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Five Ways You Can Pay for College

June 13, 2016

Learn about five ways you can pay for college.

Every year many high school students who hope to attend college or vocational school wonder if they can afford to continue their education.  In recent years, the cost to attend a four-year college or university has increased dramatically, leaving many students worrying about how they will pay for it. 

If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for college, there are several sources of financial assistance available to help cover your expenses, including grants, loans, scholarships and work-study programs.  Each year the Federal Student Aid office provides more than $150 billion in financial assistance to students interested in continuing their education. 

While they are the largest source of financial aid in the country, they’re not the only one.  Funds are available from other sources, including colleges/universities, non-profit organizations, private companies and more.  Below you will find additional information about five ways you can pay for college.


Grants are awards given to students to pay for college/vocational school expenses, including tuition, fees, room and board, books and more.  A grant is free money that doesn’t have to be paid back after graduation.  They are usually awarded based on financial need or the applicant’s ability to pay.


Scholarships, like grants, don’t have to be paid back upon completion of your studies.  Unlike grants, scholarships are typically merit-based.  They are awarded regardless of whether or not an applicant has the ability to pay for college.  Scholarships are given out based on an applicant’s academic performance or some other area in which a student excels.  They are awarded for superior academic achievement, athletics, the arts, outstanding community service and much more.

Student Loans

One of the more popular ways you can pay for college is with a student loan.  A student loan is money you receive to help pay for college or vocational school expenses.  Unlike a grant or scholarship, the money has to be repaid with interest when you finish school.  The interest rate on student loans is typically lower than the interest rate on other types of loans.

Work-Study Program

Work-study programs award part-time jobs to students who have a financial need to help them pay for college or vocational expenses.  Jobs can be either on or off campus.  Whenever possible, students are placed in jobs that are related to the subject they are studying.


Can’t find a scholarship or grant that covers your entire tuition and room and board?  Don’t think you’ll be able to pay back your student loans if you have to finance your entire education?  Can’t make enough money through the work-study program at your school?  You don’t have to choose just one of the methods listed above to pay for your educational expenses.  There are many ways you can pay for college.  If it’s not practical for you to use a single source, use a combination of the methods listed above as well as other sources of income to pay for your education.
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