Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

It’s the time of the year to pay for your tuition and you finally decided to look at the numbers on your online bill. After not signing into your account for a while, you panic for a bit because you don’t remember the password. Before clicking the link that will lead to your bank account’s demise, your fingers tremble. Once you open it up, your heart stops. Why is tuition so much? After talking to your parents, you find out that your family doesn’t have enough money to pay the entire bill. After a long discussion, everyone decides that loans can be taken out, especially the Stafford Loans (since there are subsidized and unsubsidized with a low interest rate). However, even with the loans, you still do not have enough to plan for the whole payment straight-up at once. How are you going to pay for your tuition without drowning in more loans (and debt in the future)? Thankfully, most schools tend to have payment plans, or installment plans, so that you can pay in several deposits.

At my university, the University of the Pacific, tuition is very high, not counting scholarships and financial aid. After all, it is a private university. Even with the highest scholarships, tuition can be up to $25,000 if you are not living in a dorm on campus. Luckily, tuition is paid every semester, which will cut the payment in half every time the bill must be paid. It’s also a great option that my school allows students enroll in a payment plan that allows them to pay in monthly installments, which will end up in four separate payments. A non-refundable fee of $75 is also required during the first payment. However, you must enroll in the payment online to let the school know you want to participate in this deal. A simple math calculation (dividing your tuition by four and then adding 75) will not cut it, so it’s best to check every thing that you may have missed when you decide to pay with this route.

Private schools tend to be the most expensive universities, which sounds about right when we think about what schools actually do have payment plans. However, do public schools have payment plans as well, especially with its cheaper price?

Since I am from California, the best way to figure out if public schools have payment plans or not was to look through various Universities of California (aka UCs) and California State schools’ websites. According to UC Berkeley’s website, there is in fact a deferred payment plan (at this particular school), which allows you to pay your registration fees in five monthly installments. Unlike my school, you will only need to pay the necessary amount as stated on your online statement for the university finance office to know that you wish to take part in the deferred payment plan. However, you must realize that each school has a different participation fee. Here, at UC Berkeley, the fee is $40, which is actually not that bad since each dollar eventually adds up.

Is the Payment Plan an Option for You?

Like I said before, each dollar eventually adds up, especially since the participation fee is usually per semester. For example, if you were to participate in the payment plan at UC Berkeley for the whole time you attended there, you would actually pay an addition $320. Some people will say that it is a small amount so they wouldn’t mind. Others would like to save as much as they could, especially if there are multiple children to pay for concurrently.

In conclusion, using a payment payment is a great option when you do not have enough money to pay for the tuition in full but will have enough after a paycheck or two. However, it is also good to check out the Stafford Subsidized Loan first since you don’t have to pay interest until you graduate. Even better, you will have a six month grace period before you pay interest as well. To know more about Stafford Loans, you can click here.

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