Financial Aid Basics
Congratulations on making the wise decision to attend college. This is the first step in making better decisions for yourself, your family, and your future.
This first question is difficult to answer. The cost varies widely depending on whether the college is a two-year public community college, four-year public college or university, or a four-year private institution. Consider these 2009 average college costs from The College Board:
*The costs listed above for two-year and four-year public colleges are for in-state students.
State (public) colleges and universities get the money they need to operate from tuition and from taxes paid by state residents. So, students within that state pay a lower cost. Because out-of-state students haven’t been paying tax dollars into that state, they are charged more through tuition.
These colleges also may have a lower price tag to entice graduates to stay in that state. College graduates are more likely to have good jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the state’s economy.
Whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition isn’t always set in stone. Consider these facts:
Financial Aid Basics
Federal vs State Programs?
What is the Cost of Attendance?
FATV is a free online resource to help answer your financial aid questions through brief videos. This may be especially helpful if you’re entering a mainstream school with federal and private loan options. Knowledge is power!
The transition from high school to college is not an easy one. Whether you are staying close to home at a Tribal College or heading across the country to attend a mainstream university, there will be many hard moments throughout the transition period.
The beauty of college can also be its curse- you’re largely in control of your own time now! You decide when to complete assignments, how much to procrastinate, and how to arrange your social life around academics and work. This is harder than it sounds! Explore our tips and advice on our time management page.
Perhaps you’ve been in control of your own finances for a while or perhaps this is the first time, but nonetheless- budgeting and money management have never been more important. Explore our Common Cents page to learn the heads and tales of financial literacy.
In the world of deadlines and papers and classes, it can be hard to make time for yourself. However, holistic care during this time is extremely important. Keep tabs on your well-being mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Here are just a few tips for keeping yourself healthy:
Mentorship can be especially beneficial as you make important decisions about your future. Make time to cultivate relationships with professors, upper classmen and it’s not too early to join professional organizations.
The College Fund is beginning a mentorship program as well; if you’re interested in finding or being a mentor, email us at email@example.com for more information.
Whether you decide to go to college far or near to your community or whether you decide to join the local workforce or not, big changes are coming soon and it’s important to give back to those who have brought you this far. It could be an organization, a spiritual group, a family member, or anything else that has assisted you. It shows gratitude and respect to give back in whatever way you are able so remember to do it as often as you can. See more discussion and ideas on giving back here.
To learn which classes you need to complete your choice of study, be sure to have regular meetings with your academic advisor. This will help mitigate common errors of taking too many electives, not enough, or missing a core class that is offered irregularly.
Your GPA is also an important consideration as your academic journey progresses. Using online tools, you can track your GPA by using one of the following calculators:
Extracurricular activities, summer jobs, internships, externships, and even work-study jobs can help propel you into your chosen field. Explore our Career Center for professional development tips about building a resume and cover letter to get started.