Paying for College Without Debt (Apply & Research Options)

If you haven’t read Part 1 of Paying for College Without Debt, go do that before moving forward in reading this post

Once you have narrowed down which path is best for you it is time to apply and look into funding options for your career path.

college students in a classroom

Federal, State, and Community Funding

You will want to start first with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). In this application, you will calculate your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), a primary driver for what you qualify for.

Some of the aid you may be eligible for include:

Some schools, particularly private schools, may ask for a CSS Profile to be filled out. This is a much more comprehensive deep dive into your financials, which for many individuals can feel intrusive but it is used to identify students for who the school might be able to offer extra financial assistance.

You may also be eligible for tax credits as a result of being a student. There are two types of tax credits you could qualify for:

  •  AOTC (American Opportunity Tax Credit) – This reduces the taxes you have to pay. You can receive this as a tax return.
  • LLC (Lifetime Learning Credit) – Your taxes can be reduced but this cannot be given back to you in the form of a tax return.
state flags

State Funding

Each state has its own rules on residency and the cost differences and funding options. 

Oregon Residence

Washington Residence

There is also something called a 529 Plan that will allow you to save up for college expenses. This is a way to save up for college but you will need to see which plan is best in your state and for your situation. Here is an excellent resource to learn more.
nurse holding stethoscope in heart shape
Community Funding

Local Organizations offer scholarships and grants for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few:

Professional Associations also offer scholarships to those in their field. Here are just a few types:
You can also find a list of scholarships ranging from STEM to Art, Agriculture, or Engineering focuses on Study.com.
woman walking by college building

Next post we will talk about creative ways to pay for school in Part 3 and Part 4 of this series.