How to Pay for College
You may already know a Seventh-day Adventist college offers great educational value in a Christian atmosphere. Are you wondering how you will afford it? Following is an overview of options for funding your college education.
The earlier you start thinking about paying for college, the better. There’s a wide variety of saving and financing options that can easily bring an Adventist college education within reach. Some options might be time sensitive to get the full benefit. A key component of your college financial planning is completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. See FAFSA, Grants and Awards here.
Compare actual costs.
It’s tempting to compare a community college’s, public university’s, even another private college’s tuition with an Adventist school and assume that you just can’t afford a private Christian education. Don’t jump to that conclusion without looking past the “sticker price.” The average 4-year private college tuition costs $33,480¹, and the average Adventist college tuition is approximately $21,722². You can often get a quality private Adventist education for less than many other private schools. See Estimating Cost of Attendance here.
When comparing an Adventist college with a public institution, consider total cost of attendance. Nearly 80 percent of the graduates of a private college or university complete their degree on time compared with approximately 60 percent from a state institution³. One reason is good academic advising which is a big strength of Adventist colleges.
Consider financial assistance.
Up to 95% of Adventist college students, at all income levels, receive some type of financial assistance – much of it in grants and scholarships that do not have to be repaid. Individual colleges offer average grants that range from $2,000 to $16,000 or more per year. Never assume your household income makes you ineligible for financial assistance!
Look into all scholarship options.
Most Adventist colleges also offer a variety of scholarships that are not based on financial need, but instead reward a student’s academic achievement or talent in a particular area, or support specific career goals. There are also many scholarships available from outside sources that may be applied toward tuition at Adventist colleges. See ABCs of Scholarships here.
Take into account student loans.
Most financial awards include taking a student loan. With low interest rates, long repayment periods and payment deferral while you are in school, these loans do not create an unmanageable burden. At several Adventist universities, for example, the average total debt for loan recipients was less than $30,000. Under a typical repayment plan, this works out to about $300 per month, or just under ten percent of a typical graduate’s $35,000 a year salary.
Look into employment opportunities.
All Adventist colleges offer on-campus jobs for students, meaning you can earn money for your education with the convenience of your class schedule in mind. Plus, there are also hundreds of off-campus jobs within a few minutes of most of SDA campuses.
Contact each college directly.
Each Adventist college has different ways to help you pay for your education. It is in your best interest to contact all of the schools you are considering applying to and develop a specific financial plan, including monthly payments if required, at each school. This will help you make a smart decision about which school is the best fit for you when considering finances. See Adventist College and University Scholarships here.
Now is the time to start looking at how to fund your college education. Graduating from an Adventist college or university just might be more affordable than you think.
¹The College Board.
²IPEDS. Does not include LLU.
³National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (www.naicu.edu).