Skip Navigation

Learning-Center

Ways to Pay for College – How to Fill the Funding Gap

Let’s face it – no one is accepted to college and thinks, “I can’t wait to pay my tuition bill!” College is a big investment, which is why it’s important to know your options, plan ahead, and choose wisely when paying for it. (Remember that filling out the FAFSA, which opens each October, is the first step to securing any financial aid!)

Free Money First

First you should take advantage of scholarships and grants, which cost you nothing and do not have to be repaid as long as you meet their conditions. In other words, these equal FREE money for college. Most times this free money is not enough to cover your costs, so you will need to look into options for student loans.

Federal Student Loans

After scholarships and grants, you should explore federal student loans that come with benefits not available from other types of loans. These are typically offered within your award letter from your college. Before you take out any loan, be aware that a loan is a legal obligation that you are responsible for repaying. Learn more about the types of federal student loans that may be available to you and your family: https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans

Private Student Loans

When scholarships, grants, and federal student loans aren’t enough, you may need to consider private student loans. Private loans are made by private organizations such banks, credit unions, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations, and have terms and conditions that are set by the lender. Because offerings will vary, it’s important to review the rates, terms, and conditions before applying for a private student loan.

Close Disclosure Overlay

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate

In order to apply for a loan, you must first pick an individual credit union from which you wish to borrow. You can apply for the loan without being a member of the credit union you select, but you will need to become a member of that credit union in order to receive a funded loan. Therefore, it's important that you select a credit union that you will be eligible to join. Credit union membership requirements can include where you live, work, or attend school. Results are based on membership criteria provided by individual credit unions and do not imply a guarantee regarding accuracy or eligibility to join the listed credit union(s).

Calculations are based on the lowest possible rate and available repayment terms per lender. Rate estimates are based on credit information entered by the user and will not impact your credit. During the application process, a hard credit inquiry will be performed to provide exact rate information. Repayment calculations assume immediate full repayment. View the full range of rates and terms by visiting your credit union's website using links listed for each credit union above.

Using the free student loan refinance calculator does not constitute an offer to receive a loan and will not solicit a loan offer. Any payments and savings will depend on the actual amounts for which you are approved, should you choose to apply. This calculator is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial advice. Always consult your credit union or financial advisor when making your decision.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for refinance borrowers: By refinancing federal student loans, you may lose certain borrower benefits from your original loans. These may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some cancellation benefits that can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loans. Please review this important disclosure for more information.

Your actual rate within the range stated will be disclosed upon approval. Student borrowers may apply with a creditworthy cosigner which may result in a better chance of approval and/or interest rate.