Looking on the Bright Side of Paying for College

Things to Be Thankful For in College Financial Aid

jodi-okun-fin-aid

There are so many things that seem negative about the college application and financial aid process these days. You may hear that college tuitions are too high or that student loan debts are too onerous. But, with the holidays just around the corner, it is time to look on the bright side of college financial aid. Here are a few things to be thankful for as you work your way through getting your child into college:

  • The Wide Variety of Colleges: Thinking about all the college choices available to students today can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it can also be a very good thing. Our wide variety of two year, four year, public, private, large, small and interest-based colleges assures that there is something for every student. The key to finding the perfect fit is research and persistence.
  • The Amount of Financial Aid: There are many types of financial aid available from the federal and state governments, as well as each individual college. This aid comes in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans that make it possible for more students than ever to consider the possibility of attending college.
  • A Wide Support Network: Parents and students are not alone in trying to find the best college at the most affordable choice. High school guidance counselors, college admissions and financial aid officers, professional college financial aid advisors, and online resources all offer detailed insights into successfully working through all the steps.
  • Many Generous Scholarship Endowments: It is possible to find a college scholarship for just about any interest if you search long enough. The larger grants or endowments are often made through the college itself, but any number of generous corporations and private entities do have scholarships that can cover a good portion of the cost of college. Even the smaller scholarships available from local civic, business, and religious organizations can help to cover the cost of books or travel expenses.
  • Pell Grants: There are many support mechanisms which are designed to give students from all economic backgrounds the possibility of attending college. The Pell Grant is one of these. This is money provided by the federal government to help defray college expenses. Since it is a grant and not a loan, it does not have to be repaid. Currently available in grants of up to $5775, the amount each student receives depends on factors such as financial need, cost of attendance, and status as a part-time or full-time student.
  • Student Loan Repayment Options: The federal government has heard the stories about how difficult it is for many students to repay their student loans and is working to make the process easier. There are different types of repayment plans, including income-based, deferment and forbearance options, as well as forgiveness in several specific circumstances. More private student loan lenders are also following suit and offering more repayment options to their borrowers. If you have student loan payments that you started to make in November, be sure to research all your options to find one that best meets your current financial situation.

Most importantly, the value of a college education is worth the effort and the cost.

College graduates continue to outpace their colleagues who only have a high school diploma in both earning power and quality of life. It may be hard to be grateful when you are looking only at the money side of attending college, but try to look on the positive side as well.