Paying for College? Here are a few extra ways to save!


We are proud of our children and we want the very best for them! We support their choices as they grow up and face the world. However, if your child is going to college, you may have sticker shock when you receive your first bill! College prices have TRIPLED since 1980 with very few improvements to help families pay for it. However, there are still many resources to help students pay for their education and save them thousands in the long run. Read on to discover more ways to pay for college!

Government Resources

The government has a plethora of resources and financial aid help. Some of these loans depend on your income, but others depend on the student's study of choice or other circumstances. In addition, Virginia specifically has various types of grants for students to apply for. Lastly, be sure to talk to your accountant about any special tax deductions you may qualify for!

Federal Grants:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Veterans and National Guard Members

Foster Care Youth

Under-Represented Groups

Students with Disabilities

Federal Pell Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Federal Teach Grant

Virginia Grants:

Academic Competitiveness Grant

SMART Grant

Teach Grant

Virginia Commonwealth Award Program

Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program

Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant

Ferrum College Tuition Assistance Grand

Virginia Higher Education Teacher Assistance Program

Virginia War Orphans Education Program

Petition the Financial Aid Office

Another way to save on paying for college is to the contact the university's Financial Aid Office. While tuition isn't completely negotiable, they may cut down some of your costs or help you find more financial avenues. This can be done at any time, although you may have to appeal each tuition year.

3 Easy Steps to Petition:

1. Call the Office of Financial Aid and ask how their college appeal process works.

2. Have your student write a letter to the Office explaining the circumstances, college goals, and why your student would like help with financial aid. We recommend you do not ask for a specific amount of money, but rather explain the circumstances and let the Office decide to award a sum.

3. After two to three weeks, be sure to follow up! Many requests get lost in the paperwork or dismissed, so following up shows dedication.

Work-Study Opportunities

Your student can also apply for work studies. This mean their wages will be directly applied to their FASFA loan. This is a great avenue if your student plans to work, although keep in mind not all opportunities are on-campus. Additionally, once you are qualified for work-study, your student still must apply for jobs that can range in pay and hours. Work-study jobs also tend to be more flexible around school holidays and rigor, so a great avenue that many students take advantage of!

Private Scholarships

A lesser-known method of paying for college is through private scholarships. If your student is currently in college and part of student organizations, they may be able to petition donors of their student organizations. Have your student speak with their department head to find additional scholarships. In addition, many resources such as ScholarshipOwl and College Board are popular resources for finding scholarships. Be sure to double check authenticity by going to the actual page of the scholarship donor!

Student Loans

Lastly, we talk about student loans. There are a few different types of student loans that work for different families. Remember, personal finance choices vary from person to person, so choose what makes you most comfortable! If you would like help, consider contacting your accountant or financial adviser for more advice.

When you're looking at different loan options, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • Your grace period - with some loans, you can start paying them after your graduate, while others offer no interest for the first X amount of years

  • Deferment and Forbearance options - especially if your student is entirely paying for their student loans, knowing their deferment and forbearance options may be helpful if they hit an unexpected financial bump

  • The length of their loan - depending on their future career choice, it would be helpful to calculate how long it would take them to pay off their loan throughout their career

While college is still an enormous investment, we hope some of these resources help you make your college financial plan. When in doubt, contact your accountant to help you create a financial plan that works for your!

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If you have questions about this blog post or have suggestions for a future post, contact us today!

Resources

PracticalAccountingVA.com

CollegeScholarships.com

ThinkProgress.org

Money.com

SavingforCollege.com

Blog.Ed.Gov

CollegeAveStudentLoans.com

Disclaimer: The views presented in this post are meant as educational resources and should not be taken as direct advice for your personal finances or small business. Should you have questions regarding a post relating to your specific finances, please contact us at info@practicalaccountingva.com.

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