Take advantage of all financial aid options

It’s very intimidating to look at the overall cost of a college education. There’s no denying that. The costs can spiral into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the institution you plan to attend. Here are a few college payment options to consider as the college approaches.

First things first, fill out a FASFA

Often submitted early in the New Year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can qualify students for financial aid assistance they might not know was available. The first day to submit a FASFA is Oct. 1, 2016. Make submitting this application the top priority – even before you submit your taxes – because financial aid is delivered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don’t end up without enough financial aid options because you missed the FAFSA application deadline. The deadline to submit in California for the 2017-18 school year is March 2, 2017.

For JC students, the Board of Governor’s fee waiver

California community college students are eligible to apply for a Board of Governors Fee Waiver, which waives your per-unit enrollment fee - $46 per unit – at all community colleges in California. The fee waiver is eligible for students who meet certain criteria, including income standards as deemed by the board.

Scholarships and grants

Scholarships and grants are two college funding options that are awarded in cash and free from repayment. Scholarships are earned through an application process and are often very competitive. Grants are often delivered on a first-come, need-dependent basis. Apply for both as soon as possible to ensure you’re one of the first eligible for consideration.

Student loans

Often decried as a last option, student loans will help pay for your tuition and other education-related expenses. It is advised that you don’t take more than you need or you’ll end repaying the loan for a longer term or a higher monthly payment than you envisioned.

Work-study

The Federal Work-Study program allows students to work in their fields of study to help pay for their education expenses. The program focuses on providing work in civic study, as well. The program is available to full-time and part-time students. Check with your school to see if they offer this program.

Your parents and your personal savings

Nobody likes going to mom and dad for a little help, admittedly, but most parents will help you with your education in some way, whether it’s providing transportation, housing or meals. In addition, if you have a substantial savings account, you might want to tap into it to offset these costs. An investment into your future is money well spent.

If you’re thinking about saving for your child’s college education, Travis Credit Union can help. Along with various savings accounts, we can help you with a Coverdell Education Savings Account (CESA) that offers features such as tax-free withdrawals to educate students under the age of 30 (see your personal tax advisor for details.) This account allows you to contribute up to $2,000 per year until the student reaches 18 years of age.

College Savings