For the 2018-2019 school year, the average cost of college was $9,716 at in-state public colleges. During that same year, private colleges cost an average of $35,676. Over the course of four years, incoming college students could spend $38,864 to $142,704 based on those averages. Plus, since over 100 private colleges charged more than $50,000 for one academic year, that four-year total can cross the $200,000 mark. With the cost of higher education so high, paying for college without a scholarship can be overwhelming.
The Benefits of Scholarships
Scholarships are an excellent way to help make college more affordable. If a student receives a scholarship, they can use the money to handle tuition costs and possibly more, depending on any restrictions associated with the award.
Like many grants, scholarships are not debt. The money does not have to be repaid by the student as long as they use the funds in accordance with the rules.
However, not every student may have access to scholarships. Institutional scholarships are usually only given to students with significant athletic, academic, artistic, or other forms of achievement. Scholarships from other organizations, ranging from private companies to nonprofit organizations, can be highly competitive and may have rules that limit who is eligible.
Affording College Without a Scholarship
Whether college is affordable without a scholarship depends on a few factors. First, the cost of the college plays a big role in overall affordability. Paying the in-state public college average of $9,716 a year may be much more manageable than $35,676 a year at a private college.
Additionally, going to a two-year community college can reduce the total cost even further. For the 2018-2019 school year, community colleges came with an average price of just $3,660 a year. If a student went to a community college for two years and then did two more years at an in-state public college, four years of education could come with a price tag of $26,752.
College tuition, fees, and other expenses vary from one school to the next. If a student is flexible about where they go to school, they can hunt down a lower-cost option that makes paying for their education easier from the beginning.
There are Many Forms of Financial Aid
Second, there are many forms of financial aid that can help pay for college. Lower income families may qualify for the Federal Pell Grant based on the student’s FAFSA, which can equal up to $5,920 a year in funds that don’t have to be repaid. Some schools also offer grants to make college more affordable for student’s who may need more financial support based on their household’s income.
Financial aid packages that include work-study options can also help reduce the need for student loans. This makes college more affordable over the long-term and allows college students to avoid debt.
Jobs and Work-Study
Maintaining a separate part-time job if a student isn’t eligible for work-study can also make paying for college easier. That way, if the student needs student loans to cover the difference, they can be as small as possible.
Ultimately, college can be affordable without scholarships. However, not every college will be affordable for everyone. If the cost of college is a potential issue, examining low-cost in-state schools is a great place to start. Similarly, keeping community colleges on the table is a must. By doing that and optimizing other financial aid options, it is possible to send a child to college without breaking the bank.
Do you think you can send a child to college without a scholarship? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
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