There are many options available to students to pay for the cost of tuition and other related schooling expenses. Private loans, federal loans, scholarships, and grants are all available and it's important to determine your eligibility and to take advantage of favorable funding options.
Loans or financial aid are based on many factors: Income is one factor, if your parents are going to be involved their income is also a factor. You may qualify for subsidized loans where the government pays for your interest while you are in school. If you don't qualify for subsidized loans, there are unsubsidized or private loans where the interest accrues during school and repayment begins after graduation.
Repayment of loans generally starts six to twelve months after graduation. A student can generally get extensions on repayment to lower the payment, but lengthening the repayment period will increase the amount of interest paid. Federal loans may also have income based repayment (IBR) plans where they base your repayment schedule based on your income.
Scholarships are available based on how well you do in school, a specific talent, or many other factors. There are scholarships for golf caddies, children of people at certain companies, and thousands of other qualifying factors.
You'll need to fill out a FAFSA - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – annually to determine your financial aid qualification. Financial aid is available in the form of federal loans, grants, and work study programs. When you fill out your FAFSA, they will automatically check your eligibility for a Pell Grant.
Grants are great if you can be awarded one as they are like a gift towards paying for education that you don't need to repay. Grants can be based on socioeconomic factors, academic performance, etc. It doesn't hurt to apply for a number of grants and see the results.
Some schools have work-study programs where you work in exchange for part of your education cost. Community based work may be available or your school may have programs relevant to your degree focus.
Some students put the cost of their tuition on credit cards. This isn't recommended unless you look at it as a way to rack up reward points or miles if you plan on paying it off in full each month.