Financing

Paying for community college can be overwhelming. Use the tools, resources and tips within this section to help you finance your education. From student loans to scholarships, we’ll cover the most common financial aid options available to community college students. Get money saving tips, learn more about Pell grants, and explore the federal work-study program.
View the most popular articles in Financing:
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Free Tuition Could Come to a Community College Near You
To encourage students to pursue higher education, some states are considering plans to offer zero-tuition programs at public community colleges. These programs could make college a reality for many young people, however, critics argue such programs would cost taxpayers a significant amount of money.
It’s no secret that Americans are lagging behind other industrialized nations in terms of attaining a post-secondary degree. Losing the brain battle is concerning in and of itself, however, many politicians are also concerned about a workforce that may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to compete in the global market. To address this issue, legislators in some states are proposing plans that would make tuition at public community colleges free for all students, regardless of income.
 
Advantages of Zero-Tuition Programs
 
Clearly, free tuition makes college much more affordable for students. At a time when college tuition costs are higher than ever, being able to take advantage of such savings could encourage untold numbers of college hopefuls to enroll in classes at their local community college. Of course, with a college education comes improved knowledge, an expanded skillset, and better marketability for jobs.
 
Additionally, getting young people to go to college is a means to reverse the trend of income inequality in this country. With more and more of the nation’s wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, getting a college degree can help improve the economic situation of millions of young people that are the future of this country’s workforce. The better educated they are and the more skills they have, the more in-demand they will be and the more money they will make. As a result, upward mobility becomes much easier and the middle class expands.

 
Furthermore, providing a tuition-free education addresses,...
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Managing Student Loan Debt: How to Budget for Affordability
Student loan debt statistics continue to shock. Just two years ago, the average student loan debt in America was estimated at about $27,000. Now, a recent study from Fidelity Investments reveals that 70 percent of students who graduated college in 2013 borrowed money from various federal, state, and private sources to help pay for their education. And they left school with an average debt of $35,200. That's a 35 percent increase.

The Fidelity study also found that 50 percent of those 2013 graduates who had taken out student loans expressed surprise by just how much debt they had accumulated. That's another shocking statistic that clearly demonstrates just how difficult it is for many college-age students to visualize what their lives will be like when the borrowing phase of their student loans is over and the dreaded repayment phase begins. And that's not a good place to be.

The bottom line is that student loans are not optional arrangements between you and your lenders. They have to be repaid. They cannot be ignored or put off and federal law stipulates that they cannot even be discharged via bankruptcy. If you default on your student loans you can have your tax refunds intercepted, a portion of your wages garnished, judgments or lawsuits issued against you or collection fees added to your loan balances – not to mention harassing calls and tactics from aggressive creditors.

That's why it's absolutely critical that if you are a student loan borrower, you learn how to manage...
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Hikes in Stafford Loan Rates Could Spell Trouble for Some Community College Students
We report on the recent increases in Stafford Loan Rates, which have led to some community colleges across the country discontinuing this option for financial aid.
The announcement of a significant increase in Stafford loan rates could pose a problem for some community college students. Despite reassurances from Congress that a deal is coming, those looking for ways to pay for their postsecondary education continue to be left in a bind at this point. On the other hand, many community colleges have done away with the Safford loan option for other reasons, and students are finding alternative methods for footing their tuition bills. Check out how community colleges are dealing with the issues involving Stafford loans and finding other ways to help their students financially.
 
Stafford Loan Rates Doubling?
 
MPN Now reports that the failure by Congress to address student loan rates has resulted in a doubling of the rates for Stafford loans. Without intercession by lawmakers, students could see rates of 6.8% on loans taken out for the upcoming school year. Last year, those rates were just 3.4%.
 
The rate hike applies to subsidized Stafford loans, which are those in which the government pays the interest while the student is still attending college. Subsidized Stafford loans make up about one-quarter of all Stafford loans issued. Unfortunately, they are also the loans that typically go to the neediest students.
 
Susan Romano, director of financial aid at Finger Lakes Community College in New York, told MPN Now that the changes may prompt students to look for other ways to pay for their college education.
 
