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How Can I Afford to Go to College?

A student seated at a table works on her laptop

For many students, cost is one of the most important factors in the college decision. You already know it’s an investment in your future, but it may seem overwhelming to see thousands of dollars as the tuition rate. It may leave you thinking, ‘How is it possible to pay for my college education while attending school?’ 

It’s an important question to consider, but it helps to understand all of the resources available to help fund an education. Let’s take a look at some of the many ways you can afford higher education. 

Tuition Rate

Start by comparing tuition rates. You’ll want to be sure you can get a quality education at an affordable rate. Eastern Kentucky University offers a competitive rate, and out-of-state students can attend for less than many schools in their home state. And by earning a degree in a high-demand field, your investment often more than pays for itself within just a few years of graduation.  

Financial Aid

Financial aid is a key component of paying for your college education by supplementing what you and your family can contribute. It’s awarded in three basic forms:

  • Grants and scholarships, which do not have to be repaid

  • Loans, which must be repaid

  • Work study and part-time job opportunities on campus 

Consider this: More than 80 percent of EKU students rely on some type of financial aid. With refunds applied, the average full-time, in-state EKU student pays just $5,096 per year, including tuition, fees, dining and housing. Plus, many students find opportunities for part-time work on campus and within the local community. 

The first step to determining your financial aid package is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As some grant funds are limited, you’ll want to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible, beginning October 1. Learn more about financial aid


Think you need to be a star athlete to get a college scholarship? Not so! Many schools offer scholarships based on your high school academics. At EKU, these are called Merit Scholarships and they’re automatically applied. For in-state students, Merit Scholarships range from $3,000 for a minimum 3.0 high school GPA all the way to full in-state tuition for a 3.8 or higher GPA and 28 or higher ACT score. Scholarships based on diversity, financial need and other factors are available for in-state students with a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. It’s not too late to get a merit scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year—the scholarship acceptance timeline has been extended, and students can still receive scholarships now until funds run out. Even more scholarships with varying amounts and criteria are offered through the EKU Foundation. Use our handy tool to estimate your scholarship amount.  

Other Cost-Saving Perks

In addition to tuition, other expenses make up the full cost of attendance. For example, you’ll need books and course materials each semester. At EKU, textbooks are free for all undergraduate students in Fall 2021 with EKU BookSmart. This new initiative represents an average savings of $1,200 per year for you. Plus, with a waived application fee, you can apply to EKU for free! It’s less expenses for you to worry about so you can stay focused on your success. 

Remember, there are many options for funding your education! Oftentimes, the greater your financial need, the greater the assistance you’ll be eligible to receive. 

 Talk to an admissions counselor to get started in the right direction toward your goals.

Published on May 07, 2021

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