The fact is that you and your parents should start making a plan to pay for college no later than your senior years of high school.

Your parents should start building a college fund, if possible. You should prepare well for your college entrance exam (the SAT test or the ACT test). Aim for the highest score possible. If you do well and get a high score then you have a good chance to obtain a scholarship or a cut in your tuition from the school itself. When you choose schools to apply for you should know already what scholarships are available at each school, because this may differ largely.

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Keep in mind that there may be scholarships available not only at schools, but in your community and at the national level.

You should apply for the Federal Pell Grant even if you think you may not qualify, because the disbursement of money depends on many factors. A Pell grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Once you started college, you should fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Go to the Federal Student Aid website and find out about eligibility, deadlines and FAFSA filing options. You can find here your school code you need to file FAFSA. You need to fill out FAFSA to apply for the Pell grant. You can find information about the Pell grant here.

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If you decide you need to take a student loan, make sure you compare several options. Get information from several sources. A student loan means you will only have to pay it back after your graduation, as soon as you find a job. SimpleTuition offers tips on how to choose a student loan and the possibility of comparing several types of loans.

Another possibility to pay for your many college needs is to work part-time. You get both money and work experience. Usually there are several good jobs to work on campus, like the bookstore, the library, the computing center etc. True, there may be a high competition for these jobs. The sooner you apply for it, the better chance you have.

Some people may need to work full time several years to pay for college. It is true that college got more expensive lately, but if you decide you want to go to college then do it by all means. Paying for college entirely with your own money may be tough, but it is also a good incentive to do your best and graduate with a high score.

Filed under: Financial

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