How to Pay for College – Top 5 Tips

You have done the hard part… your high school career is coming to an end. You have applied and been accepted to the college of your dreams! CONGRATULATIONS! Now… how do you pay for the dream education? This is where your credit union comes in to help! As we enter college prep season, check out our top 5 tips for how to pay for your college education.

Scholarship Opportunities:

There are many scholarship opportunities out there for high school graduates as well as students continuing through their college career. Many high school guidance offices have lists of local scholarship opportunities for students. You can find scholarships using the Federal Student Aid Scholarship Search engine found at And of course, as a member of Blue Chip FCU, you already qualify to apply for our Educational Scholarship. Every year, Blue Chip FCU, will award three $1,000 scholarships. The yearly application deadline is May 31st.

Free Federal Financial Aid:

Every student has the opportunity to apply for federal grants (FREE money) and loans through the Federal Government. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be filled out to qualify for these grants and loans. Visit for complete application details. You can also get information from your school guidance counselor as well as college financial aid officer.

Student Loans:

AFTER you have exhausted all free options, you can look at student loans to cover the remaining balance of your tuition. There are different student loan programs you can choose from with many offering a “deferred payment” option. This means that you will not have to begin repaying your loans until 6 months after your education has ended. Be sure to turn to your trusted financial institution first when looking at student loan options. At Blue Chip FCU, we are very excited to have partnered with Sallie Mae to offer our members 100% tuition coverage with 3 repayment choices available to fit your needs. BCFCU Student Loans will be available in June of 2018.

“Make a Deal” with Financial Aid:

Did you know you can “haggle” or make your case for the college of your choice to offer you a better financial aid award? Just like you did on your college application, make your case for why a school should offer you a better financial aid package to have YOU join their ranks (especially if you have a special athletic, academic or artistic talent). Show them the aid you are receiving from a comparable school. In addition, be sure the financial aid office is aware of any major financial changes that may have occurred after you submitted your financial information. This can change your financial status.

Consider Your Financial Situation BEFORE committing to a school:

The average cost of a private 4 – Year College is over $32,000… PER YEAR. Be sure to consider all of your options before committing to repaying that large amount of money. You may want to look at a community college in your area to complete the first 2 years of credits. Last year, the average cost of community college tuition was $3,500. Many community colleges have partnerships with 4-year colleges where all of your credits will transfer. Check out your local community college for more information.