What to Do If You Can’t Afford to Finish College

Unfortunately, students who have trouble paying for a college education may not be able to finish their course of study. However, there is help available.

In tough economic times, more and more students are left to pay for college without assistance from family members or scholarship funds. Student loans also become harder to obtain, especially for those students without a cosigner or those with little to no credit.

However, just because a student does not have enough money to finish college does not mean it is time to drop out. There are several ways in which students can receive more aid, either in scholarships or student loans, to help cover the remaining cost of college.

Modify Federal Student Loans

For those who are receiving federal Stafford Loans from the United States Department of Education, it is possible to modify the terms of of a student’s loan in order to increase the amount of money borrowed for educational expenses.

In order to do so, it is best to visit the institution’s financial aid office at the end of the term prior to the one that the student needs extra aid. From there, a financial aid counselor can cancel the upcoming disbursement on a Stafford Loan and work with the government to see how much additional money that the student can borrow under the existing promissory note.

In addition, those who are receiving subsidized Stafford Loans can also apply for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan if they have maxed out the amount they can borrow under the subsidized program for the year. Unsubsidized Stafford loans do collect interest while the student is still enrolled in school and during the six month grace period after graduation, so students should be advised before borrowing a large sum of money through this program.

Revise Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Financial Aid Reward

If a change in a student’s or parents’ monetary assests and income cause them to have a new adjusted gross income on IRS tax forms, it is possible to revise a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have the new information resubmitted to the student’s school. However, each state has individual deadlines for revising a FAFSA form, most of which occur in September or October for the school year currently in session.

It is also possible to work with a student’s financial aid counselor to modify a financial aid award, especially in the event of a death of an immediate family member or job loss. Some schools also have emergency funds to make low interest loans to students who are experiencing sudden financial hardships.

Federal Work Study

For qualifying students, Federal Work Study positions allow students to work on campus for a specified number of hours per week in order to earn money intended to pay educational expenses.

Most of these jobs fill up quickly at the beginning of the semester, so it is important to check with financial aid, human resources, or student employment offices to make sure there are opportunities available.

Students who find that they are unable to finish paying for college should not immediately assume that they have to drop out of college. There are many resources available for those who need additional financial assistance at any point during a student’s college career.

Editorial Staff

Noah is a PhD student in modern European history who loves to find time for travel, learning new languages, and exploring the food in her New York City neighborhood.

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