Is Paying For College Worth It?

girl in graduation cap and gown

Paying for college is not easy or just about everyone would go. Perhaps you qualify for student aid. Perhaps you have saved money. Unfortunately, in most cases, that savings account and that aid won't be enough to pay for college. Most college students have to combine savings and student aid with scholarships and loans to be able to pay for college. Fortunately, there are some fair college loans available and there are many different scholarships out there for students with different skills and interests.

Is College Worth It?

Before you start the process of paying for college, you should ensure that getting a college loan is worth going through the process and the expense. According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, a person with a bachelor's degree will earn $2.7 million dollars more in their lifetime than a singular high school graduate. For most people, $2.7 million is good enough reason to find a way to pay for college.

A person with a bachelor's degree will earn $2.7 million more than a high school graduate.

Scholarships

Many students hope to pay for college with scholarships; however, not every student can hit a three-point jump shot or earn a super high SAT or ACT score. Fortunately, there are many scholarships available that are more obscure than sports or academic scholarships. Examples of these unusual scholarships include:

  • Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship: $2,500 for students who have contributed to animal protection
  • Annual Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship: $10,000 for someone who creates a winning original greeting card
  • American Fire Sprinkler Association: $20,000 for a student who writes the winning essay about fire sprinklers
  • Wear Duck Tape to Prom Scholarship: $5,000 for a student who makes the best Duck Tape prom suit or dress
  • Jif Most Creative Sandwich Contest: $25,000 and a Jif peanut butter basket worth $50 for the most creative sandwich

Discover many more scholarships!

Student Loans

When you search for student loans to pay for college, a general rule of thumb is that banks charge a higher interest rate for loans and pay lower interest on savings, and credit unions have lower interest pay-back rates and pay more for money saved. This is an important consideration when borrowing and paying back a student loan.

Credit unions, such as BMI Federal Credit Union, can assist by giving a fair loan and by helping borrowers fill out the necessary paperwork. There are few limiting factors when borrowing from BMI FCU. The borrower must be a primary account holder in the credit union and most students who have just finished high school will often be well-served by a co-borrower. A co-borrower does not have to be a member of the credit union as long as the borrower is. He or she will often help the borrower receive a lower rate of interest and will make a loan easier to get because he or she has more collateral and is more financially established.

Learn more about financing college.

The cheapest student loans are through the federal government for those who qualify.  The Federal Student Aid loan program, called FAFSA is an important loan program in that some other loans, scholarships, and grants require the FAFSA be completed before a student will be considered for other financial opportunities.  Part of the FAFSA program is based on need, savings, and family finances. It is important to fill FAFSA forms out early in the process as this money can dry up. Students who get these low interest student loans will have to begin paying them back once they get hired or six months after they graduate or stop attending college.

Workshops and Seminars

BMI Federal Credit Union offers free workshops and seminars which provide access to financial consultants to credit union members and the community. These seminars do more than offer advice about getting a student loan--they also help people learn how to budget, manage debt, and make a major life purchase such as a house. Join us soon for one of our Paying for College seminars. We hope to see you there!