How to pay for schooling in a few easy steps.

September 09, 2014
Although school is already in session, many students and prospective students are wondering how they’re going to pay for their years of schooling. Remember, your education is important; don’t let financial worries keep you from achieving your goals. Speak to an ORNL FCU employee, and consider these simple steps for financing school.  ornlfcu-blog-piggy-bank-grad

Plan your budget.

With any major expense, having a budget is a good idea. You’ll know exactly how much you have, and will need to have, in order to pay for school. Plus, knowing the details ahead of time prevents you from having sticker shock when the bills start rolling in.

Do your research.

First, get to know all the college financial terms. Secondly, exhaust every grant and scholarship resource. Obviously, free money is better than paying for it out of pocket. Check with your college or university first. Some colleges host a scholarship day. Keep up-to-date on the GPA required to maintain scholarships yearly (e.g. HOPE scholarship). Once you’ve explored the above options, check out this, this, and this website.


Fill out the FAFSA as early as possible during the beginning months of the year. You must do this every school year. You can fill out the FAFSA prior to having your (or your parent’s) updated tax information, as long as you indicate you will go back to enter the correct amount once you receive the new tax information. Read the website instructions carefully in order to ensure you do this correctly.

Set up a private student loan.

The cost of school goes up almost every year; rising tuition is a lot higher than the inflation cost. If grants, scholarships, and general school loans don’t cover all your costs, consider applying for a private student loan at ORNL FCU.

A private student loan is a personal loan you don’t have to pay back until six months after you get out of school. It usually has a lower interest rate and lower payments than other types of personal loans. They can be set up in the student’s name with the parent acting as a co-signer, so it helps the student establish credit. Please check the list of eligible schools and consult with your school’s financial aid department for eligibility and certification.

Stop by a local branch and speak to an ORNL FCU employee about your options. We’re here to help you borrow smart and save smarter, especially when it comes to something as important as your education.