Be like Clooney: Be Aware of College Payment Plans

If only George Clooney helped finance your bank account. That would make life so much easier. Unfortunately, he’s not at the world’s beck and call. But other people are. When attending college, there are tons of costs to consider: loans, tuition, room and board, rent, parking, club dues, etc. It is important to be aware of how much each cost, as well as how each works, especially if you’re the one not paying for all the expenses. In that case, it’s easy to neglect important business, relying on someone else to worry about the money. Word to the wise: Be aware. You’ll need to know how all of it works. It’s just as important as navigating a break in of a casino like Clooney did in Ocean’s Eleven. To help organize this information, pretend you’re the criminal Clooney.

Step 1: Set a goal

The most important decision is done: deciding to go to college. Now it’s time to determine how to pay for that dream to turn it into a reality. Read on your college’s website about tuition and all additional costs. Add it up. That number might be bigger than you’re expecting. Instead of having vague fees roaming around in your head, know that figure. It’ll make the seriousness of college a little more real. Realization means drive, which means graduating on time. That’s extremely important so the college years don’t add up.

Step 2: Assemble a team, like Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt may not be your banker either, but another more capable person will be. See what types of loans you need to take out. If someone else is financing your college education, go along to find out how much this will cost your benefactor. There’s interest and additional fees to consider. College gets pricey before you know it. A helpful hint to make your relationship with the bank more beneficial? Put the loans in your name, even if someone else is paying for your college education. It’ll help build credit under your name, which will set you ahead after graduation.

Step 3: Observe the bank

There’s a reason every person who has ever talked about college encourages that college is full of opportunities – because it’s true. Aside from the initial costs of college, there is an incredible amount of activities open to students. You could volunteer over a school break to help an area in need. You could study abroad for an academic period. You could join a service or social sorority/fraternity. Before committing, know the costs upfront. Consider if this is a feasible option, or if you should search elsewhere for opportunities. If it is a substantial cost, discuss the opportunity with the person financing your college. You don’t want to surprise them with any additional fees that are unaffordable. If Clooney didn’t consider all avenues before breaking in the casino, Ocean’s Eleven would’ve ended real fast.

Step 4: Review the plan over, and over, and over

You can’t be too prepared for college, especially when money is involved. Discuss with a banker or with the person paying for your education how and when your loans will be paid off. Are you getting financial aid or scholarships? How do you maintain that help so it’s there in future years? How soon after graduation do you have to begin paying back your loans? Are you paying for all or some of the loans? There’s so much to consider that it can become overwhelming. The important thing is to think about these matters earlier rather than later. Know what the plan is. Consider graduating early to lighten the load. Keep open communication. If that becomes troublesome, pretend you’re talking to Clooney or Pitt. You’ll be sure to find something to talk about.

There’s no right or certain way to go about paying for college. Think about how your plan is going to be carried out. Communicate with those assisting you in paying for your college education. After all, it has to be easier than robbing a casino.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.