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 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 life are free," and that
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Should Community Colleges Give Scholarships to Illegal Immigrants?
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 to 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.
 
As Fastweb notes: "Federal law passed in 1996 prohibits illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education. Specifically, Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 states: "an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident."

Several states -- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington -- have passed state laws providing in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens who have attended high school in the state for three or more years."

The Immigration Question
 
Most immigrant students seeking scholarship money hold green cards or have permanent residency in this
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The Poorer the Student, the Less Likely to Apply for Aid
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 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)."
 
College Raptor makes the following observation about some students not applying for financial aid. "The National College Access Network (NCAN) recently released an alarming study about college-bound students’ awareness of financial aid opportunities. Within their post, they reference other findings and statistics about higher education and financial aid. The Department of Education found that only 45% of high school students completed and filed the FAFSA. Less than half of graduating high school students are applying for federal financial aid."  Apparently many high school students know little or nothing about financial aid.
 
This video offers a guide to financial aid.
 
 
Community colleges have
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How the New Direct Loan Program Will Impact Your Financial Aid
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 loan
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Why You Should Take Advantage of the Pell Grant
Learn about the millions of unclaimed Pell Grant dollars that could help fund your community college education. Find out if you qualify and how you can apply for the free funds.
Are you taking full advantage of your financial aid opportunities?   If you have not yet applied for the Pell Grant, then you may be missing out on millions in federal funding that is currently being unused.  In fact, in California alone, more than 500,000 community college students were eligible for the Pell Grant, but simply did not apply for it, according to the Institute for College Access and Success

As a grant, the Pell Grant does not need to be repaid, making it one of the best financial aid opportunities. In addition, the Obama administration plans to inject another $40 billion into the program, as reported by the Washington Post.
 
College Scholarships explains the Pell Grant as follows:
 
"What we know today as the Pell Grant, began as the Higher Education Act of 1965. Proposed by then President Lyndon Johnson and passed by Congress, the HEA provided financial aid to students from low income families who would otherwise have been unable to afford a college education. In 1972 the HEA was reformed under the oversight of Senator Claiborne Pell. The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 reauthorized the original act, while further alterations and amendments made in 1978 helped to form what we now recognize as the federal Pell Grant program. During the amendments of 1978 the program was renamed to honor the dedication of Senator Claiborne Pell in his pursuit to provide access 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.