College Tuition & Fee Payment Options
Last updated October 23, 2023
While there are a variety of ways to pay for college, some options are easier than others. Whether you're using scholarships, grants, loans, or your own personal funds, it's important to know your options to avoid taking on unnecessary debt. We'll explore the different ways to pay for college tuition and provide tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
Set up a checking account
Setting up a checking account will allow you the option to pay directly from your account using your debit card or by writing and sending a check. Family members can send you money through payment apps like Venmo or Cash App, which you can then transfer to your checking account to make a payment. Safety tip: set a pin for payment apps and password lock your bank apps.
Consider payment plans
If a one-time tuition payment is not financially possible, check with your school to see if there’s an option to set up a payment plan. With a payment plan, you pay a monthly interest-free amount over a certain period– in most cases, for the length of the quarter or semester. Ask the financial aid office as soon as you can, because it might take time to set up.
How to Access Your Financial Aid
There are different ways to access your financial aid depending on the aid type:
Log in to your student account and review any final steps on your end to receive your scholarship award(s) or grant(s). Keep track of the requirements you must meet to stay eligible for any scholarships or grants you’ve received. Common eligibility requirements include being enrolled in a certain amount of credits (usually full time credits) or maintaining a certain GPA.
If you received a work-study award, be sure to review the details of your program. What steps do you need to take in order to secure a job? Which jobs can you apply for? Where can you find positions that will count as work-study? If you’re not sure, check in with your financial aid office.
Check your FAFSA account and student account for information about your federal loans. In general, your student aid offer will include directions on accepting aid. Follow these directions carefully. In most cases, you will sign a promissory note (a contract between you and the lender) that specifies the terms and conditions of the loan. If you are accepting a loan, you will need to finish a loan education program, known as entrance counseling, before receiving any aid.
Taking out private loans should be a last-resort plan, after you have tried all other ways of paying for tuition. Private loans have higher interest rates than federal loans, and the terms and conditions are usually not as good. Read all the fine print and borrow only the amount you need and can reasonably afford to pay back.
It's important to know your college payment options and choose the ones that work best for you. Want to learn more about paying for college? Check out our FAFSA resources or text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!