How much is knowledge worth?

Thousands of dollars a semester slowly evolving into debt can haunt students for a large part of their lives.

The impact of this price is all-inclusive — affecting students entering college either as traditional college students straight out of high school or a nontraditional student looking for a career change.



In many cases, parents of those seeking a college education will often foot the bill. However, this isn’t the case for all students, and for those whose parents don’t or can’t cover the cost of a college education, there are a few options. Understanding these options can save individuals a great amount of stress now and in the future.

The first step students who are seeking financial help should take is applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and understanding what it is. The FAFSA can be filled out by any student, both traditional and nontraditional. While filling the form out does not guarantee financial aid, it is a good step in the right direction for students who are seeking financial help. The form can be filled out from home and on the FAFSA website.

After filling out the FAFSA, students may be presented with the options to receive Pell Grants and student loans to cover the costs Pell Grants do not. There are two types of loans offered: subsidized and unsubsidized. Knowing the difference is essential, because subsidized loans accrue interest while a student is in school and unsubsidized loans do not (the U.S. Department of Education pays for any interest accrued while the student is in school).

Both options are viable to help pay for college. But if a student is approved for a subsidized loan, taking advantage of the lack of accruing interest while in college is a wise choice.

Setting up a payment plan right away, even if it’s only for the minimum payment amount, adds up over time, allowing debt to lessen while a student is attending college. After leaving college, a student is given a grace period where payments will not be due. This grace period comes if a student leaves college for a break or if they graduate.

Another option, of course, is scholarships. While the option to apply for scholarships is often given by high schools, the door does not automatically close after high school graduation.

A student can still apply for scholarships while attending college. Scholarships can be found in any field.

The types of awards range from poetry scholarships for writers to athletic awards for athletes. Utilizing UNM’s scholarship resources can be advantageous in this situation, because students can find the scholarship that applies best to their field and individual talents.

Ultimately the best and most effective tool in paying for college is basic research. If you never ask, you will never find an answer. Knowledge may come with a price tag, but it should not be available to only those who can easily afford it.

Visit: financialaid.unm.edu or career.unm.edu for more information. Don’t forget: the FAFSA application deadline is June 30.

Nichole Harwood is a reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.