Plan B – F when your financial aid falls short

What happens when you don’t get the financial aid you were hoping for with college? Will your dreams be deferred? Will you have to work six jobs?  Don’t give up on your dreams! Stay calm and check out the tips and tricks contained in this article to help you stay on track.

College is mighty expensive, no denying that. Unless you have tens of thousands of dollars laying around, you’re going to have to look for help to cover the costs. If financial aid was your plan A, listed below are your plans B - F.

Plan B:

Scholarships By the time you read this, you’ve likely either applied to several scholarships or are at least considering applying. After all, it’s hard to say no to free money. Landing a scholarship is not easy but luckily there are literally thousands of scholarship opportunities scattered across the nation - you just have to know where to look! Check out the Exploring Schoalrships and Grants page on our website to get your scholarship search started.  cuLearn has a scholarship offering going on now, too and is giving away 22, $2,018 scholarships.

Plan C:

Get a part time job - Working a part time job to help cover college costs could add up in the long run. Even if you can spare 10 or 20 hours a week working, every dollar counts! Check with your colleges of interest to see if they offer any work-study programs that can additionally help alleviate the cost of your tuition.

Plan D:

Your parents could claim a $2,500 tax credit – Paying for college is often times a family effort.  The American Opportunity Tax Credit offers a refund of up to $2,500 per child after paying for tuition, fees, books and living expenses. If your parents’ gross income is no more than $90,000, or $180,000 for filing jointly, they might qualify!  Many families have found that this tax break could be helpful in paying for books, student housing costs and tuition.

Plan E:

Apply for a grant if you haven’t already - More free money! The Federal government, colleges and states all give out grants to those who meet the requirements. In 2015, undergrads at public colleges received an average of $5,000 in grant aid while private college undergrads received about $16,700.  Simply fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you haven’t already and see if you qualify.  

Plan F:

Take out a private student loan - If you’re still unable to acquire any financial aid, federal and private student loans could be an option.  These private loans are designed to help you fill the financial gap for college costs.  The cuLearn network of credit unions offers affordable private student loans with the goal to help you fill the financial gap when it comes to paying for college.  Just remember to only borrow what you need.

If you’re feeling down on your luck with financial aid, you’re not alone! Hang in there! You got this.

Mitch Rudolph

cuLearn Guest Blogger

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