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How to Pay for College Without Going Crazy or Broke

CollegeJarYou worked hard in high school and earned good grades, and the acceptance letters are starting to come in. Great! – now you just have to find a way to pay for it all. The average cost of tuition and fees for a state resident attending public college is about $8,900, according to the College Board. That number jumps to $22,200 for out-of-state students. Add in housing and meals (around $9,500 a year or so), and it’s easy to see why even the most calm and collected student wants to run for the hills when someone asks, “So, how are you going to pay for college?”

Student Loans

The average student who takes out one or more student loans to pay for college ends up with about $26,000 in debt upon graduation, CNN reports. That’s a significant chunk of change for anyone, much less new grads who are just starting out in the world. In an effort to help students get the funding they need, Inside Higher Ed reports that President Obama is working to keep student aid programs level-funded, including boosting the amount that college students can get through the Pell Grant program. To learn more about the federal student aid programs available to you, click here!

Look for Bargains

Some public colleges have placed a freeze on tuition. Iowa State schools and the University of California college systems have suggested keeping tuition amounts steady. In 2012, Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, offered students a full four-year scholarship if they enrolled in the next three years. To learn more about tuition freezes at U.S. schools, inquire at the financial aid office of the individual schools you are interested in.

Go Beyond Student Loans

Research other ways you can bring in money to help pay for tuition:

  • If you receive regular annuity or structured settlement payments, you may be able to sell these future payments for a lump sum of cash now. To find out more about selling your future payments, visit J.G. Wentworth.
  • Look into crowdfunding to help raise money. For tips from students who have done so successfully, read this U.S News & World Report article.

Look Into Income-Dependent Loans

Instead of being locked into repaying a student loan at a certain amount for a specified length of time, college students may want to research an income-driven repayment loan. This type of loan lets graduates limit the amount they pay back each month to a certain percentage of their income. As a bonus, graduates who go on to work in certain public service careers may be able to have their loans dismissed, after they’ve paid on it for 10 years. Click here for more information on student loan forgiveness programs.

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