Best Tips for Paying Tuition Fees

By Brandi Brown , last updated October 20, 2011
Paying tuition fees can be tough for many college students. Traditional students often, but not always, have the help of their parents to cover some of the expenses. For non-traditional students, coming up with the money to cover the cost of tuition without student loans can be a significant factor in determining whether you can afford college or not. Before you write off college because of the cost of tuition, however, look for federal grants, scholarships, and payment plans.

Federal Grants

The federal government offers some grants to assist with the cost of college. The Pell Grant is the most popular of these grant programs. Based strictly on financial need, the Pell Grant will give students a certain amount of money based on their household size and family income. The maximums change annually to account for the cost of inflation. Other grants may be available for students who are members of minority ethnic groups and students who are going into certain high-need professions.

Scholarships

Even if you are a non-traditional student, scholarships may be available to you. Scholarship websites, such as Fast Web, have databases of scholarships that students can apply to receive. Some scholarships require only an application while others require recommendations or essays. Begin looking for scholarships at least six months out and continue to look as you are in school. A $500 scholarship here and there can add up to significant money off subtracted from your bill.

Payment Plans

A final option is to use a payment plan. Almost all colleges have a third-party provider who administers a payment plan for students who are paying out of pocket. In most cases, students need to put down a certain portion of their tuition fees and then make monthly payments until their bill is paid in full. These types of programs help students to break up the cost into manageable chunks.
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