Planning to pay for a college education takes time and forethought. However, with the skyrocketing costs of a secondary education, the ability for most parents to pay is becoming increasingly difficult. There are now several other options available to both parents and students to finance college. Government loans and grants, private loans or grants, scholarships, and work-study programs are all college financing options.
Beginning life as a new college graduate is a new, exciting, and anxious time for many young adults. Adding to the stress of finding a job and making their mark in the world is student loan debt. While most college graduates have student loans to pay back, debt is never a fun issue to deal with. Depending on how much was required to borrow, payments can range from as little as $50 a month up to several hundred dollars. There are federally funded loans available to parents, also, to help keep the student from shouldering the entire amount.
Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back. There is a lot of extra work involved when applying for them, such as applications, questionnaires, essays, and proof of need. While loans are available to almost anyone, most scholarships have many more stipulations and regulations as to who can be awarded the money. In addition, most private scholarships and grants are for a low amount of money, perhaps enough to cover the cost of books for one semester, not nearly enough to finance a four-year degree.
Other scholarships awarded by the university itself are more likely to pay for the entire education. Sports and academic scholarships are two of the most commonly awarded. Work-study programs also have to be awarded, and generally are on a need based scale as well. Every little bit of college financing helps, of course, and eases the financial burden on the student following graduation.