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College Tuition and Fee Payment Options

Last updated October 20, 2020

There are many ways to pay your college tuition, but some are easier than others. Expect to fill out some applications, and you may need to maintain eligibility requirements. To get started, ask your financial aid office for the payment options available to you.

Checking Account

Setting up a checking account will allow you the option to pay with a debit card, checks, or directly from your account. You can receive funds from family and be able to use payment apps like Venmo or Cash App. Tip: set a pin for payment apps and password lock your bank apps.

Payment Plans

If a one-time tuition payment is not financially possible, check with your school to see if there is an option to start 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.

Scholarships/Grants

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 conditions you must meet to stay eligible for any scholarships or grants you’ve received. Common eligibility requirements involve being enrolled for a certain amount of credits, or not going below a certain GPA.

Work Study

If you received a work study award, be sure to review the details of your work study program. What steps do you need to take? Which jobs can you apply for? Where can you find positions that will count as work study? Keep in mind that you will need to balance hours between work, class, and studying.

Federal Loans

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.

Private Loans

Take out private loans 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.

Learn more about:

Comparing financial aid packages

How do student loans work?

Financial Aid Definitions

FAFSA

Succeed in College

Paying for College

How to Read Your College Bill
Getting the Best Price on College Textbooks

See the whole series

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