Make the most of financial aid

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Video Transcript: College is an investment, but it doesn’t have to mean long-term debt. Money put toward a college degree has about a 15% annualized return on investment over a graduate’s career—much higher than the typical return for stocks or bonds.

But a college degree may come with a hefty price tag. Student loans are the second largest form of consumer debt, behind only mortgages.

To minimize your debt, do your homework. You might find other types of financial aid to bankroll your studies. For every 10 of your classmates, 7 receive some form of financial aid, including student loans, grants and work-study.

10,000 dollars could go a long way toward paying for your college education. And the sources of aid are endless. Grants are free money, so you don’t need to pay them back. They are usually awarded based on financial need. Scholarships are also free money, usually awarded based on academic merit. The number of freshmen getting merit aid depends on the institution and yearly tuition and fees can vary widely.

What matters most, is how much you’ll still need to cover after your scholarship money is applied. With work-study, you’ll take on a part-time job, and your earnings will go toward your college tuition.

Even if you receive financial aid, smart budgeting during your college years can help you graduate one step ahead.

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.