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4 Ways to Finance Your Education Outside Federal Aid

by South University
May 8, 2013

It's no secret that education is a big investment, which is why we provide each of our students with a Student Finance Counselor and encourage students to explore a variety of avenues to create a financial plan and find responsible ways to finance their education.

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What do we mean by responsible? Responsible borrowing entails detailed planning and analysis of your finances and exploring all available payment options to decide what is right for you.

If you choose to take out loans, responsible borrowing means only doing so after looking at alternative options and only borrowing what is necessary. While students sometimes limit their search to federal sources, federal financial aid often means loans and doesn't necessarily cover all of your expenses.

Below are some of the alternative options that we recommend you consider before you turn solely to federal loans.

1. Cash Payments

Establishing a monthly tuition payment plan can greatly reduce the cost of your education. Your contribution doesn’t need to be large, but every bit you pay now is something you won’t have to pay later or pay interest on down the road.

2. Military Financial Aid

If you or a family member has served in the military, you may be eligible for military financial aid, including our school’s military scholarship. We also participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program. Don’t miss out! Visit, or call 1-888-313-7209 to speak with a Military Admissions Representative for more information on these programs.

3. Employer Partnerships

We partner with a number of companies to offer employees incentives for continuing their education—from corporate rates to the waiving of select fees. See our list of partners here. If your employer isn’t listed, you may still qualify for financial assistance through your company.

There are two common types of employer assistance programs. Employer reimbursement programs require you to pay tuition up front. You then provide documentation to your employer stating how much you paid and often also showing that your coursework is relevant to your career. Your employer pays you back for your tuition and expenses. Employer sponsorship programs, conversely, involve your employer paying the school directly for approved coursework. If you aren't sure what educational benefits your employer offers, ask your manager or your human resource representative.

4. Scholarships and Grants

Many organizations (including local, national, private and non-profit groups) offer scholarship opportunities or grants to students who meet specific criteria. Many people think scholarships are reserved only for students with superior grades or athletic ability. However, this is not necessarily the case. For example, many scholarships exist for students pursuing careers in specific industries. Plus scholarship criteria can sometimes be quite idiosyncratic. For example, scholarships exist for left-handed students or students whose last names start with Z! So make a list of everything unique about you and start searching.

Learn More About Financial Planning

If you want to go to school (or you’re already here), don't limit yourself to relying only on federal loans when there are other ways to make school affordable and reduce your future debt.

Request more information today, or talk with your Student Finance Counselor to discuss your financial plan.

Tags: financial planning responsible borrowing

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