Paying for College

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Paying for college is one of the most expensive investments you will make in your lifetime. As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, many families and students struggle to find the money to pay for college.

Many students and their families are unaware of the financial aid opportunities to pay for college beyond high school. Let’s start by exploring some of the ways you and your family can pay for college.


  • Scholarships are gift awards and do not have to be repaid.
  • They may awarded based on talent, merit or financial need.
  • Each scholarship has individual requirements and an application deadline.
  • The key to applying for scholarships is to plan early.
  • You may apply for multiple scholarships and can use them in combination with other forms of student aid. 
  • For more scholarship information and a list of scholarship sources.

Federal Student Aid

This type of student aid includes grants, loans and/or work-study programs to help pay for college tuition and expenses. Federal student aid is aimed at assisting low to moderate income individuals and their families.

The amount of federal student aid a student or family can receive is based on the EFC or Expected Family Contribution. Some general information about federal student aid.

  • Federal grants are gift awards and do not need to be repaid.
  • Federal student loans must be repaid but often have lower interest rates and flexible repayment schedules.
  • Work-Study Programs allow you to work while attending college in order to help pay for tuition costs and education-related expenses.

To learn more about available federal student aid programs

State Student Aid

In addition to federal student aid, students may qualify for state aid. Individual states have aid packages for students and their families which can be used to help pay for college tuition and expenses. It’s pretty easy to learn more about state student aid programs in your area.

Work-Study Programs 

  • Work-study programs allow you to work while attending college in order to earn money to pay for tuition and expenses.
  • The cost of tuition is lowered because you are working to pay for your college expenses instead of receiving a pay check.
  • Many students who participate in this program have less debt after they graduate from college.
  • There are campus-based work-study programs and federal work-study programs.
  • To learn more about work-study programs

Private Loans

  • If students and families are unable to qualify for financial aid or scholarships, private loans are an available option.
  • Compare interest rates and repayment schedules when borrowing money for college.
  • Many banks and credit unions today have private student loan programs and online applications.
  • Learn more about the pros and cons of paying for college with private student loans.