On July 1, most colleges and universities sent their first-semester bill of the upcoming 2020-2021 Academic Year- Freshman, Transfers, and those returning to the campus.

For incoming Freshman, the bill signals the culmination of a student and family’s hard work to find, select, and enroll in the college or university of their choice. Now its time to pay up!

The bill sent from the Student Accounts-Bursars Office may look like the financial aid award but includes other charges making up the total cost of attending.

While appeals for additional tuition assistance may still be in the process due to COVID-19, it is essential for each student and their parent(s) to finalize their payment strategy. Resolving the bill now will eliminate stress and anxiety going into the final part of the summer and with earlier than typical move-in dates scheduled.

How Will You Pay the Bill?

Financing resources at this time of the year generally shift from the institution, federal, and state aid to personal resources, external scholarships, and self-help (loans and work), and relatives. Financing resources will depend on the availability of immediate savings, eligibility for private education loans, or the ability to work & study during the school year.

Immediate Resources

College savings accounts, 529 Plans, or other investment programs, when available, are perfect resources to use to meet college costs. There specific use, when, and how much should be with the family’s financial planner, reviewed with the family’s financial planner. Note: The use of retirement savings is NEVER recommended!

Tuition Payment Plan

Interest-free payment plans offered through the college or university allow a student/family to pay all or a portion of the net tuition. Regular monthly payments are made to the college or university during the semester. All payment plans require a one-time application fee. Programs are administered on behalf of the school by a third-party provider—information on a school’s specific payment plan found on each institution’s website.

Federal PLUS Loan

PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent students who are attending on at least a half time basis. A parent can borrow to fund a portion or all of the remaining balance due to the college. A PLUS Loan is a credit-driven loan program that requires no income, asset, or collateral requirement. Repayment begins within 45 days of the full disbursement with repayment factor over a five to ten year period. The interest rate for the academic year 2020-2021 will equal 5.02%. To apply for a Federal PLUS Loan, go to and start your loan application. Once approved, loan funds are a credit to the student’s account by the school who manages the disbursement of the loan during the academic year.

Private Alternative Loan

Many colleges work with specific lenders to provide private education loan referral information. Students and their parents can also go directly yo a lender to begin the application process. Alternative education loans historically referred to as a loan of last resort, is a credit-driven loan program—eligibility criteria, including interest rates, credit criteria, and repayment provisions. Interest rates range as low as 4% to 7% based on the borrower’s (co-signers) creditworthy status and if repayment will begin immediately or deferred. Most, if not all, first-year students will require a creditworthy co-signer who can be a parent or grandparent. Students and their parents should check their school’s website for recommendations on prospective private education loan lenders, including the AAA Advantage Loan offered by AAA Northeast.

Personal Saving and Resources

All financial experts recommend that families do not touch retirement savings to meet educational costs.

Ongoing Financial Aid Appeals – Students and families should consult with the Financial Aid staff at their college to discuss eligibility for assistance under extenuating circumstances.

Need help with options, financing strategies, and meeting college costs, call to schedule a conversation.