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College tuition fees rise every year.  This makes it hard for cash-stripped students and families to afford college costs and other expenses. People are becoming ever more aware of the value of a college degree. So, more and more are seeking ways to finance a college education.

According to a report, the 2014-2015 average tuition rise was 2.5 percent at public universities.  This figure stands at 3.7 percent at private colleges. The historical ten-year rate of increase is around 5 percent. However, these figures are significantly higher than the general rate of inflation. They are also quite high compared to the average rise in individual incomes.

Even if you’re cash-strapped to pay for tuition at this point, the education you’ve been hoping to achieve is within reach.  You will need to do some pragmatic financial planning to finance your college education. Here are some tips to help you out:

Look for scholarships and financial education

Plenty of colleges offer discounts to students who have excelled in academics during school years. Some institutions  offer financial aid to any student who gets admitted into their course program. However, both scholarship and financial aid are difficult to come by and quite competitive, so you’ll need good grade record and excellent performance in school to be one of the exceptions.

Another thing to remember is to apply early. Some colleges award aid money on first-come, first-serve basis, until the allotted funds are depleted. Also, students who haven’t applied for aid while getting admission are not allowed to apply for financial aid for subsequent years. Therefore, you’ll need to act as soon as possible.

Explore student loan options

mb-2015-02-capgownIn many cases, student loans become the primary source of funding. From the nearly 20 million individuals that go to college in the US, 60 percent borrow money to help pay the expenses, according to a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education. With so many people borrowing money, you might think that students are well aware of the wide variety of available options and what to expect when it comes to repayment, but this isn’t the case in reality. A remarkable number of students remain confused about their options.

You might look at Federal loans as a first borrowing option. This is standard for many.  However,  private loans come into play in many instances.  This includes instances where federal loans fail to cover the full financial need of a student. While having a credit worthy consigner can help any student get a private loan, The Project on Student Debt’s research informs that private loan rates vary depending on the school attended by the student.

See if you can get national grants

Receiving a national grant can also pay for your entire college tuition. Identify and engage with appropriate individuals who will help you in making a grant proposal.  This includes teachers, collaborators, mentors, and the like . Make sure that you request support and reference letters well in advance.

You need to have your grant proposal verified and proofread before you submit it.  This will ensure that it's within guidelines and that there are no errors. You will avert any chances of disqualification. Teachers can help students to make their proposal error-free.  Students are encouraged to learn all aspects of the process to maximize chances of successful approval.