“I think it’s going to make families think twice about loans, especially here at...
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New “Pay it Forward” Plan will Allow Students to Attend Community College Tuition-Free
We explore an innovative idea coming to Oregon community colleges that will allow students to attend school tuition-free, with an agreement to pay back the state with a portion of their income after graduation.
As federal lawmakers appear unable to make progress in the student debt crisis, state lawmakers in Oregon are moving ahead with a plan to make higher education more affordable and debt-free. The proposal, known as “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back,” is a unique approach to footing the climbing bill of postsecondary education today. The bill has been approved by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber later this month.
 
What is Pay it Forward, Pay it Back?
 
According to the website for the Oregon Working Families Party, this new piece of legislation, officially dubbed House Bill 3472, offers access to a higher education without the accumulation of large amounts of debt. Students attending public universities and community colleges would be able to do so without paying any tuition up front. After the student leaves the college or university and enters the workforce, these students would pay a percentage of their income directly to the state’s higher education funding.
 
Under the current proposal, students graduating from a four-year public school would pay 3 percent of their income. Those graduating from a community college would pay 1.5 percent of their income. Payments would be deducted directly from the individual’s payroll, much like social security taxes. The payments would increase or decrease according to the individual’s income amount, and would continue for a full 24 years.
 
Pay it Forward, Pay it Back was the brainchild of a group of students at Portland State University,...
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10 Financial Aid Tips Every Community College Student Needs
Community colleges may offer lower tuition costs than four-year schools, but the bills can still be steep for some students. Find out how you can get financial aid to complete your community college degree.
Choosing a college is an important step that can directly impact a student’s success. Once a college is chosen, the reality of paying for higher education begins to creep into the picture. By selecting a community college, students have already made a frugal choice for their future. However, even community college is far from free. Check out these 10 financial aid tips that will help you pay your way through community college.
 
Earn Credits before College
 
You can begin paying for college long before you even apply. How? By earning college credits while you are still in high school. Many community colleges now work with neighboring high schools to allow students to dual-enroll in both college and high school classes simultaneously. Many of these programs do not charge tuition to the students taking college classes, but offer credit for the courses just the same.
 
Determine Your Needs
 
Before you begin filling out financial aid forms, ABC Chicago recommends you get a rough idea of how much money you will actually need. Take the total cost of tuition at the college you will be attending and add on living expenses if you will be living on your own, books and other essentials. Subtract the amount you have saved, as well as any money provided by your parents. Now you have a ballpark figure of how much money you still need to come up with to pay for your entire education.
 
Start Early
 
When it comes to financial aid, the early bird really does land...
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Recent Articles
Free Tuition Could Come to a Community College Near You
Free Tuition Could Come to a Community College Near You
To encourage students to pursue higher education, some states are considering plans to offer zero-tuition programs at public community colleges. These programs could make college a reality for many young people, however, critics argue such programs would cost taxpayers a significant amount of money.
Community College Review Diversity Report: Which Campuses are Most Diverse?
What states are home to the most diverse and least diverse community colleges? In our exclusive diversity report, we analyze our data to determine how much diversity there is on community college campuses throughout the United States. In addition, learn about the benefits of attending a community college with a diverse student body.
More Accreditation Woes for California
The chancellor of the California Community College System, Bryce Harris, recently stated more than 20 community colleges in the state were at risk of losing accreditation. In the midst of problems with City College of San Francisco, some are beginning to question the credibility of the accreditors.
Financing

Financing Basics

Build the foundation needed to navigate the community college financial aid system. Learn which schools are the most affordable, get money tips on reducing college costs, and explore the latest initiatives to make community colleges even more accessible.

Tuition

This section will help you prepare for the costs of attending community college and any future increases. Explore pricing plans, learn where you may be able to attend community college tuition-free, and examine the latest initiatives to make higher education more affordable.

Financial Aid

Our articles will provide you with the tools and resources needed to make sure you are qualifying for all the financial aid available, as well as maintaining your aid throughout your college career. Get the latest news on student loan interest rates, learn what to do when your financial aid is late, and explore all of your financial aid options.

Saving Money

This section is full of money saving tips for community college students. From free textbooks to finding affordable childcare, we’ll provide you with a wealth of information on keeping college affordable.

Grants & Scholarships

There's nothing better than free money, and these articles can help you get grants and scholarships for your community college education. Acquire information on Pell grants and why you should take advantage of them, learn how you can earn money through community college writing and get the latest news on scholarships and funding.