Paying for College
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“We’ve never really thought college would be an option since we’re living paycheck to paycheck on a pretty small salary…how can it be possible?”Click here to find out more.
“We make a decent living but definitely don’t have enough in the way of income or assets to pay those big college bills. What are the options for people ‘caught in the middle’?”Click here to find out more.
“We know most of the cost of college will have to come out of our own pockets. How can we find the best ways to save and the best deal for our kids’ educations?”Click here to find out more.
Most families find that the total bill for college will be paid by a combination of financial aid and some of their own money. Financial Aid is any type of financial help to pay for college. The question of how much of each (financial aid vs. the family's resources) depends largely on a student's eligibility for need-based financial aid and any available merit-based aid options. There are two types of financial aid:
Need-Based Financial Aid:
Based on the financial information and circumstances of the student and his/her family.
Merit-Based Financial Aid:
Awarded regardless of financial need for achievements in athletics, academics, and activities as well as other talents and abilities.
Sources of financial aid available to each family will vary but can include: The federal government; state government; colleges and universities; and private organizations.
The funding opportunities provided by all these different sources are summarized in three main categories of funds and used throughout the Paying for College section. These categories are:
Free Money - grants and scholarships: money received by a student from a source that does not have to be repaid.
Work Study / Borrowing - the Federal Work Study program (need-based aid) and loans, both government-backed and private loans. Funds must be earned or paid back at some point in the future.
Family Resources - includes the personal income and savings of a family which will be used to help pay college costs.