The gap between available federal financial aid funding and the overall cost of an education continues to grow. However, there are many ways for students to fill the funding gap after federal funds are exhausted. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, you can help your students understand their options. Here’s how to guide them toward making the best choice for their situation.
Talk to a Financial Aid Advisor
As a first step, encourage your students to talk through their financial aid options with the resident experts in the financial aid office. They have the knowledge and resources to help students put together a complete plan for covering their college costs.
Set Up a Smart Schedule
One way for students to stretch their tuition money is to be smart about their class schedule. If students pay by the credit, a slower approach might be helpful. By taking only a few courses at a time, and even over the summer, they can ease the burden of paying for their education all at once.
Find Free Money
Let your students know to always be on the lookout for money they don’t have to pay back, such as grants and scholarships. Check out It’s Never Too Late—Scholarship Resources for Your Students for ideas on how to find scholarship resources all year round.
Get to Work
If they’re able, having a job while in school is a great way to offset educational expenses. Whether it’s a part-time job or indicating their preference for work study on the FAFSA, having even a small income can be a big help.
Pay As You Go
Does your school offer tuition installment plans? Let your students know! This gives them the option to break up their bills into more comfortable payments over time instead of making one lump sum payment.
Consider Private Loans
Private loans are another way students can bridge the gap in their college costs. Make sure to provide them with all the information they need to choose the loan option that best fits their needs. If you’re looking for a clear, consistent way to provide this information, consider FastChoice for private loan selection and student education. FastChoice displays loan options for your students on a user-friendly website. Best of all? FastChoice is free and fully supported by Great Lakes. Reach out to your Great Lakes representative for more information.
For more resources on how to best help your students, see the ScholarNet Central Resources at MyScholarNet.com. Or, share your ideas for helping students bridge the financial gap in our MyScholarNet group on LinkedIn.