While attending a college or university may be expensive, there are several different ways you can reduce the overall cost of higher education.
Choose an educational institution wisely.
•Evaluate the costs of public vs. private, two-year vs. four-year, in-state vs. out-of-state schools
•Take general education classes at a local state or community college
• Research graduation rates, job placement rates, and average amounts of loans borrowed from the colleges you are looking at.
Plan how you will pay for college.
-Save for college
-Use education loyalty and affinity programs
-Explore financial aid options
-Claim tax credits and deductions for education
Plan to graduate on time (within four years)
-Money is time – The longer you take the higher the cost in tuition, time, and resources, along with a delay in earning power.
-Research schools that offer accelerated programs – students should seek programs of study that will allow degree attainment in the shortest time possible.
Take accelerated coursework/curriculum
-Advanced Placement classes prepare students with the possibility of earning academic scholarships and specific scholarships in certain fields of study: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
-College Level Examinations Programs (CLEP) allows students to earn credit if they demonstrate proficiency in college courses.
-International Baccalaureate degrees could possible equate to college credit
Work outside of the classroom
-Helps build professional network and professional references
-Helps earn money for college expenses
-Federal work-study programs
-Provides opportunities for full-time employment after graduation
-Helps prioritize your time for classes, studying, and free time
Develop a spending plan
Develop a spending plan, or budget, and develop long-term and short-term goals for the money that you earn or any excess financial aid funds that may be released to you.
Check out Mapping Your Future website for more information.
To receive student aid there are requirements students must meet first.
–Students must obtain a college or career school education, either by having a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or by completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law.
–Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
–Be registered with Selective Service, if you are a male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25).
–Have a valid Social Security number unless you are from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
–Sign certifying statements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that
*you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe a refund on a federal grant and
*you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.
–Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school.
In Addition you must be one of the following:
-U.S. citizen or U.S. National
-Have a grean card
-Have an arrival-departure record
-Have battered immigrant status
-Have a T-Visa
To file for Federal Student Aid go to FAFSA for a free application.
Navigate The Path To Success
In today’s economy, just about everyone — not just recent college graduates — is looking for ways to cut back on their expenses and save money. So if you’ve created a budget and you’re coming up short, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help guide you on bringing your expenses down to where you need them to be.
-Check credit unions and local banks for the best deals on checking and savings accounts.
-If you use credit cards, pay off the full balance each month.
-Avoid fees whenever possible.
-Take advantage of free activities — like visiting museums or going to parks.
-Rent movies instead of going to the theater.
-Eat out less frequently; pack a lunch for work.
-Take advantage of specials and coupons
– Buy food in bulk
-Ask your doctor if generic forms of your prescription drugs are available
-Consider getting a roommate
-Look for a place to live that’s close to public transportation
-Lower the thermostat a few degrees in winter; raise it a few degrees in summer
-Check out thrift stores, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, etc., for furniture, kitchen supplies, and other household items
-Use public transportation when possible
-Carpool or use a car-sharing service
-Walk or bike to work
Visit Navient for more tips and a monthly budget worksheet to help you on the path to financial success.
Steps to do before you make your 1st student loan payment.
Student loans often help make it possible to earn a degree, which over time can help you earn more. If student loans were a part of your college funding stragety, you’ll start repaying them soon. Follow these helpful tips along your path to repayment and you could be well on your way to a bright financial future.
Know what you owe. Review your federal student loan borrowing history.
-Visit StudentAid.gov and NSLDS.ed.gov to view all of your federal student loans and to find contact infrmation of your loan servicer.
Make sure your servicer knows how to contact you.
-Inform your sevicer if you change your street address or phone number.
Select the repayment plan that’s right for you.
-Research repayement options at StudentAid.gov/repay
Make on-time payments
-This helps to build and maintain a good credit rating.
Consider paying a little extra each month
-Paying just a few extra dollars of prinicpal each month can go a long way toward helping you pay off your loans faster.
Seek help at the first sign of financial difficulty.
