Cost?

The average cost of college depends on whether you attend a public, for-profit or private college. According to the College Board, the average cost of a public school is around $9,400 a year while private colleges charge around $34,500. The College Board also found that for-profit school have an average tuition rate of around $15,000 a year. The cost also varies based on whether you reside in the state or come from out of state. Colleges generally offer lower rates for those living in the state. A dorm room, textbooks, school fees and other expenses can add $10,000 or more to the amount you pay every year.

Getting Employer Assistance

One way you might get some help affording college is through your employers. Many companies offer tuition assistance programs that pay a certain amount or percentage of the costs that students face. Your employer may agree to reimburse you for up to half your expenses at the end of the semester. Other employers offer similar programs that only reimburse those who maintain a high grade point average while in school. Read your employee handbook and meet with the HR department to find out if you qualify for one of these programs.

Federal Aid

The federal government offers aid and assistance to students who attend an accredited college or university. If you are under the age of 25 and not married, you will fill out the FAFSA and use your parents’ incomes. Independent students are those over the age of 25, married students and others who live independently from their parents. Those students can use their own incomes when filling out the form. Federal aid includes grants and loans that can cover a large amount of your costs. Depending on your answers to that form, you may qualify for a high paying job on campus too.

Nontraditional Classes

If you have a difficult time paying for school and wonder how you can afford college, consider taking some nontraditional classes. Going to community college for one or two years before transferring to another school can help you save significantly. Many states now offer programs that let students earn college credits while still in high school too. You can also look into online courses, which usually cost much less than traditional classes do. Some colleges even offer payment plans that let you pay for your classes over the course of the semester or year.

Four years of college can easily cost $30,000 a or more, and if you enroll in a private school, your costs can double or even triple. Affording college is easier when you look into specific programs, including financial aid programs and employer tuition assistance programs.