College Students Seek Alternative Financial Aid Amid COVID-19

College Students Seek Alternative Financial Aid Amid COVID-19

June 23, 2020         Written By Heaven Speirs

Paying for college is always a challenge, but it can be particularly stressful in the wake of a financial crisis. According to a new study from Barnes & Noble College Insights, 41% of college students are worried about how they will cover their expenses in the upcoming semester. Will scholarships and grants still be available? Will student loans and credit card usage be on the rise with reduced income levels? Let’s explore what the fall semester may hold for American college students.

More Than Half of College Students Plan to Borrow More after COVID-19

The Barnes & Noble survey found that 56% of college students will need to borrow more after the pandemic. Nearly half (46%) are exploring new scholarship options, while 43% plan to tap into their family’s savings. That is, of course, if the savings are still available after the outbreak. Many households have had to use their emergency funds to cover expenses in the last few months.

Forty percent of college students said they will work more than one job to cover their costs. As a whole, 44% said they’ve had to change their original financial aid plan, and 69% said their financial well-being has been affected by COVID-19.

1 in 10 Plan to Pay for Tuition on a Credit Card

Ten percent of college students said they plan to charge some or all of their tuition costs on a credit card. This is an effective way to pay for college, but it needs to be well thought-out. Before charging your tuition to a credit card, make sure the card has a low interest rate. Also be prepared to pay off the card balance quickly. Every month you carry a balance adds to your total debt. The sooner you pay it off, the less you have to pay in interest.

Don’t have enough to cover the costs? Check out these tips on How to Increase Your Card’s Credit Limit.

How to Make Smart Money Choices in College

Ideally, you should seek scholarships and grants to cover your college expenses. These financial aid offers do not have to be repaid. Student loans, private loans and credit cards do have to be repaid, and they often come with hefty interest costs. Only go into debt for the money you actually need, and repay it as quickly as possible. Reduce your expenses and adjust your spending habits to graduate from college debt-free.

If you’d like more tips for managing your finances in college, read our Ultimate Financial Guide for College Students. You’ll learn important credit card terms, how to find the perfect credit card, how to boost your credit score, and much more.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 23, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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About Heaven Speirs

Heaven Speirs is a contributing writer for LowCards.com. She remains up-to-date with the latest developments in the credit card industry and the financial sector as a whole. Heaven has over 10 years of experience in online journalism, the bulk of which has been focused on personal finance. Heaven attended Oklahoma State University, where she discovered her talent for research and content creation. In her spare time, Heaven enjoys painting, playing poker, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.