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:
With tax day just around the corner, many Americans are scrambling to get their documents in order and their forms completed. For those who need help with the return but can't afford to hire the services of a CPA, there is an alternative. The IRS offers volunteer tax assistance in a variety of communities to help low-income families get the help they need before April 15. The benefits are even more far-reaching, as many community college students aspiring to accounting careers can get the training and experience they need to work in this volunteer program.

We'll give a brief overview of the volunteer program and who it helps, as well as list a few of the community colleges that have come alongside the IRS to help Americans get their taxes filed on time.
 
What is VITA?
 
According to the IRS website, VITA, also referred to as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, is designed to offer free tax help to low to moderate-income Americans who are unable to complete their own tax returns. The service utilizes certified volunteers sponsored by a number of organizations to provide the assistance people need to file their basic income tax forms.

Most of the VITA stations are located at community places like libraries, schools and shopping malls. Community colleges are another option where VITA services might be provided.
 
VITA helps many different groups of Americans file their taxes accurately and on time. Some of the people that qualify for VITA services include:
 
       ·         Families with incomes below $49,000
 
       ·         Those . . . read more

Many high school graduates find an affordable solution to expensive four-year universities by attending community colleges in their area instead. Professionals who require additional training or need to forge a new career path have also found community colleges to be an affordable solution to their career needs.
 
However, community college is becoming a little less affordable in some areas, with the current economic slowdown forcing many schools to hike up tuition rates in an effort to combat rising costs and decreased funding.  
 
In Tucson, Arizona, Pima Community College is considering increases in tuition rates for some of their more popular programs. The school is facing financial shortfalls after having state appropriations cut by more than 30% over the past two years. Roy Flores, the college's chancellor, told Inside Higher Ed, "It looks like we'll have budget cuts for the foreseeable future…As we get squeezed from every corner, I'm concerned about the future of our occupational programs and our ability to respond to people who get laid off and need new skills to get back on their feet."
 
Instead of raising actual tuition rates, Pima is considering a premium charge of 10-30% on popular programs like nursing and avionics. The charge would be phased in slowly, rather than getting assessed in a single expensive bill. Flores does not believe the addition of a premium charge would price many students out of the opportunity to pursue a degree through Pima.
 

Increasing amounts of financial aid have made the community college track more affordable today. However, students who have been awarded financial aid are quickly finding that getting approved for financial aid and actually getting a check to pay for mounting expenses are not necessarily one and the same.

The Backlog
 
Community college financial aid offices are getting inundated with financial aid applications this year, as more students are finding reasons to head to these two-year institutions to prepare them for the workforce. At the same time, budget cuts are reducing the number of staff available to process this expansive number of applications. The result at many community colleges is a backlog of requests that will take many weeks to process. 
 
This is not good news for thousands of community college students who rely on those financial aid checks to pay for basic necessities like food and rent, as well as the cost of tuition and books. If the checks don't arrive timely, some students are faced with the realization that they may not be able to live up to their lease obligations, purchase the textbooks they need or put food on the table. If financial aid doesn't come soon, some may be forced to abandon their education.
 
Offering Assistance
 
In some cases, the colleges are doing what they can to help cash-strapped students eke by until the aid check arrives. Some colleges are waiving fees for late tuition payments and others are offering interest free loans for . . . read more

After they scrape together the necessary cash to pay tuition fees, community college students find that their financial obligations are far from over. The rising costs of textbooks and other necessary supplies have put more than one college student into a deep financial hole, forcing some to choose between their necessary resources and rent for the month.
 
To help students plan more efficiently for the cost of textbooks each semester, a new law has been put in place to require college professors to disclose the precise costs of textbooks before a student commits to their classes, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
 
Lower Prices
 
In addition to helping students plan for the cost of higher education more accurately, the new law will also increase awareness and competition in the textbook market, lowering the cost of textbooks overall.
 
This is good news to students who may spend hundreds of dollars every semester to stock their dormitory bookshelves with the necessary supplies. A report in the Washington Post two years ago estimated that some college students pay between $700 and $1,100 each year on textbooks. Between 1986 and 2004, the price of a college textbook tripled, with an annual increase of around 6% each year – nearly double the rate of inflation.
 
"It's really hard just paying for tuition alone," Annaiis Wilkinson told the Washington Post. The 19-year-old Trinity Washington University student paid about $500 in textbooks each semester just two short years ago. For community college students who . . . read more

Students who enter community college today might be dismayed to find that hefty tuition payments are just the beginning of a potentially expensive college career. In addition to the annual tuition costs, textbooks have become a major expense for many students, with some books easily costing more than $100 to bring a grand total for a single semester well into the $500-$1,000 range.

Cash-strapped students are often on the lookout for affordable solutions to the textbook issue, and fortunately, help is available. Through a variety of programs offered on community college campuses and across the Internet, students are finding they can save a bundle on the textbooks they need.
 
Affordable Options
 
A report last year on U.S. News and World Report cited a number of options students could explore to save money on college textbooks, including:
 
       ·         Using textbook rental services
 
       ·         Borrowing textbooks from libraries
 
       ·         Participating in textbook exchanges
 
       ·         Getting textbooks for free or nearly free online
 
       ·         Finding used textbooks at a reduced price

While all of these options offer their own advantages and drawbacks, using a variety of methods to secure all the textbooks you need for any given semester can reap serious rewards in terms of saving money. In addition to the tried and true savings programs, some college professors are getting involved in the affordable textbook cause to find resources for students that provide them with the information they need to ace a class without going into the red to do so.
 
Freebies
 
Someone once said that "the best things in . . . read more
View Pages:<<Prev  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  Next>>
Recent Articles
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Nearly 52 percent of community college students in the United States begin their freshman year in at least one remedial class. These courses, which help students acquire knowledge and skills they should have acquired in high school, do not count toward their degree requirements. As a result, students are taking longer than ever to obtain their degree, if they obtain one at all.
Federal Student Loans – Unavailable at 20% of Community Colleges
Although a community college education is inexpensive when compared to tuition and fees at a four-year institution, some students still need financial assistance to pay their education bills. Yet, some community colleges don’t participate in the federal student loan program, putting some students in a financial bind.
Post-Recession Cliff Looms for Community Colleges
While many factors have contributed to the current decline in community college enrollment, the recovering economy is chief among them. As more and more people return to the workforce, fewer students enroll in courses at community colleges. Many institutions must now deal with budget shortfalls in the face of double-digit declines in enrollment.
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.