How to avoid massive student loan debt AND get a great college education? TCC helps you answer that question!

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Everyone has heard the new figures on student loan debt, and they are mind-boggling. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student loan debt in the United States has now surpassed $1 trillion – that’s more than the total owed by Americans on their credit cards or auto loans. Total student debt is more than five times what it was a dozen years ago.

There are some 37 million people in the U.S. currently holding student debt, with undergraduate student borrowers carrying an average debt load of about $25,000.

But those numbers are a little abstract, so think about this: What would you be able to do if you were able to graduate from college with little or no debt? What could you do with that $25,000?

You could buy a car, maybe. Be able to afford a better apartment – or maybe even a house payment! You also might be able to take a nice vacation.

Now more than ever, Tidewater Community College may not only be the best choice, but one of the smartest ones you can make. TCC offers top-notch educational opportunities and may allow you to complete your chosen field of study on a more sound financial footing.

As a prospective student, you want to find the right “fit,” somewhere that will challenge you while providing the guidance you need to reach your goals – whether that means earning your degree, fine-tuning your skills or beginning a new career.

While four-year Virginia colleges cost on average $10,397 a year in 2013-14, tuition and mandatory fees at TCC in 2014-15 will total less than $5,000 if you take 15 credit hours per semester, less if you take fewer courses at a time. (See box at right for information on grants and scholarships that can further defray the cost.)

You also will save on housing and meals because TCC’s four campuses are located right in your backyard. The advantages of a community college education go beyond financial considerations, though. Benefits include small class sizes and a teaching staff committed to providing individualized attention, along with more night, weekend and online classes for the flexibility to fit your busy schedule.

Taking all these factors into account, the decision to attend TCC might be not only the best choice for your educational future, but a very smart one at that.

FIRST STEPS TO FINANCIAL AID

Read up on paying for college at www.studentaid.ed.gov. Then, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  TCC’s School Code is 003712.

Research available grants and scholarships through TCC, foundations, local companies and other resources. A selection is listed at
www.tcc.edu/scholarships.

Stay plugged in to the process. It’s your responsibility to know how much aid you’re receiving and how much tuition you owe. If you have questions, contact TCC’s Financial Aid offices on all four campuses or call 757-822-1688.

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