The Make-It or Break-It Factor for College

The Make-It or Break-It Factor for College



Simply that. 

Tuition costs. Room and board costs. Dining plan costs. Textbook and supply costs.

It really does not matter what specific college (let alone Loyola) you choose to look into, money will always be the biggest factor in deciding what college to attend. Nationwide, higher education has become more expensive and has made it more challenging for people to do due to financial costs. For those like my family, who are either working families, minority, low-income, or who have first-generation children, getting a bachelors diploma can be a challenge or struggle for monetary reasons.

On top of that, if you live in Illinois, you may know of the MAP grant suspension in Springfield, Illinois. The MAP Grant is awarded to Illinois residents for higher education and to those who demonstrate financial need. For a couple years now, Loyola students have rallied down in Springfield to rally for MAP grant to be re-funded and we have worked hard for some action to be done.


Obviously, I write with the intention to HELP you guys be aware of things (that have helped me) keep costs down:

  1. Do the FAFSA. This will help you get federal assistance. Especially if you are listed as dependent and depending on how many people live in your household, that will reflect how much aid you can potentially receive. Advice: Do it IMMEDIATELY when FAFSA becomes available. First come first serve. You will receive priority (which has helped me in many personal cases). 
  2. Do FEDERAL WORK STUDY. Needless to say, this keeps costs down because you earn money to help pay for your education.
  3. SUBSIDIZED LOANS. Subsidized loans do not include interest as long as you are in school UN-subsidized loans include interest. With that being said, it is safe to take out the subsidized loan because you pay what you owe- straightforward. The value of the loan will depend on your income. Personally, I initially thought that loans were something scary and to avoid, but after understanding more about loans, I can give you my advice and reassure you that a loan is not so bad. Higher education is something people should really strive to get because it can only benefit you; you can pay off the loan when you get that high paying job (thanks to the college diploma)!
  4. DO WELL IN YOUR ACADEMICS (in high school). Most definitely if you get good grades, you will surely get get impressions from your teacher which can help you get a fantastic recommendation letter. When you get your acceptance letter, you will see what Loyola academic scholarship you will be awarded (if you do apply), and that initial scholarship will be a reflection of your high school academic scores.
  5. IF YOU GO TO A CATHOLIC SCHOOL within the Archdiocese of Chicago or the Diocese of Joliet, hooray, you automatically get a financial award. (Don’t I sound like Oprah giving free stuff?!) 
  6. DON’T MIND COMMUTING TO SCHOOL? You save the most money. Not only do you not pay for room and board fees, but dining plans and more. I have mentioned this in other blogs. I’m sure you guys don’t want me to repeat this here.
  7. If something happened in your family that significantly impacted your income, whether if it is your parents who are divorced, there is a loss of benefit from your parent’s work, loss of one-time income, siblings who also attend private, Catholic school, or other circumstances, you may be eligible to fill out the SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE APPEAL. This may help bring costs even further down, but it is not guaranteed until the LUC Financial Office can thoroughly assess the situation.
  8. EXTERNAL SCHOLARSHIPS. Personally, I have done countless applications for this. Especially at the end of my senior year of high school, I looked everywhere and signed up for everything. You must understand that external scholarships mean that potentially anyone and everyone may apply, which might not be in your favor (you may have less chances). The people that will select the winner of the scholarship will most likely look for the best person who fits their category, so you obviously have to meet specific qualifications.
  9. RAMEN DIET isn’t bad during your undergraduate years. Okay, this may be humorous, but I think it is true. Ramen is cheap; no question about that. I get my ramen from the Asian supermarket off of Argyle (only a couple of train stops away from Loyola), where each package only costs cents! There’s a variety of delicious flavors and noodle styles that are not that bad. Plus, it is so quick to boil hot water and make a hot meal.
  10. BE SMART ABOUT YOUR MONEY. Prioritize your money. Where can you money be spent on the best? Can you save money? I have a savings account at my bank and I try to have a commitment to put a certain percentage of my earnings to my savings account. Hopefully when I need to pay off my loans (or anything), I have a good amount saved up to successfully pay it off.

Okay guys! These are my own ideas on how you can potentially save money to make the make-it or break-it factor to affording college. I am sure there are other ways to save money (those of which I do not know of, or it has not come to my mind when writing this post), so keep asking around and start to get familiar with college and college finance!

To end this post on an interesting [and humorous] note, I present to you this food pyramid (note that Ramen is toward the bottom of the pyramid and is the closest thing to Free food).


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