So, a lot of young people are doing the college thing this fall. With the country in the early stages of recession, and many young people not working, how do they afford it? Scholarships and student loans, mainly, but the shorter answer is financial aid.
SCHOLARSHIPS good things if you can get them. Basically, if you qualify based on the particular scholarship’s criteria, you get money for school, and you don’t have to pay it back. What qualifies you may be as simple as your race, gender, or attachment to a specific group or it may be your grades in high school. Maybe you aren’t connected, but one of your parents may be. In any event, a student can really benefit from scholarships.
There are many ways to locate a scholarship, but I’m including a resource that has few others that I feel safe in recommending to you:
One caveat that you should be aware of with scholarships is even though you don’t have to repay the money you are given, some of them may have other stipulations. Some may require that you work for a specific company or in a specific industry for a period of time. In most cases, this isn’t that big of a deal, since the scholarship is leading to working in the industry anyways, but you should be aware of this.
STUDENT LOANS are another route that young people will go to either supplement the money their parents can pay along with any other financial aid. The beauty of many of these loans is that you don’t have to pay them back until after you leave school. The bad part is that many of them accrue interest even though no payments are due, making you pay back a lot more than the original loan.
The biggest problem with student loans is that they are becoming harder to get. They are also not necessarily a good deal for the student, especially if they are not deferred interest as well as deferred payment, or if the interest can’t at the very least, be deducted on taxes. The other thing is, many students find that their career path doesn’t necessarily support the amount of debt they get into for college. Young people think they are going to be making a lot more money at their career than the reality, get a lot of student loans to pay for a really good school, and then are forced into making huge payments on a small salary for years. This really can throw a wrench into your plans for the future.
The third option, and in my opinion, the best one is to work while taking as many units as you can handle during off times. I know this is a slower method, and I know that you really want to do everything right now, but going this route will ensure that you gain some real experience in the real world (which school doesn’t teach), that will inevitably make you better at whatever you choose to do. You will also (hopefully) not be in debt when you are finished with school, allowing you to put your new salary to better uses than paying off loans.
There are other methods of financial aid, but all financial aid boils down to one of the following sources: Money given to you freely (grants, parental aid), Money given with stipulations (scholarships, G.I. Bill), Money loaned to you (loans), and Money that is yours to do with whatever you choose. College life can be stressful enough during your time at school. Do you really want to keep that stress with you as you move on to your career?