Can’t pay for college because of the coronavirus? Here is what you need to do

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Don’t let the COVID-19 pandemic derail your college plans. (iStock)

Normally at this time of year, in the middle of high school graduation season, many seniors look forward to starting college in the fall. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the number of new freshmen who can pay for college.

In one NitroCollege.com survey of more than 6,500 high school students and their parents, 69% of parents and 55% of students said the pandemic had affected their ability to pay for their education. This corresponds to an April Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank survey who found nearly half of high school juniors and seniors (44%) said COVID-19 had an impact on their payment plans for college.

The silver lining? If you’re running out of money for college and planning to start in the fall, there are several ways you can pay for your education expenses without letting the coronavirus derail your plans.

Take out private student loans

Although private student loans are not eligible for CARES law benefits, some experts predict that lenders will offer lower interest rates on private loans to students and families whose finances have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Credible’s Free Online Tool Lets Borrowers Compare Student Loan Rates from multiple lenders in minutes.

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That would be good news for the 58% of college and senior students who said they were now more likely to take out student loans to pay for their education due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their families, the Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank investigation found.

But before you apply for private loans, make sure you know what you’re getting into – private student loans typically have higher interest rates than federal loans, and unlike federal loans, private loans don’t qualify. loan forgiveness or income. refund based. To see what type of rates you are eligible for at the moment via Credible.

Ask your school for additional financial assistance

At this point, you have probably already received a financial aid award letter your college showing the amount for which you qualified in federal grants, scholarships, and student loans to pay tuition and fees. (If you’re not happy with what you’ve received, you may also want to consider taking out a private student loan.)

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Many schools are adjusting financial aid allocations in light of the devastating impact of the coronavirus on the economy. In particular, if your parents were fired or have seen their wages drop, their loss of income may mean you are eligible for additional financial assistance.

The warning ? You may need to submit an official appeal letter to have your financial aid program reassessed, so contact your school’s financial aid office to find out what their appeal process is. Pro Tip: Websites like Edmit and Road2College have free financial aid call letter templates.

In addition, a number of colleges have established relief funds to help students with education expenses. For example, Mississippi State University announced He will use the $ 8.9 million he receives from the Federal Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) to directly help eligible students facing financial problems as a result of the COVID pandemic. 19.

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Apply for more scholarships and grants

Each year, the US Department of Education and colleges and universities across the country award $ 46 billion in scholarships and grants, Debt.org reported. We’re talking about free financial aid – money you don’t have to pay back when you graduate. To see which scholarships and grants are still up for grabs, check out CollegeScholarships.orgsearch engine, where you can filter by date. (At the time of going to press, over 250 awards were still available.) If you want to know more, you should contact a financial advisor.

Reconsider where you go to college

Traditionally, students going to university must accept offers of admission before May 1. However, many universities have extended their deadline June 1 or later. AcceptGroup.org has compiled a list of colleges that have pushed back the filing deadlines, and the list is updated daily.

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If your future school has extended its acceptance deadline, it gives you the opportunity to reconsider where you want to go to college. Depending on your financial situation, it may be a good idea to choose a cheaper school or a school closer to you so that you can live with your parents and save money on housing. (According to NitroCollege.com survey, 29 percent of respondents said they were considering going to a college closer to their home). Community college can also be a good option if you don’t have the money for a four-year school.

Do you have a waiting list for the school of your dreams? College experts predict that more students on the waiting list will receive offers of admission this year, as universities find ways to fill first-year classes.

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