The Best Order Of Operations

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Most people believe that the only way to pay for college is to take out a mountain of student loans.

Student loans are an important source of funding for many students, but they should be viewed as a last resort. your last option. Student loans accumulate a lot in interest and can take years to repay. In fact, A studyOneWisconsin Institute reports that it will take graduates of Wisconsin universities 19,7 to pay for a bachelor degree and 23 to pay for a master’s degree.

Understanding that Student LoansThere is a certain order of operations that you should follow when looking for funding sources for college. After reviewing your financial aid award notificationYou’ll need to plan how you will pay for your education.

In this article, we’ve provided the main groups of funding sources. Start with the first group and work down to the last option (i.e. the worst), which is student loan. By following this guide, there’s a chance you can reduce the amount of student loans needed to finance college. A lucky few may find that student loans aren’t necessary.

Here’s how we see the ‘best’ way to pay for your college. It’s important that you realize this is not a strict order, but more like a pie. The more money you can borrow, the less you will have to borrow. There are no “strict rules” here, but you should always use free money first.

How to Pay for College [Order of Operations]

1. Scholarships and grants

Gift aid is included in your financial aid award. Gift aid is money you don’t have pay back. It includes grants, scholarships, and any source of private funding that doesn’t require you to pay it back.

It depends on how you get your FAFSA on time submission.

Some students may receive a large number of scholarships and grants. Some students might not be able receive as much. 

Don’t just rely on your school – apply for private grants and scholarship as well. I suggest high schoolers apply for at least fifty scholarships. This is true even if you are planning to become a Part-time student.

This guide will make it easier for you to understand. Scholarships and Grants by State.

Check out these guides.

2. Your own savings (as a college student)

Planning is essential to saving for college. If you’re one of a small group who has accumulated money for college, it’s time to put it to work.

You may have saved your graduation money or received birthday funds over the years. Perhaps grandma left you money to pay for your college education when you were young.

If you own your own Student SavingsIt’s a great way to start. 

3. Your Earnings as a Student

You can also reduce the amount you need to borrow by using your current income. If you don’t have any savings, use what you can from current income to help fund college.

Many people forget that you can earn money even before you go to school. The best summer jobs for college StudentsYou can even work full-time while you are in school.

I worked full time during my university years. I worked five days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at night, and Saturdays and Sundays during the day. I scheduled my classes for Tuesday or Thursday, or, if needed, before working on other days.

Are you a student and don’t know how to earn money? Check out our How to Make Money in College: 100+ Ideas.

4. Parents Savings For College

The next item on your list is any money that you or your parents have set aside for school. This could be in a form of a 529 College Savings Plan, or any other form of savings vehicle. 

Many parents started saving money for college when their children were young. Leveraging money in a plan that defers taxes, like a 529 account, can help pay for a large portion of college (if there is money available).

Parents may also have set aside other savings for their child. It’s crucial to start the conversation about parental contributions as early as possible, so everyone involved in “paying for school” knows what to expect.

Pro Tip: Here’s Our Guide to properly structuring your 529 plan distributions

5. Parents Current Income

The income of parents is also an important source for paying for college. Even if parents have not saved much, they can contribute a small amount to the cost of college each year by using their current salary.

Some parents are able to contribute more than others. However, every bit helps to avoid borrowing money for school.

Note: Some states offer tax credits or deductions for 529 plan contributions. In most states, you can contribute and withdraw within the same year. This makes it possible to use your current income for a 529 plan to pay for college.

Check out our guide: 529 Plan Rules By State.

6. Fellowships & Assistantships 

A fellowship can be a great way to fund your graduate studies. It is awarded based on merit to graduate students. The graduate student can concentrate on their studies instead of having to work or to teach. Fellowships don’t have to be repaid. They look good on CVs, and have a certain cachet.

“It’s basically the Harry Potter scar on your forehead indicating you’re an amazing scholar,” Meredith Drake ReitanAssociate Dean for Graduate Fellowships at USC Graduate School.

“The fellowship program is about research potential,”She said “Faculty members might say, ‘They’re not ready to apply to for the NSF Fellowship because their research hasn’t quite jelled.’ But that’s actually right where the NSF wants them — it’s designed to be an early career accelerator.”

The takeaway: don’t think you aren’t qualified for a fellowship. These fellowships are well worth applying for. Talk to your advisor or educational counselor about which schools have the best chance of acceptance.

7. Aid through school-related programs

We continue down the page and reach work-related program that is meant to give you a flexible schedule to fit around your classes. At this point, you’ve exhausted all forms of funding that don’t require work exchange or loans. We’re now moving into funding sources that will require some sort of payback.

Work study programs are very common on college campuses. These programs are often tied to your financial aid award. These programs allow you to work on-campus with a flexible schedule. Pay is usually minimum wage, but you can’t beat the flexible schedule provided by these programs. It is a smaller funding source, but depending on your schedule, you may be able to only take on this type of work.

Graduate students are usually the only ones eligible for assistantships. These programs are very similar to work-study positions, but they are teaching jobs. The student will often teach lower level classes in areas of expertise.

Check out this guide to Federal Work-Study Programs.

8. Federal Student Loans

We’ve come to one of the last option as a source for funding college. This money must be repaid and will accrue interest. It may also have some sort of origination fee. For many students, it’s difficult to avoid taking on loans.

Federal loans usually have an interest rate of less than 10%. As reported by StudentAid.govThe following rates apply to loans disbursed after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2030.

  • Direct Subsidized (undergraduate): 5.498%
  • Direct Unsubsidized (undergraduate): 5.498%
  • Direct Unsubsidized (graduates and professionals): 7.048%
  • Direct PLUS: (parents, graduate or professional students and parents): 8.048%

In regard to loans for college, you aren’t likely to find a better deal anywhere else.

Do you still not believe us? Check out the Find the best student loan rates here.

Here’s how to apply for a student loan. How to get a student loan (both federal and private).

9. Private Student Loans

Private loans are the final option. Private loans can be from banks or non-government lenders. They will typically have higher interest rates than government loans and won’t provide the same advantages such as loan forgiveness, hardship options, and flexible repayment plans.

Private student loans are a last resort. Before borrowing, it is important to do a thorough evaluation of your financial situation. Calculate the Return on Investment of your college expensesEven if you are not sure if college is for you, it’s worth a try.

Before taking out a private loan, we recommend that students compare the options and shop around. Credible You can easily compare up to 10 different lenders within 2 minutes, and find out what you are eligible for. Credible is available here.

See the full list of private loan options here. Best Private Student Loans.

Infographic

If you agree with the order of operations below, please share this handy infographic to your friends and relatives who need this information:

How To Pay For College: Order Of Operations Infographic

Final Thoughts

College can be expensive. There are many different ways to pay for it. Even those Most expensive collegesFinancial aid can make it possible to purchase a vehicle at a lower price.

I like to think of it as a pie. Each step is a piece, and you can make some larger to minimize others. 

You don’t have to borrow the full amount. If you are willing to work, there are many ways to pay for your college education.


‘ Credit:
Original content by thecollegeinvestor.com – “The Best Order Of Operations”

Read the full article here https://thecollegeinvestor.com/21877/pay-for-college/

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