For many families, the thought of paying for a college education is stressful. If you are a high school junior/senior who feels stressed about college tuitions than this post is for you.
There is a plethora of ways to subsidize the price tag on a college education. I will start by talking about some that you already may have heard of.
As you may or may not know, state schools offer “in-state tuitions” for residents of the state that the college is located in. In-state tuitions are cheaper because it is supposed to be a service to residents of the state that work and pay taxes in that given state.
Now here is something that you may not have known about in-state tuitions! If want to go to a state school just not the one in your current state, many states have fairly simple guidelines for becoming a resident. Here is an example.
Say you live in California but your dream is to attend the University of Missouri’s renowned journalism program. You look at the out of state tuition and your mouth gapes open. It feels like your dream is unattainable. Than you research what it takes to become a resident of the State of Missouri and a weight gets lifted. You will just need to find a way to bear the brunt of out of state tuition for a year but after that you will become a resident and be eligible for in-state tuition.
In Missouri, you would need to live there for 12 months (dorms count!), get a Missouri driver’s license, register to vote, and make $2000 of taxable earned income. This sounds like a lot at first but if you have a dream, this is definitely worth it. Something that seemed impossible becomes possible just by changing your residency!
The FAFSA is the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” This is a federal government program that evaluates things like your family’s tax forms to determine how much they should be expected to contribute to your tuition bill. FAFSA can provide aid in the form of grants, loans, and work-study programs. Here is the link: https://fafsa.ed.gov
However, even though the FAFSA thinks they have provided sufficient aid in the context of your family’s earnings, your family still may not feel as though your FAFSA money is sufficient. This is especially true if a lot of it comes in the form of loans or if you have family circumstances that the FAFSA simply cannot take into account. This is when other forms of aid come in.
Each state has its own form of the FAFSA. It’s just a state government aid program instead of federal. You can easily apply for both the FAFSA and the state programs. Here is a link where you can figure out what your state financial aid programs are.
CSS Profile is a form that you fill out to try and qualify for aid offered by the college itself. Most colleges have their own reserved funds for financial aid to supplement programs like the FAFSA or state aid. Most schools take the CSS Profile unless they have their own specific form. This makes it easy to just fill out one form and send it to any school you are applying to. Here is the link.
The last way you can try reducing the cost of college is through scholarship opportunities. There are thousands of scholarships offered by big companies, non-profit organizations, schools, and individuals. Usually qualifying for scholarships entails writing essays, showcasing your talents/interests, or meeting certain other requirements (being a specific ethnicity, being a foster child, plans to study a STEM major, etc). Keep in mind, there are also many opportunities that are simple to apply for and don’t require you to be ‘exceptionally talented.’
The variety of scholarship opportunities are truly vast and can offer you from a couple hundred dollars to covering most of your educational expenses. So start researching online to see what scholarship opportunities you can apply for! Here are just a few examples:
I hope this post has helped relieve some college tuition anxieties and I wish you good luck!