Tuition and Student Loans

by Eli Nicholson
(Portland, OR, USA)

Question: What percentage of my tuition should I look to get as student loans?

Kevin’s Answer: In a perfect world, the best answer is 0%. In other words, your tuition should not be paid for with any loans or borrowed money.

If your education was planned a long time ago and money was saved for your education, you are in the perfect financial situation. You should not take out any student loans at all.

In some other situations, it may be hard for you to avoid using student loans. Your need for student loans may depend on a combination of the following factors…

  • You and your family’s savings for your education.
  • How soon you plan to attend school.
  • The location of your school.
  • Your performance in high school and on entrance exams (SAT/ACT)
  • The number of grants, scholarships, and internships you applied for and won.
  • Your field of study


The more savings you and your family have for education the less you will need in student loans. If no money has been saved for your education, it is possible to pay-as-you-go.

  • It is possible to work and attend school.
  • It may not be possible if the school is private, very expensive, and your parents cannot afford to pay some of your educational costs.

Campus Location and Field of Study

If you are open to any campus location and certain fields of study, you may qualify for more grants, scholarships, and internships. This lowers your tuition costs and your need for student loans.


If you are just getting out of high school, you and your parents will most likely want you to attend college as quickly as possible. If you had more time, you might have more chances to win grants, scholarships, and internships.

  • If you had more time (12 – 18 months), you could practice more and possibly score higher on entrance exams like the SAT and the ACT.
  • Higher scores lead to better chances of winning grants, scholarships, and internships.
  • All of these things can lower tuition costs and your need for student loans.


In the end, your need for student loans depends on many factors that are actually controlled a little bit by you and your family.

Use your free time (if any) to find and apply for as many grants, scholarships, and internships as you can find (a minimum of 100 in total).

Student loans are not bad at all. Student loans can help you when your time is limited and choices are few. I created my free online school because not everyone can qualify for student loans or attend far away schools.

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