Know Your Options
Paying tuition is a necessary evil of higher education. Even though many students face tuition financing challenges, it’s important to remember that you’re making a very valuable investment in your future. Most schools have a policy that ensures that if you’ve got the grades to get in, you’ll be able to access the funding you need to pay your tuition fees, be it through loans, scholarships or grants.
Tuition Fees at Public and Private Colleges
Generally speaking, tuition costs are lower at public colleges than they are at private colleges. This is because public schools receive government funding, which essentially acts as a tuition subsidy for the students who go there. Because taxpayer dollars are used to cover operational costs, one could say that you or your parents have already contributed financially to the institution.
Tuition fees at private colleges are higher because these institutions are reliant on generating revenue streams to maintain their standards of quality. Student tuition payments are a primary source of revenue, though like public colleges, these schools also generate revenue from corporate sponsorships, athletics and endowments.
Options for Tuition Assistance
Every accredited college in the United States offers student financial aid in the form of government-subsidized student loans. However, you should not rely solely upon a tuition loan to cover your costs if it’s at all possible. After four years, it’s easy to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and that’s a hole it can take you a long time to dig your way out of.
College-sponsored scholarships are commonly awarded to students who qualify, and there are countless private scholarships available as well. You’ll have to do your research to find all the scholarships you qualify for, but this alone can save you thousands of dollars that you’d otherwise have to pay out of pocket.
If you’re at the graduate level, one tuition management tool you should look into is becoming a teaching assistant. These positions require you to provide instructional support in undergraduate or graduate classes in exchange for an hourly stipend and tuition reimbursement or remission.
Your best bet is to source as much of your tuition money from your parents and from summer jobs before you resort to loans and other forms of financial aid. Ideally, you’ll graduate from the best possible school with the smallest possible debt load — something that’s possible if you plan well and exercise good judgment.