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What Is a Tuition Payment Plan and How Can You Benefit from One?


4 minute read

Take Advantage of a Tuition Installment Plan

Paying for college can seem like a daunting task. In-state tuition for a four-year college can be more than $11,000 a year, and for out-of-state tuition, more than $29,000 annually, so, understandably, many families may be worried about the cost of college.

Luckily, there are many options for students and their families to cover the costs of college — from scholarships and grants to student loans, personal savings, and tuition payment plans. Many families will use a combination of these tactics to pay for college.

At NC Assist Loan, we have lots of resources to help you borrow smart, pay for college, and invest in the future with a college degree. Let’s look at one piece of the puzzle to help you cover college costs — tuition installment or payment plans.

What Is a Tuition Payment Plan?

What if you could pay your tuition in smaller, steady installments instead of a lump sum? That's exactly what a tuition payment plan does for students. Tuition payment plans should not be confused with student loan repayment programs (like income-based repayment).

In a tuition payment plan, your college or university agrees to let you pay the bill for your tuition and other qualified expenses over several months or up to a year. Included expenses can vary, so speak with your school first to see how their tuition payment plan is structured.

Before looking into these plans or loans, be sure to take full advantage of all your available financial aid. This starts when you fill out the FAFSA and apply for plenty of scholarships.

What Are the Benefits of Tuition Payment Plans?

A benefit of tuition payment plans is that they rarely charge interest. However, there are typically fees associated with this type of payment plan. For example, some programs may charge enrollment fees, which can vary. Fees for tuition payment plans may be charged per semester, quarter, or year, depending on the school and payment plan you choose.

Make sure you speak with a financial aid advisor at your school to learn about tuition payment plans and your options, how long the terms are, and what it covers.

FAQs About Tuition Payment Plans:

Let’s answer some of the common questions about tuition payment plans.

Can tuition payment plans help reduce college costs?

A tuition payment plan won’t reduce college costs, but it can make it more manageable to spread out your payments over time. Budgeting monthly for a payment can reduce financial strain and be easier than paying in one lump sum.

Can I afford a tuition payment plan?

Even with a tuition payment plan in place, college can still be expensive. It is crucial you take a close look at your budget first. If you think it's going to be a struggle to pay the amount each month, then another option may be better for you, including student loans. There may be serious consequences to being late on tuition payments, including additional fees. On the other hand, payments on student loans are often deferred until after you graduate or leave school.

How do I pay for my monthly tuition with a payment plan?

Most payment plans require you to first register for the plan and then pay your bill by cash or check. Some may allow credit and debit cards, but there may be an additional convenience fee added to your plan.

Where can I find tuition payment plan resources?

Your college will have information on their specific tuition payment plan options on their website. Be sure to speak with your school if you have any questions.

Find a Student Loan to Bridge the Gap

Even with a payment plan in place, college can cost a lot. Most tuition payment plans are limited by how you can use them. Your payment plan can help you pay for things like tuition, potential fees, and on-campus housing. Still, it's important to keep in mind that you can't use it for other costs of school, like an off-campus apartment or personal expenses.

When you need help covering the cost of college after scholarships and other forms of financial aid, student loans can help.

The NC Assist Loan is from a state-based non-profit lender, meaning we’re not looking to make lots of money off your loans. Our main goal is to get you through college and realize your dreams. We offer student, parent, and graduate student loan options with low, fixed rates. Learn more about the NC Assist Loan and apply today.

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