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Paying for college can be one of the most stressful parts of the college experience.  It’s essential to know all of the options to chip away at a big bill.  Financial Aid Award letters include grants and scholarships (free money with few strings attached), loans (need to be repaid) and earned-aid (usually work-study) – a guaranteed part-time job.  Part-time jobs, either under the work-study program or not, offer valuable opportunities for students to earn money, reduce debt, and gain valuable experience.



Credit is the ability to use debt to purchase goods or services based on the trust that the individual can repay the debt. Lenders such as credit unions and banks evaluate borrowers credit to make student loans, home mortgages and credit cards.



There are many types of bank accounts that students will find useful in the coming years. We’ve already discussed savings plans specifically for college in another article, so this is an overview of some other basic financial accounts. Keep in mind, most of these accounts are Government-insured, meaning the first $250,000 of an individual’s total deposits are protected against a bank/credit union failure through the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) for banks or NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) for credit unions.

Finding a balance between retirement savings and college savings represents a challenge most families need help managing. If you feel overwhelmed, you're not alone. The struggle is real, especially when parents consider whether to withdraw from their retirement savings to pay for college.


Generally, parents should save first for retirement and then for college.