3 ways to make college affordable

Father and son on laptop

Attending college can put your child on the path to future career and financial success. But getting there can be a financial burden for many families. If your student is planning to attend college in the near future, take advantage of these ideas and resources to make costs more affordable.

Find the right match

Finding the best college match is a key first step in the planning process. The right school will not only expose your teen to new friends and new opportunities, it will also form the basis for their future career.

Urge your child to apply to schools that match their interests, career goals, and reasonably fit the budget for tuition and other associated costs. Search websites, apps, financial magazines and your child’s guidance office to help narrow their focus and get a better idea of costs. Once you know what four years of college really costs, you’ll be in a better position to help your child find the right school.

Fill out the FAFSA

Securing all available financial aid is important and starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. The application becomes available for students to complete and submit as early as October 1, every year. Most colleges use this application to determine how much money to award students.

In North Carolina, college financial aid officers and other volunteers help families complete the FAFSA form for free on FAFSA Day. The event is hosted at high schools, colleges and churches across the state.

Seek out scholarships

Academic achievements, athletics, even community involvement could qualify your child for a scholarship. This type of award is a great addition to any financial aid package since it doesn’t have to be paid back with money. And there’s no limit to the number of scholarships you can get and apply toward a variety college-related expenses beyond tuition and housing.

Encourage your teen to check with the school guidance office for scholarship leads. They can also look online or use apps that make searching for them easier. If you do choose to use an app, beware of potential data usage fees. Community organizations like Chambers of Commerce and social groups such as Women’s Clubs and Elks Lodges may also give financial awards.

Every year, LGFCU Scholarships are available for eligible students. Your Credit Union awards 120 one-year, $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors and post-secondary students to help offset some of the school costs.

Finding your college match, and applying for scholarships and financial aid can be three smart things you can do to ease the expense of college.

The advice provided is for informational purposes only. Contact a financial advisor for additional guidance.

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