Paying for College

Getting a college education is a worthy goal.  A 2011 Pew Research Center analysis using Census Bureau data estimates that the typical adult with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1.42 million over a 40-year career as compared with $770,000 for a typical high school graduate.  That’s almost double the earnings for a worker with a bachelor’s degree.  But with one estimate that average tuition rates raise at roughly twice the annual rate of inflation, how do you plan to pay for that degree?  Check out the following tools and resources from Massachusetts and beyond on how to finance that degree: 

 

Massachusetts

American Student Assistance(ASA)

If you’re going to college or are a recent graduate, this Boston based non-profit organization is a great resource for getting answers about your student loans.

Massachusetts Colleges Online

Before you start looking for online colleges, check out Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) for information on online degrees and programs of 15 community colleges and 9 state colleges in Massachusetts.

For-Profit Schools

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office provides information on for-profit schools, including common facts and statistics, deceptive tactics to be aware of and to avoid, and a checklist of questions to ask and be answered before you enroll in any for-profit school.

“Planning for College: A Consumer Approach to the Higher Education Marketplace", Mass INC

The place of college in the lives of current and future generations of American families has fundamentally changed. Once the privilege of a few, college is now a virtual prerequisite for joining and remaining in the ranks of the middle class. This economic reality means more students continue their education beyond high school each year. Ironically, concurrent with this trend of increased college attendance, the cost of higher education has become more difficult for Americans of all backgrounds to mange. Aside from a home purchase, a college degree is now the most significant investment many families make.

Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority (MEFA)

Quasi-public state agency provides workshops, on-line information, and favorable loan products. Check out MEFA's YouTube Channel with videos on the basics of Saving For College.

However if you are more interested in seeing MEFA professional present in a city near you, their website's search engine will give you listings of where and when they will.

National

Federal vs. Private Student Loans

Are you looking for loans to pay for college? Are you unsure of which ones are Federal and which are private? This guide, done by the Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, clearly outlines what those differences are. Before you begin applying for loans, make sure you educate yourself on the different types available.

CollegeGrants.org

Here is a great source for information on budgeting and financing for college. It includes calculators to what types of scholarships are available to you.

Consumer Website on Financial Aid Options, FinAid.org

Compare rates, understand products, get instructions for forms, use calculators and more.

Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan (PDF)

If you currently have student loans you may qualify for the new federal government Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program, a new payment option for federal student loans that can help you keep your loan payments affordable with payment caps based on your income and family size.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PDF)

You may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your federal student loans after 10 years of full-time employment at a public service or non-profit agency.

Saving For College

Find out information about college savings here. This site provides college cost calculators, 529 planning information, and important financial aid information.

The Debt Free Degree

General guide offering students ways to earn a degree with zero or limited debt. 

College Savings Options

General guide providing information on different college savings plans including 529 plans to help in your decision making process.

Online vs. Traditional: What to Expect from an Online Bachelor's Degree Program 

A comprehensive guide is aimed at answering some of the most common questions about earning an undergraduate degree.

Understanding the FAFSA

Guide providing tips on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid annually. 

Everyday Tips

Student Budget Calculator

Budget calculator to help analyze a budget as a full-time student

Saving on College Textbooks

Tips on how to save money on textbooks

Smart College Student Finances

How to Budget, Save and Spend Wisely in School

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