If you are here, you have likely decided to attend college. There is a lot of chatter out there about how to pay for college. At Gaston, we do not want the cost of a college education to be a burden or stand in the way of your success. Since 1964, Gaston College has helped people just like you achieve their educational goals by providing affordable and high quality education to our students. Your success is our mission and we work hard to ensure you earn your academic credentials.
Even with low tuition and fees, funding your education can be complicated at times. Gaston College will help you navigate the process and find opportunities that will save you money.
Commonly referred to as the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is your first step. Find out if you are eligible for valuable federal and/or state grants and work-study jobs. Never assume that you won’t qualify! At Gaston, we work with families one-on-one as you navigate the financial aid process. Fill out the FAFSA and get informed about your real options. For more information, please visit the Financial Aid homepage.
Gaston College currently does not participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program or with the various private loan servicers; however, the staff in the Financial Aid Office is available to answer questions regarding loans and debt management.
Gaston College realizes that even though loans are not certified by the College that students transfer to our institution with debt. To assist these students, we have additional resources through CFNC that students may find beneficial: a) 20 Things You Need to Know About Financing College, b) Financial Literacy 101, c) Debt Management, and Loan Repayment.
Students who are registered for the upcoming term will be allowed to charge at the Gaston College Bookstore if the student has remaining aid after tuition and fee costs are deducted. Please note: financial aid funds are made available 10 days before the start date of each course. If you have a course that starts after the standard first day of classes, all financial aid funds may not be available at the beginning of the term. Financial aid funds for late-start courses will be available in the bookstore 10 days before the start date. Students may charge after their assigned date but not before.
Student accounts will be billed only for what was spent on their bookstore account before credit refunds are issued. The Financial Aid Office makes every effort to ensure the correct funds are available for use in the bookstore. If a student’s eligibility changes or the student decides to drop or not to attend classes after bookstore purchases are made, the student will be responsible for any charges not covered by financial aid. If a student does not officially drop and is reported as a “No Show” or as “stopped attending” by the instructor, the student will also be responsible for any charges not covered by financial aid.
Scholarships are a great way to fund your education. Gaston has a multitude of scholarship opportunities for students. More and more scholarships are made available every day, and they don’t have to be paid back! You can apply for need-based scholarships, which take into account your financial needs, and/or merit-based scholarships that are awarded for academic and personal achievement.
The Gaston College Foundation offers several scholarships in both categories. Click here to see what scholarships we have available. But don’t stop there; check with your high school guidance counselor for other scholarships that may be available in the community. You can also visit websites, such as FastWeb and College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), that provide free resources and guidance in applying for national and local awards.
Paying your tuition just got easier with Gaston’s Payment Plan. It breaks your expenses into monthly payments, and if you plan ahead, you can pay for a semester’s expenses over three payments. To set up your plan, click here.
4. Veterans Benefits
Financial benefits are available for veterans. Please contact the Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office for more details, or visit our Veterans Affairs homepage.
Many companies provide their employees with aid to spend on college courses. Referred to as “employer tuition assistance,” it’s also often available for employees and/or their dependents. You or your parents should check to see if your employer offers this benefit.
Other employers may participate in programs such as apprenticeships, internships, or work-based learning. They may also offer college scholarships. Again, check with your employer to see if they offer any assistance for college.
6. Working While in College
There are many benefits to working while you are in college. You gain work experience and earn money to defray college costs. It is important to find a good balance of work and academics. Research indicates that working more than 20 hours a week often affects academic performance in a negative way. Ideally, 10-15 work hours per week can help you manage your time and do well in your class work.
If you qualify, you may be eligible to work on campus as a work-study student. Click here to learn more about work-study.
7. Taking a Heavier Class Load?
You may also choose to maximize your tuition. If you think you can handle the academic work load and maintain a good GPA, you may consider taking more than 16 credit hours, as the tuition remains the same, and you do not have to pay more for any courses in excess of 16 credit hours.