If you're heading off to college after graduating high school -- or if you've recently decided to go back to school after spending some time in the workforce -- you're probably concerned about going into debt for your degree. With the cost of higher education continuing to rise, you may feel that taking out hefty student loans is the only available option to finance your education. However, there are some alternatives that may allow you to obtain your degree with minimal (if any) debt. Read on to learn more about four alternative college financing arrangements that may be available to you.
Even if you've never served a day in the military, you may still be eligible for GI Bill benefits that can help pay for your college education. If you have a parent or spouse who has served in the armed forces, he or she may be able to transfer his or her GI Bill benefits to you.
These benefits can help pay for up to 36 months of tuition, fees, and other expenses -- and can even include a stipend to help pay for room and board. In many cases, the funding obtained through the GI Bill can rival the value of a full-tuition scholarship to a college or university. These benefits become even more valuable when you consider that they are provided tax-free (unlike some scholarships).
If you'd rather take off a few years to enter the workforce or travel before attending college, this is also an option -- children of eligible service members have until age 26 to use their GI Bill benefits.
Many colleges take part in the federal work study program -- this allows students to receive a significant discount on tuition and room and board expenses in exchange for performing work (on or off-campus) for less than minimum wage. In many cases, the students will receive a small stipend (a few dollars per hour) with the rest of their "stated wage" going directly to the college to help offset tuition and boarding costs.
Because these jobs are often coordinated through the college, many students find it easier to hold down a part-time job while attending classes -- these jobs are generally much more willing to accommodate the student's class schedule than outside employers.
Some colleges even offer a full-tuition scholarship to all students who work on campus for a specified number of hours per semester while finishing their degree. Because these slots are coveted and sometimes competitive, you'll want to get your application in as early as possible to be placed on the waiting list.
Attending college in another country
Many financially savvy students have begun to investigate schools across the border -- specifically, Canadian colleges and universities. Many of these schools offer competitive programs that will qualify you to attend graduate school or find a job in the U.S. while paying substantially less per semester than you would pay to attend a similar school in the U.S.
Attending a Canadian college may also allow you to apply for and receive federal student loans -- so you'll be able to take advantage of the U.S.'s subsidized Stafford loans even while attending a lower-cost school in Canada. Each school can choose whether to participate in the Stafford Loan program, so you'll need to check with the specific schools you're interested in to determine whether you'll be eligible for one of these loans.
Taking out an installment loan or line of credit
If you don't qualify for federally subsidized student loans, you may be able to obtain a more competitive interest rate by financing your education through an installment loan or line of credit. These loans operate as personal loans, and often have more generous repayment terms than traditional student loans. For example, you may be able to choose to repay this loan or line of credit over a period of time comparable to a mortgage, rather than the much shorter term generally used for student loans. Additionally, these types of loans are able to be discharged in bankruptcy, while student loans are usually not. For more information, look for installment loans professionals.Share
13 May 2015
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