Heading to college this fall? Here’s a few ways to get a jump on those college costs—and still have a great summer!
If you are planning to attend college in the fall, you have likely received your financial aid award letter and may have already made a final decision on where to attend. Now is a good time to start thinking about college expenses and how to pay for those not covered by the financial aid you’ve been offered. If you are going to be living on campus, consider expenses beyond tuition, fees and books—expenses such as rent and utilities (if you aren’t in a dorm), food, notebooks, clothes and other items to start coming up with a realistic idea of costs.
Now consider how you will pay for everything. A student loan might be part of your financial aid package and could be a worthwhile investment, but taking on a student loan, or adding another loan to what you already have, should be your last option, not your first! Recognize that whatever you take out, you are going to have to pay back—with interest—so never borrow more than you need for your education. Learn about student loans and how to budget with the SALT™ Money tool available through the ISAC Student Portal.
Here are some other options to explore to cover expenses:
Take a look at your college’s website to see if there are institutional scholarships for which you might be eligible. Your college might not automatically consider you for these scholarships; you might have to apply for them. And check out College Greenlight™ on the ISAC Student Portal, which allows you to search through a huge database of billions of dollars in local and national scholarships to find the ones for which you might be eligible.
A job can also help you to cover costs. Your financial aid award letter will have indicated whether you are eligible to get a campus job through federal work study. If not, there are usually campus job boards to assist you in finding non-work study positions on or off campus. And you can jumpstart your savings for fall with a job this summer. Check out the new Internship/Summer Job Board on the ISAC Student Portal, where you will find over 3000 job listings throughout Illinois that are updated daily.
Need some one-on-one help? The ISACorps is always on hand to answer your college and financial aid questions. Enjoy your summer and get a jump on fall!