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:
New Law Forces Community College Professors to Disclose Textbook Costs
Have you ever been sticker-shocked at the textbook costs for each of your classes? Thanks to a new law, before you sign up for a class, you can ascertain exactly how much the course’s textbooks will cost.
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

Free Community College Textbooks
Textbooks can be a financial burden for community college students, but there are ways you can obtain textbooks for free.
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

Amidst major immigration controversy in the country, some community colleges are in the spotlight for giving undocumented immigrants scholarships. Learn more about both sides of the debate.
As the illegal immigration debate continues to rage, another aspect of the issue comes into light. A community college in California has set up a scholarship fund that is available to illegal immigrants, as well as legal residents of the United States, according to a report on Fox News.

While the foundation responsible for the scholarship is receiving a considerable amount of flack, it turns out there are other scholarship avenues for illegal immigrants to explore as well.
 
The Immigration Question
 
Most immigrant students seeking scholarship money hold green cards or have permanent residency in this country. However, there are also numerous illegal immigrants who have been brought into this country by their parents and grew up as Americans, even if they don't have the documentation to prove it. Much discussion has begun over whether these students are entitled to any type of financial aid to help pay for their higher education.
 
The immigration debate has been fueled by both new Arizona legislation and increasing concerns over border security. Fox News reports on a recent alert sent out by the Department of Homeland Security regarding a Somali man with terror ties who the agency believes is trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States.
 
Controversy at Santa Ana College
 
The recent announcement of a new memorial scholarship at Santa Ana College in honor of former student Tan Ngoc Tran has sparked additional furor. Tran was a student leader and immigrant-rights activist who graduated from Santa . . . read more

Why do those who need financial aid most unlikely to apply? Learn about College Board's new study and how community colleges can help the neediest apply for financial aid.
Community college students are much more likely to qualify for financial aid than students attending four-year universities. However, students attending two-year institutions are unlikely to apply for the aid, according to a recently released report by College Board. The discrepancy has inspired many higher educators to "put on their thinking caps" and come up with a solution to make community college more affordable to those who can least afford it.
 
According to the College Board Study, only 58% of community college students who are eligible for Pell grants applied for financial aid, compared with 77% of Pell-eligible students at four-year institutions. The College Board report states, "Although community college students are more likely to be eligible for need-based federal aid, they are less likely than their peers at other types of institutions to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)."
 
Community colleges have traditionally appealed to low-income students because of their lower tuition rates and close relationships with the local community. Adults also utilized the educational services at community colleges to further their careers or switch industries relatively quickly.
 
Community colleges provide a valuable service to their communities, but those services are grossly underutilized if the people who need them most cannot get the assistance necessary to use them.
 
Why Students Don't Apply for Aid
 
A report on Education-Portal.com outlines some of the challenges facing low-income students and the community colleges that could provide them with affordable education:

  • Students may lack basic understanding about the financial planning necessary . . . read more

Learn about the Department of Education's new Direct Loan Program and how you can prepare for the change in your financial aid.
The tide has turned in federal financial aid – and students will be the benefactors. The newly minted U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Program will now administer federal financial aid, cutting out the middlemen banks that once profited on doling out these funds to students. 

Amidst all of the changes, “student loans are in transition, and those who use them need to pay particular attention right now as the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan Program takes responsibility for lending,” The Daily Press sagely advises. 
 
Make sure that you are taking the right steps to apply for and manage your community college financial aid, using this article as your guide. 
 
Financial Aid & the Federal Government: Overview of New Legislation
 
According to the New York Times, President Obama recently passed legislation that allows the Department of Education to directly provide students with financial aid loans. This new law eliminates any fees paid to private banks, as banks will no longer serve as intermediary parties between students and their access to college loans. Without banks acting as middlemen, an estimated $6 to $7 billion dollars of federal money will be saved annually, benefiting the government, taxpayers, and students, according to the Congressional Budget Office.   
 
As outlined by the legislation, as of July 2014, students set to borrow money for college will be permitted to, “cap repayments at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, instead of 15 percent.” 
 
Adding to this advantage, students who maintain responsible repayment histories will have their college . . . read more
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Recent Articles
Arizona Community Colleges Defunded: What Students Need to Know
Arizona Community Colleges Defunded: What Students Need to Know
Leading the country in slashing public education spending, Arizona voted to defund higher education, including Pima and Maricopa Community College Districts, leaving many Arizona college students wondering what this new state legislation means for the future of their education.
5 Alternative Methods for Earning Community College Credits
Not all community college students spend their winter and summer break on vacation. Some utilize that time to take a few extra classes and earn credits that can help them graduate early. Other students test out of courses and receive credit for work experiences in order to get ahead. In this article, learn about the various methods you can use to pursue extra college credits.
Free Community College Coming Soon? President Obama Hopes So
Earlier this year, President Obama outlined a proposal that would make community college free for millions of community college students. What does it mean for you?
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.