Tuition, textbooks, meal plans, housing, and all the other miscellaneous items that come with attending college ––– does the sound of this list give you heart palpitations? With the ever-rising cost of college tuition, many students and parents are nervous about selecting the right funding options.

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year was:

(1.) Public Two-Year (In-District) – $3,660

(2.) Private Four-Year College – $35,830

(3.) Public Four-Year College (in-state residents) – $10,230

(4.) Public Four-Year College (out of state residents) – $26,290

These sticker prices can be particularly unsettling as you begin to think about making one of the biggest investments of your life. This doesn’t have to be scary for you; we’re here to help!

Our biggest suggestion to all families is to be well informed before making your decisions

Make sure to DO YOUR RESEARCH! Here are 5 tips that can help ease the worry of paying for college.

1.) Complete Your Financial Aid Applications Early!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2020-2021 academic year opens on October 1st and requires the information from your 2018 income tax return. Colleges use the information from the FAFSA to determine the amount a family is expected to contribute. The results of the FAFSA are used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal grants, work-study, and loan amounts.

It is also recommended to verify whether your college will require College Scholarships Service Profile (CSS Profile). The CSS Profile is required for about 400 colleges and goes beyond the questions on the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non-federal institutional aid.

Unsure if your school requires the CSS Profile? Click here for a list of the participating colleges and universities.

Keep in mind, unlike the FAFSA which is FREE; there is a cost for the CSS Profile. It will cost $25.00 for the first college and $16 for each additional college.

Be sure to check the admission or financial aid webpage of each college for their application deadlines because funds may be issued on a first-come-first-served basis.

2.) Never Stop Searching for Grants & Scholarships!

Check with your school counselor or financial aid office for scholarship listings. Many local, national, international businesses and non-profit organizations offer scholarships. The information can be easily found with a quick internet search. To help gather a list of the scholarships that you may be eligible for, check out websites like Fastweb.comCappex.com, read scholarship books, and download the Scholly and Scholarx (for students based in West Africa) from your app store.

Any amount of money that can help offset the cost of college is well worth your time. The key is to remain consistent!

3.) Get a Job!

Contact your school’s career services office to see if there are any available on-campus and off-campus positions. Getting a job is a great way to earn extra cash. It can also help establish a work history and build your resume.

If you plan on living on campus – try applying for a Resident Advisor (RA) position. Depending on your school, this could significantly reduce or eliminate the cost of housing.

Have a talent or skill? Try freelancing on projects! Websites like upwork.comfreelancer.com, and fiverr.com provide platforms to obtain jobs that may be worked on remotely.

 Need help with getting started? Check out this amazing guide by Lewis Parrott on how to get started on Fiverr https://thefreelanceeffect.com/make-money-fiverr

4.) It’s Never Too Early to Look Into Internships & Career Programs

Internships and career programs provide an amazing opportunity to gain on-the-job training and may lead to a possible job prospect upon graduating. And it doesn’t hurt if you can score a position which provides some compensation in the process. Check out the Pathways Program on USA Jobs or with businesses in your area for opportunities.

5.) Use Social Media

Social Media is a powerful tool at your disposal and can be used to discover internships & scholarship opportunities. We at US College Experts (@USCExperts) often post alerts on opportunities as we become aware of them on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Try searching hashtags relating to education such as #scholarship, #fellowship #internship, #college, #financialaid #highered, and #collegebound. Also try following @FAFSA, @scholarshipscom, @ScholAmerica, @Admissions411, @volunteennation, @OpportunityDesk, and @scholarships360 for educational and scholarship information.

Do you have any tips to help with cutting the cost of college? We would love to hear from you.

US College Experts is an educational consulting company entirely dedicated to preparing, inspiring, and connecting students to the best college opportunities.

To learn how US College Experts can help with the college preparation process, email info@uscexperts.com, visit www.uscexperts.com or call 301.744.0456 to schedule your FREE 20 Minute Introductory Call.

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