The average cost of college rises every year despite a continued problem of unemployment among educated professionals in the United States. In 2010, the average college graduate spent about $32,000 for tuition, books and other educational costs. This figure does not include the cost of living while attending classes. So, with a challenged economy you are probably wondering How to pay for College in the United States.
First, the federal government offers grants for eligible college students planning to attend classes at least part-time. Yes, available funds have significantly shrunk in the 2010s. However, it is definitely not hopeless. Students who have limited financial means can qualify for more than $5,000 each year. The grants do not have to be paid back, even if you ultimately leave college. However, if you have a drug-related conviction you are ineligible for all government financial aid for college.
Student loans are a classic method of How to pay for College and the United States government still offers several student loan programs. For most student loans, your credit rating is irrelevant. The government-funded loans are based on financial need. However, be careful about borrowing too much money. You are generally expected to begin repaying the loans as soon as you leave college, whether or not you actually completed your educational program. If you have trouble finding a job or decide to volunteer with eligible government programs, you can delay the payments. But simply not making the payments is a really bad idea. The government can garnish your wages, seize your tax refunds and generally make your life miserable until you repay. Also, the days of racking up student loan debt and filing bankruptcy are pretty much over. In 2005, the government passed new laws that reformed bankruptcy debt relief. Unless you become seriously disabled or your college goes out of business, you must repay your federal student loans.
Private loans are available, but require a good credit rating and some source of steady income. Your parents may be able to get such loans on your behalf.
Scholarships are a source of free college money, but you have to find private organizations and apply. Likely, some company out there is funding a scholarship for people of your career interest, race, religion or gender. If you or your parents are members of a local organization, you probably qualify for even more scholarships. Research is a major key here.