Financial Aid - Paying for Your College Investment

  • Posted on: September 22, 2014

The decision to invest in your future and pursue your degree is an important one. Despite believing that earning your degree can be a worthwhile college investment—one that can provide dividends long after you graduate—you still wonder: How will I pay for college? Read on to get the essential facts about financial aid, so you have the information you need to make a decision about how you might allocate your investment in your university education.

View our Financial Aid Guide to learn more about financing your education.

Financial Aid Guide cover

Navigating Your Options

Your financial investment in college includes direct costs, including tuition, books and other fees. You may also have indirect costs such as living expenses. When it comes to financing those expenses, you have dozens of options. To navigate the financial aid process with confidence, you just need the facts. Then, your biggest decision becomes choosing the financial aid options that best fit your needs. Rest assured, we've untangled the most common options for you here. Let's get started.

Preliminary Research: Calculate How Much Your College Education May Cost

The cost of college varies depending on where you choose to attend and the program you decide to enroll in, so be sure to contact the university for specific information on tuition, books and fees. For example, at CTU, there is no admissions application fee and we bundle the cost of tuition, e-books and fees into one simple price.

If you're interested in receiving a quick calculation of estimated costs at CTU, our Net Price Calculator ( will calculate your potential costs based on the program you choose in less than 10 minutes. Keep in mind, this online tool only provides information for undergraduate programs at CTU, so if you're interested in a graduate program, just get in touch with us and we'll provide you an estimate of those costs.

The Fafsa: Apply To Determine Your Eligibility For Aid

Once you have an estimate of potential costs, it's time to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also commonly known as the FAFSA, at If you're a military student seeking military education benefits, you must talk to your Education Service Officer (ESO) on base before completing the FAFSA. CTU has a dedicated team of military education benefits specialists to help you through the process.

The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility to receive a variety of financial aid—from Federal grants and loans to work-study opportunities. The office of Federal Student Aid estimates that it will take, on average, 55 minutes to complete an initial FAFSA application online. To expedite that process, you'll need a FSA ID to electronically sign the FAFSA online. Also gather all pertinent information such as your social security number, tax returns, W-2s, bank statements and other financial documents. Visit the FAFSA website for a list of all required documents. (

Don't Procrastinate.

Completing the FAFSA is an essential step to qualify for financial aid. If you have questions or need help at any point in the process, the FAFSA site offers real-time, private chat with a customer service representative.

If you plan to attend CTU and need assistance, contact a member of our admissions team at 855.230.0555.

Financial Aid Options: Unpack The Different Ways To Pay For College

If you complete the FAFSA online, your application should be processed in 3 to 5 days. While you wait to learn what you're eligible to receive, here are the seven most common ways you might choose to pay for your college investment:

  • Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant that does not need to be repaid, typically awarded to undergraduate students who have not already earned a bachelor's or professional degree.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a need-based grant program administered by the financial aid office of participating universities, which also does not need to be repaid.
  • Direct Subsidized Loans are made to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. Must be repaid.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are made to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. Must be repaid.
  • Direct PLUS Loans are made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Must be repaid.
  • Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing you to earn money to help pay education expenses.
  • State Aid availability depends on the campus where you attend classes. CTU students attending ground school campuses in Colorado may be eligible to participate in the Colorado Student Grant Program (CSGP).

Private Scholarships And Grants

There are innumerable scholarships and grants that are funded by private parties and organizations. You can begin your search for these financing opportunities online. CareerOneStop and FinAid are two credible sources where you can match your interests with eligibility requirements for a variety of resources around the country. To discover more, consider connecting with your community and professional network. You may discover scholarship and grant opportunities at your church, your local community organization or through your professional organization.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Some employers offer a tuition reimbursement benefit that will pay for completed courses up to a specific dollar amount, and in some cases the benefit might pay for your entire degree program. You may also discover tuition discounts available to employees. For instance, CTU partners with nearly 250 of the nation's largest employers and associations to offer up to a 15-percent tuition grant for employees and their immediate family members. You can download a complete list of our educational alliance partners to see if your employer or association is on the list. Then, be sure to check with your Human Resources department at to determine what benefits are available to you and how you can participate.

School-based Scholarships And Grants

Some universities set aside funds for school-based scholarships and grants that are available to eligible students. To determine what is available and whether you might qualify, schedule time with a financial aid representative at the school you are considering. CTU offers a number of these types of scholarships and grant. Set up a meeting with our admissions team to learn more about how to apply for scholarships and grants.

Military Financial Options

Current and former members of the military may have additional financial options available. The G.I. Bill is a popular option for military students. And at some schools, like CTU, there is an entire team dedicated to supporting military service members, both active duty and veterans.

These teams are available to help you review all of your options. At CTU you may be eligible to apply for the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Program, the Liberty Grant or the Yellow Ribbon Grant, among other opportunities for military students.

Private Funding From Bank Or Credit Union

You may also look into private education loans from a bank or credit union. Always be sure that you have a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions of any loans you may consider. We strongly encourage you to compare loan terms and conditions of lending institutions that offer loans to students.

Personal Contribution / Savings

If you've exhausted all your funding options, you may choose to use personal funds to cover university expenses. Of course, we recommend that you complete the FAFSA first, as a way to determine eligibility for other funds that may be available to you. Then, if necessary, you might consider using your own money to bridge the “funding gap.” Regardless, having a nest egg of personal savings to use toward your education is a smart move. You may encounter unexpected expenses, and having the available funds when you need it helps ensure continuous enrollment, so you can successfully complete your degree program.

Get Started: Connect With Us

If you're ready to begin plotting your course toward your degree, begin by applying for admission online. You should also submit your FAFSA application immediately after. Visit the FAFSA website to learn more about deadlines to be considered for federal aid, and keep in mind that many states and universities have earlier deadlines when applying for state or university-based aid programs.

Visit CTU's Financial Aid portal:

Learn more about CTU's tuition and fees:

Get information about military financial aid and benefits

Get more information on Educational Alliance Partners:

If you have questions along the way, we're here to help. Call or visit us online to learn more.
Call: 855.230.0555

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