by Lisa Thompson

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how to pay for college. Don’t price yourself out before you have all the details. Here are some of the most common myths and the facts you need to know as you begin exploring your options.


  • MYTH 1: Most colleges cost around $40,000 a year in tuition.
    FACT: There are some private colleges out there that cost that much or more each year. But they are the exception. Public two-year colleges and most public four-year colleges and universities charge much less. Few students actually pay the full price. View tuition and fees for Minnesota institutions.
  • MYTH 2: I can't afford to go to college. Only rich people can send their kids to college.
    FACT: Okay, so college isn’t free. But financial aid may be available, especially if you’re from a low- or middle-income family. "Need-based" aid is awarded based on income and assets. The higher the total cost of a college, the easier it is to demonstrate your need for financial aid. Learn how financial need is determined.
  • MYTH 3: I know I won’t qualify for financial aid so I shouldn’t bother applying.
    FACT: The truth is, you never know how much you may be eligible to receive unless you apply. You do this using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many factors go into determining how much aid students can receive. Want a better idea of how much state and federal aid you might receive? Try out the Minnesota financial aid estimator.
  • MYTH 4: Only “straight A” students get scholarships.
    FACT: There are scholarships for all types of students with different skills and talents. While some scholarships are awarded based on academic grades, many others are awarded to students for special talents (like in art, science, or sports) or cultural or religious background. Some are awarded based on financial need. Check out these scholarships sites.
  • MYTH 5: I'll be the only student at my college that receives financial aid.
    FACT: Actually, you’ll be in good company. Most students receive some type of financial aid to help pay for college. On average, 60 percent or more of students attending four-year colleges and universities in Minnesota receive aid.


Do your research, and never assume you can’t go to college because of cost. You have options (even if you think you don’t).


Have financial aid questions? Learn where to go to find answers and review frequently asked financial aid questions.


2 thoughts on “5 Myths About Paying for College

  1. Lisa, thank you for your very informative and helpful post! I truly wish that I had taken a more active and inquisitive role in finding options for funding my education back when I began this journey. I had always assumed I would not be eligible for scholarships for some reason or another, and I was never aware of the scholarship services and websites such as the ones you shared. I now realize that I may have had a chance at receiving scholarships. In addition, I feel as though there are so many options out there to pay for college in a more responsible way than simply taking out mountain of debt. I know individuals who have joined the military to help them attain their educational goals and gain excellent life/work skills, and I have also come across information on rural programs that provide incentives to professionals interested in working in under populated areas. Work studies are another great option that also allow a student to gain experience and receive references. Sites such as ISEEK are so appreciated by persons such as myself who are constantly feeling as though factual answers and advice are difficult to find in the ever changing job market, and I will definitely encourage the younger generations and new students to explore sites such as these and carefully consider all of their options before choosing a field and finding ways to pay for their educational journey.  Thank you again!


  2. Good tips, I didn't think I would ever receive any financial aid and ended up with some.  There's a little extra help out there for almost everyone


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