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5 Helpful Tips to Pay for College

Is it sports, academics, class availability, or social life? Does the homebody in you want to stay local? Or maybe you want to expand your horizons and move across the country?

No matter what drives your decision, all these factors have one thing in common — they come with significant financial responsibility. College is a big investment in your future, but you shouldn’t worry about going broke. To avoid running out of money, we suggest these five helpful tips to pay for your higher education:

1. Apply for scholarships.

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Many local and national organizations offer scholarships and grants. Scholarships are typically awarded based on academic or athletic achievement, while grants are awarded based on financial need. It’s important to start your scholarship search locally; For example, if you live in Tulsa consider Tulsa Achieves which provides tuition-free education for graduating high school seniors with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Your local Credit Union may also offer scholarship programs you just need to visit their website to apply. 

2. Apply for FAFSA.

If you’re out of time to apply for a scholarship or grant? Fill out a free application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). Overseen by The U.S. Department of Education, FAFSA gifts upward of $120 billion per year in student loans, federal grants, and work-study programs to cover more than 13 million college students.

Although FASFA loans must be paid back, they typically offer more flexible repayment plans and lower interest rates. You might find yourself saying, “I can’t afford to take out loans for college.” Consider a work-study program, which will build up your resume and reduce the amount of money needed from student loans.

3. Spend less.

Complete your first two years at a community college then transfer to a university. This simple step could save you 15% to 30%. Remember to always contact the university you wish to attend and ensure that each community college course will transfer. YES, a guidance counselor may unknowingly enroll you in courses that don’t transfer! (Check each semester).

4. Borrow Less.

It’s also important to look for ways to limit the amount you borrow. After all, you don’t want your post-graduation salary all going to pay student loans… If you can stand your parents? Consider living at home or in off-campus housing, as saving on room and board will substantially lower the amount you need in student loans. Finally, don’t pay full price for your textbooks. Renting your course material from amazon or other online platforms can save you anywhere from 50 to 80 percent when compared to buying them new.

4. Take advantage of student discounts.

Student discounts can cover travel, concert/movie tickets, digital services, books, car insurance, and electronics. Major subscription services like Amazon Prime Student can save you money on services such as LinkedIn, Grub hub, and more.

5. Apply for student loans.

When you apply for a student loan, It can be a bit scary! If you need help navigating this important decision? Oklahoma Central Credit Union is here to help with your college journey. Contact us today.

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