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Five ways to help make college more affordable

Applying for college can be a bit stressful for some students, especially when they start wondering about the cost.  Fortunately, there are ways that can help relieve some of that out-of-pocket cost.

Salt Lake Community College Dean of School of Arts, Communication & Media Richard Scott shares how to financially prepare for college.

Here are some tips he share with us:

Financial aid

  • You might consider applying for one or more of many different scholarship opportunities. Check with your school`s financial aid office to find out which scholarships are worth more and what their requirements are to maintain eligibility.
  • You might also consider applying for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which could put you in line to receive a Federal Pell Grant. The average aid award for public school awardees was more than $5,000 last year.
  • 50% of SLCC students receive some form of financial aid.

Apply for Private Scholarships

  • There are thousands of scholarships from companies, nonprofits and community groups.

Online resources

  • Websites like College Data, The College Board and the U.S. Department of Education`s Federal Student Aid page help you financially plan for college. These and other sites can help you with creating a budget, balancing jobs and school, applying for aid, loans and scholarships and researching affordable institutions.

Tuition assistance programs

  • You can find tuition assistance through employers that realize, by helping their employees pay for college, they benefit when workers improve their skills and education, which often adds to their income and company loyalty.
  • Four- and two-year institutions are increasingly offering tuition assistance programs, such as SLCC Promise at Salt Lake Community College, guided by the belief that everyone, regardless of income level, deserves affordable access to a higher education.

Savings

  • If you`re a parent, consider researching college savings options that include tax-free 529 savings plans, prepaid tuition plans and individual retirement accounts. A good option for Utahans is the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which you can learn more about at uesp.org. Other savings options include tax breaks like the American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning credits and the student loan interest deduction.
  • If your child is a freshman in high school now, it will cost about $8,716 to attend four semesters at SLCC four years from now. You`d have to save about $2,179 per year or about $84 per paycheck.
  • It will cost about $9,876 to send your sixth grader to SLCC for two years, which means saving $1,411 per year or about $54 per paycheck.
  • If you have a kindergartener, it will cost about $12,682 to send that person to SLCC, meaning you have to save about $975 per year or $38 per pay period.
  • And if you just had a baby, in 18 years an education at SLCC will cost about $15,620, which by saving $868 per year until then means you only need to save about $33 per paycheck.

To learn more about enrollment at Salt Lake Community College, visit slcc.edu.