Most colleges provide an interest free monthly payment plan option that will allow you to pay academic year expenses over time. Academic year plans are usually 10 or 12 months while semester plans are usually 5 months.
Q & A
How much does it cost?
There is application fee which is typically less than $75.
How much can I pay through the payment plan?
You can sign up to pay some or all of your billed expenses for the upcoming year through the payment plan. You decide the amount.
For example, if your net billed expense after financial aid is subtracted is $30,000:
- you can make ten $3,000 monthly payments throughout the year rather than two $15,000 payments before each semester.
- or you can decide to pay $10,000 in ten $1,000 monthly payments through the payment plan and to pay the other $20,000 in two 10,000 lump sum payments at the beginning of each term. The same principle applies for schools on a quarter or trimester system.
- or you can pay $10,000 in ten $1,000 monthly payments through the payment plan and pay the other $20,000 with an educational loan.
What do you mean by billed expenses?
Billed expenses include tuition and fees, and charges for on-campus housing and meal plans. (Basically anything that shows up on the school bill.) You can not use the payment plan to cover non-billed expenses such as books, personal expenses, off campus housing and food or any other expense that is not paid directly to the school.
When are the payments due?
You must begin making payments a little earlier when you use a payment plan. If you sign up for a full year plan, the first payment is typically due on June 1, with monthly payments ending on March 1. This means you have to estimate expenses and start making payments before you receive the fall bill. But most schools will allow you to catch up if you get a late start. For instance, if you sign up in July, then you can make the first two payments on August 1 and go from there. You can also adjust your plan amount if your summer estimates are a little off.
Can I use a credit card to make my monthly payments?
Is there any downside?
None that we are aware of. And among the benefits is the ability to immediately use funds from monthly savings that we discuss in the parent income section.