Paying for College 101

It’s getting tougher every year to pay for college expenses as tuition costs rise. However, there are still ways to get it done if you work at it. Here’s some tips to get you started.

FAFSA – Make sure you or your parents fill out the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid even if you think you don’t qualify. Be informed of the deadline. It varies by state and the colleges to which you are applying may have a different deadline. You can check here for your state’s filing deadline: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov

Stafford Loans – Subsidized For those who qualify, a subsidized Stafford loan is a great deal. It has a low interest rate, you don’t have to pay interest or make payments on it while you’re in school as long as you attend at least half time in a degree program. In addition, you are allowed a grace period of six months after you graduate before you have to begin paying it off.

Stafford Loans – Unsubsidized These loans are not based on financial need, so most students are eligible. Interest starts accruing as soon as you receive the loan, and you must begin payment upon graduation.

Pell Grants – These are available to the neediest students and do not have to be repaid.

FAFSA – Remember that you don’t qualify for any of the above if you don’t fill out the FAFSA first.