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How to Pay for a College Education

Continuing your education after high school is more important than ever. The employment marketplace – having been negatively impacted by the economy – is more competitive that it has been in decades, with more people looking for fewer entry-level positions. That means having a college education is an absolute necessity if one is to stay attractive to potential employers. The challenge is that the price of attending a college or university has gone up recently as well. Working a few hours a week flipping burgers is simply not going to bring in enough cold hard cash to get the job done. There are ways, however, to get the money you need to fund your college education.

Getting a College Scholarship

Obtaining a scholarship to attend college is still one of the best ways to make school affordable. There are a number of different types of college scholarships available – and many people are surprised to find out just how many of these awards actually apply to them. Consider the following types of college scholarships before you send out any applications:

  • Need-based College Scholarships. If you and your family are unable to pay for college due to financial reasons, you may be eligible for a need-based scholarship at any number of schools.
  • Academic Scholarships. Great students often get academic scholarships to noted universities – so keep those grades up!
  • Athletic Scholarships. If you were an outstanding high school athlete, you may be eligible to receive an athletic scholarship.

Working to Pay for College

These days, most college students work part time during college to help pay for tuition, books and supplies. Most universities have services that help match students with job opportunities. It is important to have a job during college, but students are urged not to overdo it — it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the combination of work, class, homework and social activities during college.

Student Loans and Paying for School

Finally, there are student loans to help young men and women get started on their higher education. With high tuition prices, almost everyone who is eligible these days takes out a student loan. And thanks to the Internet and multiple lenders – loans are easier than ever to obtain. Here are a few helpful things to consider before signing on for a student loan:

  • Check the interest rate. It is going to take you a significant amount of time to pay back your student loan. Make sure you are not locked into a reasonable interest rate that could keep you in debt for many years to come.
  • Consider a co-signer. If you are unable to get a loan at a decent rate, you may want to ask your parents or other family members to co-sign on your loan. Just remember, this is a serious financial commitment, and by doing so you are putting them at financial risk if you fail to meet your responsibilities.
  • Work with a reputable lender. Take a closer look at the lender you choose.  Check its ratings. While most student loan lenders are reputable, there are still a number of shady operators out there that may seek to exploit your need for college funds.

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