Student loans grant people of all income levels the opportunity to attend higher education, especially if they have the grades and the drive to pursue their goals. But that might be almost impossible for many without some form of financial assistance.

The fact remains tuition costs can be expensive, in any field of study and especially if you are studying specialized fields like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or attending a prestigious university. Purchasing books and specialty equipment can add up. Expenses related to taking higher division classes are often a hardship as well. Many of these costs, coupled with the cost of living, may be simply unaffordable to many families.

There are a variety of ways families can mitigate these costs. First, students should look for scholarships to help defray college costs. You can find information and lists of thousands of scholarships available at the Sallie Mae website. Sallie Mae is an organization that helps connect college students and their families to student loans.

Everyone entering college should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, regardless of income. This important application can open doors to financial aid opportunities from colleges and universities.

Apply for grants such as federal Pell grants, TEACH grants, and others to help cover costs. Grants are usually based on financial need and you don’t have to pay them back.

Lastly, if you still need help paying college costs, you can apply for a student loan. SAFE partners with Sallie Mae to provide a variety of loans, including those for medical and dental school students, parent loans, and law school loans.

Don’t feel like you are alone if you need assistance paying college expenses. If we take a closer look at the financial state of Americans, you will see around 15 percent are living in a financially vulnerable state, according to a FinHealthNetwork study. This means at the end of the month those in this situation are not able to reach all their financial obligations. So, they might be late on payments. They might be over drafting to buy groceries. They might be having to put more items on credit cards than they should to maintain a healthy budget.

In addition, about 55 percent of the country is in a financially coping state. Those living in this situation find that they can meet all their financial obligations, but they do not have a lot of money left over to build an emergency savings account, handle unexpected expenses or have the financial freedom to go on a vacation or make major and often much-needed purchases.

So ultimately, 70 percent of the country is either financially vulnerable or financially coping. This makes the prospect of paying for tuition and materials a daunting thing to consider.

For those seeking financial freedom, I would contend higher education is a key contributor to the growth of the country.

The fact is student loans are a critical piece of our country’s economy, our culture, and our society any way you look at it.

Our Financial Wellness team is dedicated to this mission and offers many webinars, workshops, and other resources for those exploring college loans.

Learn More

Register for our free, "Free Money for College Webinar on Tuesday Nov. 15, 2022

Register Here

SAFE can assist college students seeking loans through Sallie Mae.

Learn More

Watch for more webinars and workshops by SAFE’s financial education team on tips for paying for college and other financial topics.

Learn More


Hector Madueno

SAFE Financial Wellness Manager