With today’s challenging economy, one’s plans of pursuing a college degree or further studies are often put on hold. Others who have successfully started their college education, on the other hand, stop attending classes in exchange for a promising job. This is a sad reality that a man’s greatest life investment can be easily discarded due to financial constraints.
A $15,014 per year’s worth of a four year college degree in community college can make a high school graduate totally forget his dreams of going into college. However, for people like you who wish to pursue their college education, here are some options that can help you turn your dream into a reality:
Section 529 Plans
This is a savings plan offered to parents who wish to send their child to college. There are two options under this plan, the prepaid tuition plan and the college savings plan.
In prepaid tuition plan, the parents avail of a tuition plan based on current tuition fee rates. Since tuition fee increases almost in a yearly fashion, the parents should be aware of these changes and may expect paying higher for the plan. Should the child opt to drop out, the parents can get a refund of their contribution.
College savings plan on the other hand allows its plan holders to contribute a portion of the savings plan to an investment account that is tax free. Earnings of the savings plan can be used to finance the beneficiary’s college education. However, the individual under this plan should take note of the associated expenses and investment options that best cater to their financial needs.
Scholarships and Grants
In situations in which a student or his family cannot shoulder the costs of college education or if the college savings has limited coverage in terms of education expenses, a student can apply for academic scholarships and federal grants. A student has to meet certain criteria based on academic proficiency, financial need, ethnicity and gender as specified in the terms and conditions of the scholarship or financial grant.
Scholarships are also being offered by private organizations, local companies, schools and other non-government organizations. The scholarship grant has to be used solely to finance one’s college education.
These loans are commonly availed by students who are pursuing further studies. In 2011, a reported amount of $1 trillion was allocated for student loan alone wherein $117 billion was borrowed from the federal government on the said year.
There are three student loan types offered by the government. These are the Federal Perkins Loans, Direct Stafford Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. Federal Perkins and Direct Stafford Loans are both offered to college and graduate students respectively whereas Direct PLUS loans are offered only to graduate students.