Paying for College With Family Support

Perhaps one of the most common ways of paying for college, using family support is the only way that many students see to finance their expensive college programs.

In some areas, it is mandatory for the family to contribute as much as they can to the student's education before they are eligible to receive financial aid. For low-income families, this may not be feasible, but if you are fortunate enough to have parents who have saved for your education since your birth or an upper-class family, you may be able to rely on the contributions of your loved ones to help put you through college.

The advantages of family support depend on the individual families. If you are close with your family, you may be able to rely on their support for the entire duration of your degree, rather than worrying about how to finance each individual semester or course. Perhaps your family will pay for the entire education, or cover your residence and living expenses, or just cover tuition. Any support that you can get will help put a dent in the considerable expenses associated with college.

There are disadvantages to receiving family support to pay for college, however. If your family support is attached to any conditions, you may lose it if you breach these conditions, and some families have strict expectations of college-bound young adults. You may find yourself limited in your education options, hobbies, or living circumstances just when you are trying to assert your independence and experience life on your own.

Thus, if you want to successfully receive family financial aid to pay for tuition, you have to make sure a few things are clear upfront. There must be clear conditions and terms for what exactly your family agrees to pay for, when they will give you the money, how they will pay (directly to the college or to you), and whether there are any strings attached. If your family expects you to never party and get straight As and will stop funding you if you break either condition, you need to know about this in advance of finding out suddenly and scrambling to pay tuition on your own!

A trap to avoid when seeking family help to pay for college is allowing them to dictate the direction your life will take. If the money to pay for a degree depends on which degree you decide to pursue, consider carefully whether it's worth it. What happens if you get a few years into the degree and become unmotivated or resentful? What about if you discover a better degree that you truly love, but you can't switch programs due to your family support? You might prefer to pay for your own degree or try to negotiate these terms with your family before accepting financial aid.

Many students successfully complete college with the help of their family. If you are in a position to get aid from family members, consider the benefits and disadvantages of doing so and your financial worries could be eased!

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