How did you pay for your college degree? It may seem strange but there are actually a number of different methods that you can use to pay those tuition and book payments and different families throughout the country do it slightly differently. Personally, I had to take out student loans myself. I had some scholarships that helped in my first few years and I did get some government assistance during other years. I also had some money saved up. The largest portion of my payment however, came from student loans which I had to take out in my name. If you're considering the ways that American families pay for college then check out these.


Borrowing Money

There are two different ways that American families borrow money to help their children attend school. Some families will have the student take out the loan so it’s in their name and they reap both the rewards and the negatives of that loan. Other families may take out the loan in their own name to help their child rather. There are a few good things about parents taking out loans versus their children.

  1. Parents typically can get lower interest rates.
  2. Parents can get a loan through other channels that are not ‘student loans.’
  3. Parents may help you pay back the loan if they get it in their own name.


All of these things will help you out in the long run and make it much easier to pay off school. But of course some parents feel it’s not their responsibility to get a loan for their student because, after all, what if you don’t pay it back? Now they’re stuck with that black mark on their credit history and that’s not so good. Which is something to keep in mind for yourself as well. Not paying your student loan very negatively affects your credit score.


Monetary Gifts

Another method of paying for at least a portion of your schooling is through gifts. Many students with have a graduation party when they finish high school and will get money from friends and family who want to help them succeed. It’s definitely easy to simply blow this money on the things that you want right now like a new game system or even a car but it’s important to consider the cost of your coming college education. If you don’t save that money you’re going to have to find money somewhere else to use for college.



If you’re going to use scholarships to pay for your college education then you’re going to need to get started real soon. You’ll need to be open to filling out a ton of applications, writing a whole score of essays and more to have the potential of getting one or more scholarships. Some are based on your extracurricular activities and others are going to be based on your documented school abilities such as grades. Keep this in mind especially during your Junior year (that’s when it all counts the most).


Income and Savings

It’s possible that your parents have created a nice little savings account for you for when you go away to college. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s parents have been saving for years so you can go to a good university then that’s awesome. You’ll be a little further along on your ‘paying for college plan’ than a lot of your friends are going to be. You’re also going to have a little bit of an edge because your parents might continue to add a portion of their income to that savings account even while you’re in college so they can help take some of the pressure off.


What most of us have to do is save for our own college education. This means that a large portion of your income and your savings is going to go towards paying for college classes, tuition, books, etc. If you’re not saving a portion of your paycheck every week (or every two weeks depending on when you get paid) then you definitely should start doing it right away. You don’t want to enroll in classes and not be able to finish because you ran out of money halfway through.


Government Assistance

For a lot of students who don’t make a lot of money there’s an option for using government assistance to help pay for your classes. This doesn’t mean you have to be on any kind of welfare program. Actually, a large portion of the country will qualify for some type of government aid. This is the best kind of money because you don’t have to pay it back. All you have to do is sign up and fill out your financial information. Once you do the government will look over it and decide whether you need more help to be able to pay for your classes and in most cases they’ll decide that you do. Here's some more information about the process.


For me the total to pay off my schooling came from a combination of different sources. I got some government assistance and a couple small scholarships (academic ones) for my first few years. I then got a student loan to pay for the last year (yes I only needed a loan for my very last year and only for part of it). I actually had some money that was given to me as gifts during my graduation party which helped some too and of course I worked really hard to make more money while I was going to school. I really didn’t want to have those student loans but sometimes there’s just no real way around it. I was lucky that my loans ended up being pretty small in the end.


If you’re not sure how you’re going to pay for college look at all these different options. You’ll be surprised what’s out there and who will be willing to help you. The number one way to start is with the FAFSA which will help you see if you qualify for free money to pay for your degree. Start there and then see what’s available. Check also for information about student loans right here.