Use deferment and forbearance only as a last resort.
-Postponing payments can cost you if unpaid accrued interest is added to the loan balance.
What is financial literacy?
Financial literacy is defined as:
- The ability to read, analyze, manage and communicate about the personal financial conditions affecting material well being.
- The term is used to describe financial education programs on college campuses and within high schools. The objective of financial literacy programs is to help students better manage their finances,budget effectively, and borrow wisely.
Smart financial management includes a few basic good habits. If you are a student, you may already have a checking account, a credit card, or maybe even a car loan. When heading off to college, you may also need to borrow student loans to help finance your education. But have you determined your financial goals and established good financial habits? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Steps you can take now to get on the right financial path
- Take charge of your spending. Establish a budgetPDF Document; set limits and prioritize; determine the difference between needs and wants; speak with a professional, nonprofit credit counselor if needed.
- Start saving. The earlier you save, the more you’ll have.
- Understand the costs of credit. Compare at least three offers before you choose a credit card; look for low interest rates and no annual fees; always pay more than the minimum payment.
- Understand how credit use affects your future. Know the difference between good and bad debt; check your credit report annually.
- Protect your credit and your financial future. Beware of identity theft; review statements and notify creditors immediately of errors; know what’s in your wallet/purse.
Planning for Financial Success
Minimize your student loan debt by following these Top 10 ways to graduate debt free.
- Complete the FAFSA annually.
- Qualify for federal grants.
- Research state scholarship and grant programs.
- Apply for institutional scholarships.
- Explore private scholarships.
- Inquire about work programs available on your campus.
- Set up a payment plan for your tuition.
- Secure summer employment.
- Invest in MOST, Missouri’s 529 college savings plan.
- Live like a student now, so you don’t have to later.
Debt Management and Minimization
Many students seek a postsecondary education hoping to improve their career opportunities and financial future. Managing your money while in school is an important part of obtaining the lifestyle you want. However, poor money management, both while in school and after, can mean a large salary going towards debt and not much else.
Follow these steps to make getting your degree, minimizing your debt and repaying your student loans as easy as possible.
For those just beginning a postsecondary program:
- Identify your expected after-graduation salary by visiting sites like www.salary.com, as well as job finding services, like www.monster.com or jobs.mo.gov, to determine the demand and compensation for your profession.
- Determine how much the degree you want will cost and if you can afford it.
- Research and compare the total costs for each postsecondary institution you are interested in, including course fees, add-on fees (student health fees, recreation fees, etc.), room and board, etc. The national College Navigator website provides comprehensive cost and program information as well as links to each schools’ net price calculator. The U.S. Department of Education also publishes College Scorecards on postsecondary institutions to help you make an informed decision about which program, degree, or college in which to invest your time and money.
- Use online calculators, such as the calculator on Mapping Your Future to determine how much student loan debt you can afford (based on your expected future salary) or what salary you will need to pay your student loan debt. A general rule of thumb is to keep student loan payments to 8% of your income.
- Develop and follow a budget while getting your degree so you can avoid credit card and other types of debt.
- Try to find sources of free funding, such as Pell Grants and scholarships, before borrowing student loans. It is also a good idea to pay for a portion of your college expenses as you go through part-time employment.
Those with a degree or about to graduate should be aware of student loan repayment options. Once you have borrowed a student loan, use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to access your student loan account and keep track of your total debt. You may also get the information by calling (800) 4-FED-AID.
8 percent rule
Most financial advisors recommend student loan payments not exceed 8% of your monthly gross income. Multiply your estimated gross income (before taxes and other withholdings) by .08. Your student loan payments should not exceed this amount.
Use our online calculators to see how your financial choices can affect your bottom line.
Doing a budget for the first time can be confusing. The budget calculator on YouCanDealWithIt.com helps simplify the process.
Find out how much, and how often, you need to save to meet a specific financial goal.
Get an estimate of how your savings will grow over time.
See how different interest rates and loan terms can affect your monthly payment.