JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Other Ways to Pay for College

As students prepare to go to college, many realize that they do not have the resources to meet the rising costs of college tuition and other related expenses.  Families must also face the fact that financial aid may not fill the gap between what they feel they can afford to pay and the cost of college.

There are some students who have been awarded all of the need-based aid that’s available and still have a significant portion of their cost of attendance that won't be covered.  Some of the reasons why many students still have costs to cover include:

  • the student may have applied for financial aid late;
  • the student may have a stepparent with considerable assets who isn't going to contribute; or
  • the student may be estranged from his or her parents in a situation that doesn't justify a dependency override.

Alternative loans remain the most popular method of closing the gap of unmet need with both families and aid administrators; however, additional debt is not always the best option for the student. 

With rising loan debt and with students incurring credit card debt, what are the alternatives besides student borrowing?  Students may consider:

Parents may consider:

  • 529 plans; and
  • payment plans offered at many colleges.