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There is a lot of debate among the presidential candidates surrounding the topic of free college and tuition. Should public and/or private colleges be free? If so, should it be free for everyone or just people within a certain income bracket? There most likely won’t be an answer to this question even after the election is over, so the question that still needs to be answered for thousands and thousands of students is “how do I pay for college?”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), for the 2016-17 school year, undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board were estimated to be $17,237 for public college, and $44,551 for private, nonprofit colleges. Being able to afford what is equivalent to a new car, or several new cars, each year for an education is outstanding and for many students, is just simply out of reach.

At Pathways College, our affordable online college is passionate about providing everyone an opportunity to get the education they need to succeed in their future life goals. Whether you’re looking to become an accountant, a business owner, or a teacher, we have hundreds of courses, exceptional professors, and most importantly, the right price. If you want to go to college, but can’t seem to afford a traditional school, we invite you to learn more about Pathways College and see where our programs could take you.

Tips For Paying For College

Fill Out the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the start of the process for being granted financial aid to go to school. The FAFSA could earn you federal grants, work-study opportunities, and some state and school-based aid. Not everyone qualifies for aid, but you won’t know for sure until you fill out the application. Keep in mind that this money will need to be paid back upon completion of your degree.


It’s understandable if you don’t love the idea of being tied down to repaying student loans for the next decade, so searching and applying for scholarships is a great alternative. The sooner you start searching for scholarships the better, as many of them have certain qualifications that require students to get a certain grade point average or participate in certain activities. There are thousands of scholarships available, so you can search by state, by intended major, for athletic scholarships, or merit-based scholarships. There are nearly endless possibilities, it just takes some time, thought, and effort.

Choose the Right School

Nearly all schools offer different tuition costs, room, board, fees, and more. A traditional four-year school may sound appealing, but keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with attending a technical school, community college, or online college, especially if you’re unsure about what you want to do for a career. When researching various college options, be sure to look closely at their accreditations, student reviews, the experience and qualifications of their teachers, the graduation rate, and other factors. If you choose a school that is more affordable, you still want to be sure that you will get the education you need for a successful career.

Look at Grants

A grant is free money that you don’t need to pay back, but you still need to find one and qualify for it. One of the more popular grants is the federal Pell Grant. Pell Grant money is awarded based on financial need, the cost of attendance at your desired school, and several other factors. To apply for a Pell Grant, you need to fill out the FAFSA each year that you attend college. The amount awarded can vary each year. There are dozens of other grants available, so spend some time researching and see what you may qualify for.

Get a Work-Study Job

Not a typical job, this program also requires you to fill out the FAFSA and then find a job on campus that qualifies. The federal program helps students who need financial aid earn money for college. Students with work-study jobs must work enough hours in order to qualify for the program and earn money.

Apply For a Federal Loan

It’s not an ideal situation, but federal loans will allow you to get your education and in some cases, there are loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans. Private loans don’t offer these benefits, so only use private loans as a last resort. Repaying federal loans are subject to interest as well.

If you have always dreamed of going to college, but finances are getting in the way, don’t get discouraged just yet. There are plenty of ways to pay for college that won’t chain you to debt for years after you’ve graduated.

When it comes down to it, choosing an affordable online college is a great way to ensure that you’re not stuck with debt. Pathways College strives to create an environment where students can get a high-quality education at an affordable price. We offer a range of programs and our staff are always there to support and guide students throughout their education journey. Learn more about our affordable online college programs and get started today.