Talk to the financial aid office if you are struggling to pay college costs

Talk to the financial aid office if you are struggling to pay college costs

The median weekly earnings for an employee with a bachelor’s degree is $1,173, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to $774 for someone who https://www.paydayloan4less.com has some college education, but no degree.

“In this day and age of automated employment applications, often prospective employers are inundated with resumes,” he said. “In that situation, let’s say an employer has four job openings and they receive 4,000 applications. Often times the first cut is, let’s eliminate someone that doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree.”

Graves considers herself fortunate. Just before the final year of her program, she received four scholarships through her college’s foundation that allowed her to complete her degree.

Where to Find Financial Help

There are several financial aid options to investigate if you are faced with dropping classes or, worse, dropping out entirely. Here’s what our experts recommended:

Always fill out the FAFSA

Even if you think you won’t qualify or if you think you won’t need it, always fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the US Department of Education. Forgoing those forms, he said, can send a message to your school’s financial aid office that you have the college savings you need, making any type of financial help next to impossible.

“There’s an inherent belief that if you don’t fill out the financial aid forms,” he said, “[you] don’t have financial need.” Gift aid with the FAFSA is free money for college expenses, students should max out their federal aid each year.

You will also need to fill out the FAFSA to apply for any federal student loans, work-study or Parent Plus loans. These loan options have a set interest rate that isn’t based on your credit score and can be a great option for students.

You never know what scholarships might be available that you don’t know about or other aid packages that can help you save money.

“Colleges, when faced with losing the students, may help them,” Murray said. “They don’t want to lose a student in the middle of their college career, because it affects their graduation rates and because they genuinely care about their students.”

When Graves spoke up about her own financial struggles, she found out there was a fund to help students pay their education expenses.

“Think outside the box,” she said. “ I was lucky in having a wonderfully supportive team and an adviser who were willing to help me out. But a lot of that was because I was willing to talk about what was going on. I didn’t know there was a fund to help out with bills until I said something about my needs.”

Sign up for a work-study program

Work-study jobs can have benefits far beyond a paycheck. “Properly used, it can allow the student to create relationships that might lead to further opportunities,” Murray said. “It allows the student to demonstrate that they’re willing to work. Oftentimes, if the student is likable, the people in the department will go out of their way to help them.”

Becoming a resident assistant, or RA, he added is “the mother of all scholarships,” since it covers room and board which can easily run between $10,000 and $20,000, and it looks great on your first resume.

There are several other ways to earn money or be awarded extra funding

Ask your financial aid office and scour the internet for mid-degree scholarships. There are plenty to go around, Murray said. Consider an off-campus side hustle or a part-time job that won’t interfere with your studies. Sign up for the ROTC if you are interested in the military option.

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