How to Find Last Minute Funding for College

You completed the FAFSA. You received schoarships at high school graduation. You and your parents reviewed your financial aid award letter from your college, and agreed to take out federal student loans to pay for college. Now your tuition bill is due, and somehow there's still a remaining balance - what do you do?!

Here are a few suggestions for last minute ways to foot the bill:

Cut Unnecessary Costs
Look at ways to reduce any optional costs. Do you really need the most expensive campus dining plan? Can you survive without a car and save on parking? It all adds up. You could save thousands of dollars a year by making a few small adjustments. 

Payment Plans 
Contact your school’s financial aid office to see what options you might have for tuition payments. Keep in mind that you may have to pay an enrollment or management fee for this service, but it could be worth it if you need more time to come up with extra money.

Work for It
While school should be your number one priority, think about getting a part-time job. Most colleges employ students on campus, and stores and restaurants nearby are used to working around students’ schedules. The money you make could go toward books, housing, or a payment plan if you’ve set one up.

Late Deadline Scholarships
While most scholarships are awarded in the spring, there may be some that are still available and have a later deadline. Search online or with local community organizations to see if there is unclaimed money available. Just be sure to watch for these red flags outlined by U.S. News

  • Phony organizations: The scholarship site should have an About Us page, giving the name of the business or nonprofit offering the award. Do a quick web search to make sure the business or nonprofit exists and has made recent updates to the website.
  • No clear criteria for how entries will be judged: If the scholarship website doesn’t outline the factors that evaluators will consider, the scholarship could be phony.
  • Requests financial information: Most legitimate scholarship organizations have access to information from the FAFSA. That means you shouldn't have to provide Social Security numbers, salaries and other personal information for yourself or your parents.
  • Absence of clear privacy policies: Before applying for a scholarship, read the organization’s privacy policy on the website. Make sure it states definitively that it won’t sell information you provide.

Consider Private Student Loans
Private student loans like those offered by Student Choice and your credit union were developed for this exact situation. Once you’ve exhausted all other means of financial aid and payment options, a private student loan can help cover the balance that’s left.

When you’re comparing loans, look at interest rates, repayment terms, and fees to make sure you’re selecting the best option for your situation. You can also speak with our College Access Counselor (at no cost to you!) to work through your options. Ask a question via email, or set up an appointment via phone. We're here to help!




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