College financial aid is a major priority for many students who are either the beginning college in the fall semester of 2011 or continuing to pursue a degree, as students are seeing higher costs related to attending colleges and universities and have therefore needed more options to either meet these costs or lower the overall college costs they may meet during their academic career. However, there are a variety of ways that students have made college costs more affordable and, in certain instances, students may be able to avoid debt related to student loans by implementing certain practices to help them meet their college tuition and fees.
Obviously, scholarships and grants are the primary focus that students must have in order to meet their financial aid needs, as federal Pell grants, merit based scholarships, institutional scholarships, and private scholarships and grants are all available for students who meet a variety of different qualifications. Students may find financial assistance based on their academic record in high school or college, as well as, if they are pursuing a particular degree or plan to enter into a certain career after they graduate. Exploring these options and opportunities for students who may be a minority, single mother, or military member, are just a few of the categories that can be covered by free sources of financial aid like scholarships and grants, so students looking to avoid high costs that must be met out of pocket or through student loans concerning their college costs must make great strides in researching these financial resources for their particular situation.
However, aside from simply looking online and filling out FAFSA forms, as well as, speaking with financial aid counselors at a college or university, some students have been able to lower college costs by simply keeping their time at a major college or university short. As an example, some students will attend a community college or a less expensive educational institution to meet core requirements that, at a major university, could be much more costly. While this is not always a route that every student can or will take, students have seen lower overall costs in certain cases when they take general education courses at a smaller institution that is less costly and, when they transfer to a major university, they may find that a shorter stay will lead to lower overall costs for their education.
Understandably, students who are pursuing a particular degree can use this method as studying a specific subject at a major university is incredibly beneficial when it comes to entering into a career or simply having access to a wider range of resources, but general education classes that may not factor into a students chosen major can, again, be less expensive at smaller institutions. Yet, there are some students who are simply bypassing student loans, even after they may have fallen short on gaining free sources of financial assistance. While many universities may be able to help students in cases where they have not found enough financial assistance to meet their college costs, some students have turned to solutions as simple as monthly payments during the semester towards their college tuition. There are universities that will allow financing options where a student can meet these monthly payments rather than paying the entirety of their tuition up front, so this is another way that some students have been able to lower their college costs, particularly related to having to repay student loan debts. While paying for college has not been easy for many, there are methods that can be implemented which can either help students lower their overall college costs or a eliminate excessive costs that may come from student loans, if a student carefully plans, researches, and contacts officials at their university who may have more information on how they can gain help in their particular situation.