In today's society people simply cannot afford to go without a higher education. Over 40% of jobs require Americans to possess a college degree (1). To obtain those degrees it can be costly. There are several financial aid options available to those who cannot afford to pay for college out of pocket. For many students, loan debt is still unavoidable and borrowers are struggling with their payments, and many do not know the options available to them that could keep them from default.
Although it is become more and more necessary to achieve a college degree the government is giving incentives to get more people interested in higher education. They are disbursing federal grants/loans, giving educational tax credits such as the American Opportunity Credit and The Lifetime Learning Credit, and tax deductions for those who pay on their student loans. Due to these incentives enrollment rates have increased dramatically in previous years. In the most recent national study between 2001 and 2011, enrollment increased 32 percent, from 15.9 million to 21.0 million and less than 50% of students will graduate (2). These incentives are dangerous for students who enroll in college just for fun with no real educational goals. They are at higher risk for not completing a degree and being burdened with student loan debt that will be more financially difficult to pay back. .
There are a few financial aid alternatives to federal and privet loans to help students pay for their education including: grants, scholarships, and work-study, which are funded by the federal government, state governments, colleges, nonprofit, and private organizations. While work study may seem like a good alternative statistics show students who work while attending college have an overall lower GPA and are more likely not to complete college(1). Due to limited funds it is not a guarantee to even get approved for work-study. Grants and scholarships outside of the government and the institution itself are fairly harder to get approved for.