How to Pay for College?

Almost everyone wants to get a college degree, however, college funding is one big factor to consider whilst you choose a college. The question that should always be at the back of your mind is “how do I pay my college fees”? For the rich kid, this may not be a matter of huge concern, however, for the sake of students and their parents trying to consider the best option they could consider in paying for college, this article has got you covered. We will also consider the options made available by colleges to ease the burden of college fees. 

How to Pay for College?

How to Pay for College?

There are several options to consider when deciding how to pay college fees. You could either pay using your educational fund, savings, grants, scholarships and so much more. Whichever way you choose, there are also some factors you must consider before going ahead with it. Full details and explanations on how to pay for college have been considered below. 

Seven Ways to Pay for College

In this article, we have highlighted seven ways in which you could choose to pay for college. These seven ways have further been divided into two parts; 

  • What you do on your end
  • What the college can do for you

So, depending on what works best for you, you could consider these steps below:

What you do on your end?

Educational fund:

This involves you planning way ahead of time for your college needs. Parents and family members could have a plan already put aside for your education and once you are ready to go into college, these funds would be released to you or be used to pay for all your college needs.


This is very similar to an educational fund but the difference is paying for college with your savings may not necessarily be money that has been put aside for your education. It might just be some of the money you or your parents have been saving up and the college need arises and you take out of it to settle the fees. It could also be a form of savings that you started putting together when you applied to a college school.


This is another considerable but not so popular option to take. It is not popular because taking a loan is usually the last step you might consider when considering how to pay for college. It is just better to consider other options that do not leave you in debt because a loan, as you know, entails taking money from a financial institution to fund the college fees.

What the college can do for you?


To assist students and their families, the college usually gives a grant in conjunction with the government. It is popularly known as financial aid. It involves cutting down the college fee by a certain percentage, depending on what has been agreed upon by the school. So the student or parent ends up paying less than the total amount that is required. This system is most popular with public colleges.


Unlike grants, a scholarship is a fully funded option given by the college. If a student knows they do not have the financial capability to bear the college fund, even after a grant has been given, then the best option is to apply for a scholarship. Scholarships are usually made available by colleges to students who may be interested in taking them up. You can simply check the school of your choice, confirm that they give scholarships, apply and have a free ride for the years of your study.

Work & Study:

You could decide to work to pay up your fees while you study. Doing this would mean you either have to take on a part-time study option. If not, you may have to put in the extra effort to work and meet up with classes and assignments, ensuring your grades are not affected. This way, you can gradually pay your college fees while you study. A time frame for the fees, however, is usually discussed and worked out with the college management.

Pay in installments:

This is one last option you could consider, it is similar to the work & study plan, but the difference here is you would not be working. However, a system would be mapped out for you by the college on how you could pay the college fees in bits. 

Factors to Consider Before Paying for College

Now that we have discussed how you could pay for college, let us look into the factors you should consider before using or choosing any of the ways listed above. Here are five factors to consider: 

The school:

  • Considering the school involves:
    • Considering the price of tuition fees.
    • Considering if the school offers a grant or scholarship, 
    • It would help if you also considered how much percentage they give off on grants, so you can determine what you would be paying.

Your ability to get a scholarship:

It is one thing to find out if the school offers scholarship programmes, it is another to find out the requirements for the scholarship, e.g an exam and if you can apply for and get the scholarship. If you know you might not be to do what it takes to secure the scholarship, you should opt for a different option because if you are completely banking on the scholarship and you do not get it, you will be incapable of paying for college, so you must certify that you have or can give what it takes to get that scholarship before choosing the scholarship option.

Capacity to work and study:

If you are considering the work and study option, then you must ensure you can meet up with either of them, ensuring neither suffers. You need to consider the type of job you will take on, and work out the time structure, so it does not clash with or affect your studies. 

Steady income to meet installment payment or loan:

If you would be paying via installment or taking a loan, then you need to be sure that you have a source of income with which you will use to meet up payments. This does not necessarily involve the student’s schooling and work, this often falls into the laps of parents or guardians responsible for the child’s education.

How Do I Pay for College Books? 

While you are considering how to pay for college, an important question that would occupy your mind also would be, “will my college fee cover the books I need?” This is an essential need to worry about because you will need textbooks throughout your study. Depending on the school of your choice, your course of study and means of payment, sometimes you could cover book expenses while paying for college and at other times, you may need to consider other means. All of these options have been highlighted below: 

Grant & Scholarship:

If you will choose to use the grant or scholarship plan to pay for college, then you should also note that some of these grants and scholarships offer a full ride, payment of books inclusive. So, you need to find one that would cover both your tuition fee and the books you will be needing for college. However, if you cannot find one offering to cover both tuition and books, then you could look into one offering just tuition and also apply for one offering college books scholarships. One such scholarship is the Helping Hands Book Scholarship. 


Similar to what has been pointed out above, if your means of college payment is via a loan, then while taking the loan, you should consider the books you or your child would be needing for college and take out a loan that would cover both tuition and books. Students can also consider other private or federal student loans to pay their fees or cover the cost of books. 


Hard copy material books can be very expensive, so if you are looking for a way to cut down costs on your books, you could consider buying the books online because it is usually cheaper. This is a good way to save on college books but before you do this, ensure you know what works best for you. If the use of e-books would not aid your study habit, then you may want to consider other options. 


Not an e-book fan? Then you could rent the books you need. Find stores or even individuals who are willing to rent their books for a period and reach out to them. I bet this would not cost as much as trying to purchase the books. You could choose to rent all the books you need or you could rent some and use other means listed herein to get the books you need. 

Purchase used books:

How is this different from renting? In this case, the books will be yours to keep. The only thing is they have previously been used by someone else. But what is the big deal in that? If it serves the purpose, then why not? 

Share with someone:

This is a final option to consider. This option is void of any payment at all. You will have to share books all year long with classmates or friends. This is a cheap and feasible option, however, it may be inconvenient, to you and the person involved. It is not very advisable because the time you need the books may clash with when the owner needs them. Regardless, if you can map out a system that works and if this is the only option you have got, then please go for it. It is better to live knowing you tried than you did nothing at all because, at the end of the day, you will have yourself to blame if you do not do well in college.


How to pay for college is indeed a big deal; from tuition to accommodation, to the books you will need, all these are major concerns of every student and parent or guardian. As much as this is a concern to students and parents, it is also a societal problem that governments of states aim to solve. That is why many systems have been put in place to aid parents or guardians and their wards in covering expenses for college. So, depending on your capacity and what works best for you, the options highlighted above are ways you could consider getting this concern settled. 

However, it is encouraged that if you have plans for your kids to attend college, then you should plan ahead of time. Create a savings for it, and consider several college plans or investments because planning is by far the best and most convenient way to pay for college. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I plan when the price for college is not an all-time fixed price? 

Yes, you cannot be sure in the year 2022 how much fees a college would take in the year 2030. So, the best way to do this is to make an investment specifically for your child’s education or college and let the investment keep adding up as the year goes by. If it is a good investment, then the chances that it would not be enough to cover your child’s college needs would be very slim. 

2. How reliable is it that a student would get financial aid, grant or scholarship?

There is no definite way to determine beforehand that your ward would get financial aid or a scholarship. The requirements for scholarships or grants are unique to the college he or she is applying to. All you need to do is check out the school, find out the requirements for previous scholarships and grants, and see how you match up with it. This way, you can start getting yourself prepared for all you might need as regards the grant or scholarship.