Planning how you are going to pay for college can be stressful, especially when your financial aid package doesn’t cover all your education costs, leaving a financial gap. This gap occurs when your college’s total Cost of Attendance exceeds the amount of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and financial aid. Here are a few options that may help bridge the gap:
- Meet with the financial aid office. You can set up a meeting with the college’s financial aid office to explore more available options, especially if your family’s financial circumstances have changed or if there was an error in the information you submitted.
- Look for scholarships. Use an online scholarship database like Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) to search for available local and national scholarships. You can also check around the community or with your employer and your parents’ employers for more scholarship opportunities.
- Get a part-time job. Check if work-study is available, even if it wasn’t listed in your financial aid package. On- or off-campus employment opportunities can help pay for tuition and give you valuable professional experience.
- Apply for additional funding. If grants, scholarships, and low-cost federal loan options don’t cover your college expenses, see if other government financing options or private student loans may help. See page 10 of the Financial Aid Journey Guide for more details.
- Reduce your costs. Brainstorm ways you could save money. Is living at home or with relatives a possibility? Can you complete your degree in less time? What about beginning at a community college and transferring to your dream school later on?