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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Planning for Student Loans amidst Financial Slow-Downs
Learn how you can find financial aid and support in spite of troubled economic times
As the market steadily slows, and credit, banks, and loan institutions are forced to tighten their budgets, students and schools express concern about affording community college, especially in light of the rising cost of tuition paired with the plummeting availability of funds. 
 
Andy Rosen, in his article “Students, Colleges Prepare for the Private Loan Slowdown,” further explores this issue in asserting: “Area colleges and students are concerned that it will get harder to bridge the gap between federal financial aid and the total cost of education, as a troubled credit market threatens to make private loans harder to get.” 
 
Since many lenders are becoming increasingly cautious in regards to student loans, intuitions are striving to prepare students with additional tools and resources to obtain funds for the school. 
 
This video shares a student's opinion about student loans.
 
 
Can I Obtain Loans When Attending Community College Next Year?
 
If you’re seeking funds to attend college next year or in the upcoming future, it is still relatively uncertain as to how much support students will have access to tuition costs. Essentially, as Rosen reveals, “Nobody really knows the magnitude of the problem because many students have already secured their financing for this year.” 
 
Since an economic recession has been predicted for quite some time, many students held onto anticipatory savings; however, this may not be the case in the upcoming semesters over the course of the next few years. As a result, “It is less certain what is going to happen next year
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Loans and Free Tuition for Community College Students
Learn more about how community colleges and federal loans can help you affordably finance your community college education.
Courtesy Department of Education
When the economy slows down, individuals across the country struggle to cope with layoffs. Even after the economy begins to grow again, it takes some time for employment levels to rebound. As a result, many workers find that their once-desirable resume is no longer up to par in a fiercely competitive job market.
 
To help unemployed workers stay at the forefront of training, some states offer free community college tuition. Specifically, states such as Kentucky and New Jersey are seeking to stimulate their community’s knowledge and job application appeal by providing free classes and affordable tuition to workers in need. Depending on each school’s programs, laid-off employees can either benefit from completely free tuition or significant tuition discounts.
 
This video shows a student explaining how he went to community college tuition-free.
 
 
Kentucky Community Colleges
 
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers extra tuition support to Kentucky residents who have recently encountered job loss. Dubbed the “Career Transitions Initiative,” the program seeks to provide workforce training in high-demand, high-wage jobs. Set into motion with the support of Governor Steve Beshear, newly laid-off workers are provided with a 50 percent tuition reduction for up to 6 credit hours each semester. This discount is available at 16 colleges and 67 campuses throughout Kentucky and students can utilize it for a full year of education or training. Additionally, this program is designed to help provide newly laid-off individuals with personal support to navigate the process for financial aid or student
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Federal Work Study Programs: Pros and Cons
Learn about the benefits of a work study program for community college students.
Although community colleges are significantly more affordable than four-year institutions, the tuition, administration fees, living costs, and book expenses can add up quickly. Unfortunately, according to 2008 research conducted by the Project on Student Debt, one out of 10 community college students cannot access federal student loans. For these students, Pell Grants often become the primary source of education funding.
 
However, if your community college offers federal student loans – which the majority of large, public, non-rural campuses do – then you may want to consider federal work-study (FWS) programs, which are also known as Formula Grants.  
 
Unlike other forms of financial aid that are strictly given as grants and loans, the work-study program helps fund your education through your working efforts. The federal government provides your community college with specific grants, and then your campus works with community and nonprofit organizations to create job opportunities for qualified students. You are paid an hourly wage for your work, which is typically higher than the minimum wage. 
 
The advantages of work-study programs
 
Garnering real-life experience
 
Attending community college prepares you for the real world, and with a work-study program, you can take that preparation to the next level. Due to the supply of work-study jobs, you are essentially “guaranteed” a job, if you qualify for the FWS program. Due to the significant incentives employers have, you are more likely to be hired for your job of choice under the FWS program. 
 
Graduating from college with a degree is no longer sufficient for garnering an ideal job. As the economy becomes more competitive, it
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Save $80K by First Attending Community College
Learn how you can save over $80,000 by first attending community college then transferring to a private institution.
With the dramatically rising costs of tuition, many families are turning towards the financially-savvy decision of starting on the higher education path first at a two-year community college.   Many universities, both public and private, have articulation agreements with local community colleges. Therefore, attending a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year institution can save significant amounts of money – while still providing you with an excellent bachelor’s degree from the university of your choice. 
 
According to the College Board, for the 2007 – 2008 school year, community college’s average tuition and fees are $2,360. This is in contrast to $6,185 at a public four-year institution, or $23,712 for a private four-year institution. 
 
This video looks at ways you can lowes college costs.
 
 
Calculating the specific academic savings
 
For example, let us calculate the savings if you begin your academic career at Pasadena City College, which has articulation transfer agreements with the public UC campuses and the private University of Southern California. 
 
If you are a resident of California and attend Pasadena City College full-time, which is based upon 12 units, then you have the following annual academic costs:
 
- Tuition and Fees: $508
 
- Books and school supplies: $1500
 
In contrast, at the private University of Southern California, you have the following full-time annual academic costs:
 
- Tuition and fees: $30,850
 
- Books: $1,000
 
At a public, University of California campus, the annual full-time academic costs for a California resident are:
 
-  Tuition and Fees: $8,385
 
- Books: 1,300 
 
If you attended Pasadena Community College for
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The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007
Learn more about The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ("CCRAA" or the "Act"), which was enacted to make college more affordable for low- and moderate-income students by phasing in increases in government grants.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ("CCRAA" or the "Act") was enacted to make college more affordable for low- and moderate-income students by phasing in increases in government grants. For example, in 2007 the maximum Pell Grant was limited to $4,310, whereas the maximum for 2012 is $5,400. The Act also decreases interest rates on government-backed loans and even cancels outstanding debt in certain situations. The favorable terms for grants and loans represent an important step forward in achieving universal access to higher education. This report examines the problem of inadequate college assistance, the enactment of the Act, the major provisions affecting college student borrowers, and the funding of the new benefits.
 

Rising Cost of Higher Education Leads to Massive Student Loan Debt

Federal student aid has not kept pace with the escalating cost of higher education and the reduced state support of public colleges and universities. As a result, some students decide that a college education is out of their reach. Other students and their families borrow increasing amounts to pay tuition and other expenses. Students who graduate with unpaid loans are burdened with thousands of dollars of debt that they must usually begin repaying shortly after graduation. Studies show that about 39 percent of college graduates under the age of 35 say it will take them more than ten years to pay off their loans. For graduates with low- or moderate-paying jobs, the monthly principal and interest due may far exceed their ability to
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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.