You probably know a few of the ways to pay your college tuition: savings, working, scholarships and federal aid in the form of loans, grants and work-study programs. Unfortunately, with the cost of college rising, even these resources might not be enough to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, books and other expenses.
The good news is that there are additional ways to pay for college, and you might not have heard of some of them before.
You may be familiar with the concept of private student loans, but you might have made a few assumptions: that you weren’t eligible or that the interest rates would be too high, for example.
In fact, neither of these is necessarily true, and it is definitely worth taking a look at what private lenders can offer to help you pay for college. In some cases, interest rates may be very reasonable, and it can be fast and easy to check your eligibility online.
Join the Military
There are a variety of programs that assist active-duty and former military in getting a college education. Among these are the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Military Tuition Assistance Program and others.
If you are interested in military service and this seems like a viable route for you, you might want to do more research at the Department of Defense website or talk to a recruiter.
Your Current Employer
There are employers who will pay for some or all of your tuition expenses. In some cases, you will need to be working toward a degree that is specifically related to your job, but not in all cases. Some will require you to commit to a certain number of years working for them.
If your employer does not offer this benefit, it’s always worth a try to talk to human resources and see if they might consider adding it. If you belong to a union, this is a benefit that they might consider negotiating.
You can search specifically online for companies that offer this since a number of large ones that employ people throughout the country do so. There is probably at least one employer near you that does.
Your Future Employer
You might not be working for a company right now that will help pay for your education, but you could in the future. In addition to employers who will pay toward tuition for current employees, there are a number that offer help paying off student loans as one of their benefits.
Student Loan Forgiveness
In addition to private employers who help pay off loans, there are government programs that offer federal student loan forgiveness. These programs vary and have different rules.
For example, if you teach in certain low-income areas for a certain amount of time, you may qualify for some federal loan forgiveness up to a certain amount.
This may also be the case if you work for certain nonprofits or government agencies. In some cases, doctors and nurses working in high-demand areas might also qualify for loan forgiveness.