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How to Pay for College: The 5 Best Ways to Pay for Your Degree

By: The Art Institutes

October 23, 2017

How to Pay for College: The 5 Best Ways to Pay for Your Degree
A college education can go a long way in preparing you with the skills and knowledge required for starting a new career or for continuing on to the next stage of your professional journey. Of course, college is an investment, and, before you commit to going back to school, you’ll need to create a plan for how to pay for college. When planning, don’t restrict yourself to considering only one source—instead, you’ll likely utilize several sources to finance your education. While everyone’s plan for how to pay for college varies slightly, below are some of the best ways to pay for your degree.

1. Get tuition assistance from an employer.
If you’re currently employed, check with your manager or the HR department to see whether your employer offers tuition assistance benefits and, if so, whether you might qualify. Employers who offer tuition assistance programs may pay for or reimburse a portion of your college education. Be sure you understand the program requirements around course eligibility and GPA requirements before relying on this source of funding as your answer for how to pay for college.

2. Find scholarships.
Scholarships are undoubtedly one of the best ways to pay for college, so take the time to scour the internet for local, state, and national scholarships. Nonprofit and community organizations are often a great place to start. Industry organizations as well as businesses in the field in which you’ll studying may also offer scholarships. Finally, many colleges offer institutional scholarships or grants for their students. Wherever you find relevant scholarships, don’t hesitate to apply; the more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances of receiving some outside aid.

3. Use transfer of credit.
Transfer of credit* may allow you to reduce the total time and expense of completing your degree. Essentially, if you’ve completed college courses in the past, be sure to tell the school when you apply! Even if you don’t already have college credit, you may be able to lower the cost of your education with the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). CLEP can help you to earn credit for what you’ve learned throughout your prior life and work experience; this credit may then be applied toward general education credits in a degree program. Before taking a CLEP exam, contact a school representative to see whether CLEP could help you.

4. Plan to make regular payments toward your degree.
Making monthly or quarterly payments toward your education will decrease the money you pay in the future. By making regular, small payments, you can reduce the total amount of loans you have to take out, resulting in smaller loan interest payments in the future. To help fit such payments into your budget, look for ways to reduce other monthly expenses; small changes like dining in or taking public transportation rather than paying for parking can add up over time. Taking online classes can also allow you to continue working full- or part-time, so that you can keep earning income while also earning a degree. 

5. Apply for federal and state aid. 

For a vast number of students, federal and state aid is still a part of how to pay for school. While you should always make smart, informed choices about the amount of loans you borrow, federal and state financial aid can be a valuable resource that help you to pursue your goals. Financial aid can include grants as well as loans, and, to qualify, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year you attend college. 

More Information on How to Pay for College 
For more on how to pay for college when you attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, you can read about how we manage costs and put education within reach on our website or check out our Financial Aid brochure.


*Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The Art Institutes offers no guarantee that credit earned at another institution will be accepted into a program of study offered by The Art Institutes.

By: The Art Institutes

October 23, 2017

financial aid