Paying For College
Where do you want to go to college? How much will it cost? Getting an early handle on these questions will help you figure out how much you’ll need to save, earn or borrow to achieve your college goals.
Financial Literacy: Your one stop shop for information on all the financial aid that is available for you.
Step One: Figure Out How Much One Year Will Cost
The table on this page gives you a rough idea of how much it costs for tuition, fees and room/board for one year at a four-year college. Adjust that amount if you plan to live at home. Get the real number by looking up schools you're interested in.
Remember to include books, travel, and some spending money in your budget.
Step Two: Learn About Financial Aid
FINANCIAL AID is money the federal government, state government and some colleges make available to students wanting to go to college. The government asks you for some information so they can figure out your Expected Family Contribution (your "EFC") and then, based on that amount, they provide grants and loans to help you pay for college.
Step Three: Stash Some Cash
Start saving today. Check out the UA College Savings Plan, you can save in Alaska and go to school anywhere.
Step Four: Scholarships
Some scholarships are based on your GPA, others are based on what you plan to study, and still others are based on the community setting aside money for your education. Ask your high school guidance counselor, check out our links, check with your Native Corporation, and ask the businesses and social clubs in your area.
Here are some other ideas...
Get a College Savings Jar
- Put in your spare change.
- Put in 10-50% of what you earn doing side jobs (if you have a part-time job make saving a priority).
- Have your parents put in all of their change once a week (pick a day - Tuesday maybe).
- Ask your grandparents, aunts, or uncles to feed the jar if you do well on a test or an assignment.
- Get serious about the stuff you buy - electronic gadgets, games, phones and cars can really set your wallet back over time. Skip some of those things now - you can always get them later.
Every month or so, put the money from the jar into a savings account at your local bank.
Start a College Savings Plan
- Ask your parents to open a college savings plan for you. Every time they get paid, they can put money into the savings plan. So can your grandparents or others in your family.
- The University of Alaska College Savings Plan is a great place to start because you can spend the money at almost any school in the United States (not just in Alaska).
By saving, even a small amount, you are saying "Yes I can go to college or technical school!"
Ask Around about Scholarships - Ask Everyone
- Churches, service clubs (like Rotary), social clubs (like Elks, or Eagles) and your parent's employer may have grants or scholarships. Ask around and keep a list.
- Some competitions give college saving certificates as prizes (like bowling leagues, beauty pageants and many others). Stash those certificates in a safe place - they're real money.
- Look at the website of the college you want to attend. It will have a scholarship page with information.
Make sure you know what you need to do to qualify.
Good news! Financial aid is available to students that want to go onto college or technical school.
Did you know $135 billion in financial aid is available?
It's not to late to start saving. Make it easy by starting a college savings plan and adding to it every month.
Good grades can pay. The UA Scholars program offers a scholarship to the top 10% of each high school class (as of the end of their junior year). Click here to check on past winners. Go to your office to learn about how you can be a UA Scholar.
University of Alaska Scholarship Pages
Here is just one example of a national scholarship students in Alaska have been receiving. It's not the only one - it's just an example. You can't get a scholarship if you don't apply - so read the rules and send off an application.
Search on your own with the keywords "Scholarship" or "Grant." Add adjectives describing yourself or your situation to get better matches (ex: Alaska, Hispanic, foster youth, rural, first generation college student, etc.)
It's time to learn the Financial Aid vocabulary. What's a grant, what's a scholarship, how do loans work, and how are you going to pay for college or trade school?
Explore Financial Aid at UA
The Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS) is a new scholarship for high school students. Earn up to $4,755 per year by meeting GPA and curriculum requirements and filling out your FAFSA. Awards can be used at any regionally accredited college or university in Alaska, or for approved career and technical education programs in the state.