Mar 11, 2022 / Money Tips

How to Help Your Kids Pay for College

College is expensive, and it’s getting pricier with each passing year. If you want a more detailed description of higher education expenses (emphasis on higher), check out last week’s post about the true cost of college. But suffice to say, it’s not a stretch to spend more than $400K to complete a bachelor’s degree. As your start thinking about how to help your kids pay for college, consider these four common types of financial aid.


The federal government and the state of Utah offer a variety of grants for students to attend college. And, unlike their college loan counterpart, grants don’t have to be repaid (in most circumstances). Many grants are based on financial need and require the applicant to meet and maintain certain stipulations for eligibility. Grants are available to students attending traditional four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and career schools. Your student’s school may even have a list of available grants through its student services and/or financial aid department.


Work-study is a federal program that provides part-time work to college students. Earnings are dependent upon financial need (and the participating school’s funding level) and are used to pay for educational expenses, including tuition, fees, and room and board. Jobs can be either on-campus or off-campus, but earnings are paid by the participating school, not the actual employer. The work-study program encourages students to find work in their chosen fields or in community service, and it’s available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Loans and Financial Aid

It’s no surprise that most families can’t front the entire cost of higher education all at once (remember the $400K figure?). That’s why both the federal government and a long list of private lenders offer student loans. These loans pay the tuition bill when it comes due, but have to be repaid with interest. There are different types of student loans, including both subsidized and unsubsidized, depending on financial need. Some student loan programs include a deferment option that allows your student to attend college without accruing interest or even having to repay the loan until after leaving school.


You might be surprised at the sheer number of scholarships available and how many your student may qualify for. Scholarships are gifts from schools, businesses, non-profits, and even financial institutions. They can be either need-based or merit-based (some have very few requirements for eligibility), and they don’t have to be repaid. It’s always a good idea to review a list of available scholarships to see whether your student can find some free money to help offset the expense of attending school.

A great place to start is by declaring your student’s eligibility for the Utah First Cash for College Scholarship. We’re investing in our community by giving away 25 scholarships every quarter to Utah First members attending college, trade school, or vocational school. Declare your eligibility before the next group of 25 students is selected.

College is expensive, but there are a handful of ways to help your kids pay for college and give them a head start (with fewer expenses) as they pursue their education. To learn more about the Utah First Cash for College Scholarship or to chat about the best ways to secure financial aid for your student, visit a Utah First branch near you.