Paying For College

The cost of higher education has steadily shifted from the taxpayer to the student and family. As state funding for student financial aid has dwindled, institutions are raising costs. Below are some ways to assist paying for college, the Debt-Free College Degree and Debt-Free Degree.  Commute or live on campus?


Paying for College


  1. Scholarships (Writing the essay, Award winning Guide)

  2. Grants (part of financial aid award upon FAFSA completion, Parent's Guide to the FAFSA)

  3. Federal student and parent/Graduate student PLUS loans (based on FAFSA eligibility)

  4. Private/Alternative student loanshelpful guide,  without a co-signer, CHESLACredible & Elm Select

  5. Student Accounts Office payment plan options

  6. Personal savings (cash, check, money order, college savings plans, etc.) 

    1. How to withdraw 529 funds
      529 impact on financial aid
      529 Penalties to Avoid, 529 and taxes

    2. Tax-Free Rollover from 529 to Roth IRA in 2024

    3. Grandparent owned 529 now and for 

    4. Recontribute a Refund to a 529

    5. Reporting 529 withdrawals on Federal tax return
      What a 529 plan can pay for (listing)

  7. Employment

  8. Credit/debit card (2.95% fee for credit cards at Southern)

  9. Third party payment

  10. University Waiver

  11. Home equity lines of credit and how they work

  12. Income-share agreements: Read more hereFuture of...


Balancing Work and Learning report, 2018

11 ways to save on College Textbooks article

Read tips, tools and articles from U.S. News and World Report

Why Paying for College May Be Easier Than You Think article

See 2023 report on How America Pays for College and How America Pays for Graduate School