How to Fund College Tuition

student studying in library

Are you wondering how you’ll be able to pay for your child’s college education? You’re not alone. With the high cost of college expenses, many families struggle with this concern. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average in-state tuition for a public college is about $9,687 for the 2020-2021 school year. A public out-of-state college is around $21,184 and a private college averages about $35,087 for one year.

If you’re like most families, the funds to pay for college expenses usually comes from different sources. Here are some helpful ways to pay for college to make sure you’re getting all the financial help you can.

Apply for FAFSA

The first step should be to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). This is a form completed by current and prospective college students each school year to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Through FAFSA, you can apply for federal grants, work-study and loans. From the information you fill out, the college will look at an estimate of what you can afford to pay and let you know what kind of financial aid you qualify for.

Apply for scholarships

If you are a Colorado resident, there are many scholarship opportunities designated specifically for Coloradans. There are thousands of additional scholarship opportunities for students nationwide. Start by checking with your child’s high school guidance counselor. You can also use an online service like the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool.

Partner Colorado Foundation has awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships to Colorado students. Recipients are selected on the basis of financial need; however superior academic achievement and involvement in curricular, extracurricular and community activities are also taken into consideration. Visit our website to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Look for grants

A grant is money that does not need to be repaid. Colleges, the federal government and states give out grants usually based on financial need and income. The Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program offered to undergraduates. To qualify for a Pell Grant, a student must demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA form. Use this tool on the Department of Education’s website to help you find other available grants in Colorado and other states.

Savings plan

According to Sallie Mae, the typical family covers 43% of college costs by using money in their savings. There are several different ways to save for your child’s education including a 529 plan, savings account, Roth IRA or Certificate of Deposit (CD). Use our free Save for College calculator to determine how much you’ll need to save for your child’s college expenses.

If you haven’t started a savings plan, we can help. Stop by any Partner Colorado location and let’s discuss your goals.

Take out a loan

If you need to borrow money to help pay for college expenses, you can take out a student loan. Partner Colorado has partnered with Sallie Mae® to offer flexible student loans with competitive rates and multiple repayment options.

Work-study jobs

A work-study job is a part-time job typically on or near campus for students who are eligible based on finances and funding available at the school. You must submit the FAFSA form to see if you qualify. If you do qualify, you must then find an eligible work-study job and work enough hours to earn the aid you qualify for.

Choose an affordable college

Choosing a college with a lower tuition will make it easier for you to afford it. Consider starting out at a local community college for at least your general studies before attending a university. Also be sure to compare which schools offer the best financial aid options. For example, one college may offer a lower tuition, but not much in aid. Another college may have a higher tuition, but offer you enough aid to make it worthwhile to consider.

More than likely, a combination of different funding options will help make it possible for you to afford your child’s college education. We hope this information makes it easier to determine what’s best for your family.