The U.S. is a country filled with opportunities. You can study to acquire new skills and apply them in the job market to earn a decent income. Community colleges are also wonderful institutions that offer helpful qualifications to its graduates.
Now, you may have the capacity to enroll in a school, but do you have the finances to pay your tuition fees? Let us help you find some answers and possibly some loans for community college students.
How Much Does Community College Cost?
Community colleges are quite popular in America. 40% of all undergraduates in the U.S. are enrolled in community colleges. These schools are key institutions in the U.S. job market. It offers post-secondary education to those who can’t yet afford university. It also helps students to first test the academic waters. You only have to commit to finishing a 2-year qualification as opposed to a 4-year degree at a university.
So how much does this cost? The average community college charges tuition fees of around $8,000 per year. Compare that with university fees that could go beyond $22,000 and you quickly realize why some students opt for college rather than university. Loans for community college students are also much easier to get since the tuition fees are so much cheaper when compared to university fees. Many DACA student’s loans help to pay tuition fees for community college.
Can You Go to Community College for Free?
Community college students may have cheaper study bills, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Many students still require some help to cover their studying expenses. What can you do about it? Is it even possible to go to a community college for free?
You could look into scholarships or grants. Such opportunities can pay your fees on your behalf. But someone has to pay your tuition fees. It’s technically not free. Speak to the admissions office at your college and ask if they offer any scholarships or grants. You may need to apply and prove your eligibility for the program since many of these types of aid depend on merit or circumstances.
Scholarships and Grants for Community College Students
Here follows a list of some of the possible grants and scholarships available at your local community college. This is not a comprehensive list, so there may be some more options available at your school. It can help you to narrow down your search for student aid as you get ready for college, though. Loans for community college students aren’t your only option, so take time to consider these first.
There are specific groups of people included in the scope of minority grants. Mothers returning to school form part of one of the groups. You’ll need to complete a FAFSA application before you can apply for this grant. Read through their eligibility criteria to see if you are eligible for a minority grant.
Like other grants, you don’t have to repay a Pell grant. It’s not like a loan that requires a strict repayment schedule. But you must prove your need for financial aid if you want to get a Pell Grant. Pell Grants are available to students who study part-time. The aid will also correlate with your studies. A prorated amount of your tuition pays out according to the hours you study (the grant only pays for the classes you have currently). Apply online to get the process going.
Just like DACA car loans, student loans need a repayment. There are different kinds of student loans but a Perkins loan is a good option for a community college student. The interest rates on Perkins loans are very competitive. It will be rather low when compared to other types of loans. Lower interest rates help to keep your monthly repayments cheaper. Complete the FAFSA application for Perkins loans and see if you are eligible for this type of federal student aid.
Stafford loans have some very specific eligibility criteria. It firstly only caters to half-time students who have completed a FAFSA application. But furthermore, any student who requires financial aid could qualify. The level of your financial need does not determine the success of your application. These loans have reasonable interest rates and repayment schedules. Under the right circumstances, you may even have some of your Stafford loans forgiven.
Specific Scholarship Programs
There are all kinds of specific scholarship programs offered to community college students. It may be a second option as opposed to loans for community college students. For instance, the Horatio Alger program offers to help students who suffered and overcame extreme hardship but who still holds an exceptional scholastic record.
The American Indian College Fund offers to help people from the Native American community with student aid. There is even a student aid for students who have won the battle against cancer. Cancer survivors can possibly receive aid from the cancer survivor scholarships. Do some research on specific scholarship programs and see if you qualify for any.
Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for Community College Students
The Federal government also supplies student aid. They supply student loans with competitive interest rates and reasonable repayment schedules. Federally subsidized loans don’t require their beneficiaries to service the interest on their loans while they are studying. Only upon graduation do they start repayment. And even after graduation, you can possibly get a 6-month grace period after which you are only required to start repayment.
Federal unsubsidized loans don’t require students to prove their need. But you are required to service the interest on your loan during your studying years. You can defer the payment of your interest to someone willing to accept the liability (someone like a parent or close relative), but the interest needs to be serviced throughout the loan’s existence.
Private Loans for Community College Students
Some students don’t qualify for the loans and grants mentioned above. Many students in the U.S. come from abroad. They don’t have Social Security Numbers and they are often not eligible for federal student aid. What can you do to finance their studies if you find yourself in a similar situation?
They can consider private loans for community college students. And after a few months of repayment you can always refinance a DACA student loan (for instance) to lower the interest rate.
Here are a few private loans for your consideration.
Stilt (Best for Visa Holders in the U.S.)
Stilt offers personal loans of up to $25,000 at an APR that starts at 7.99%. Even immigrants can be eligible for a loan. You don’t even need a credit score to apply for this loan. You can use a personal loan for whatever you need, even as a loan for a community college student. Stilt even offers student loans to DACA dreamers.
PNC (Best for Good Credit Scores)
PNC is a good option for people with good credit scores. A stronger credit score will help you to qualify for a loan with PNC. They require applicants to have a minimum credit score of 670 and offer loans that start at an APR of 5.15% and ranges to 11.79%. It depends on your credit score and whether you choose a fixed or variable interest rate.
Earnest (Best for Good Credit Scores)
Earnest requires applicants to have a minimum credit score of 650. Their interest rates range from as low as 3.35% and go up all the way to 12.78%. You need to decide whether you want a fixed or variable interest rate when you apply with them.
Community college offers wonderful opportunities for students. It can serve as a bridging course to university degrees, or it could help to supply education to someone who can’t afford university. Either way, it still may cost a pretty penny. Loans for community college students can help to finance the studies of those in need. Apply today and go make your dreams a reality.
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