Miami Dade College Student Loans

College University CafeteriaWith seven campuses, three centers, and multiple outreach centers, Miami Dade College is supported by the state of Florida and the largest institution of higher education in the United States, serving close to 165,000 students. Miami Dade offers associate’s and bachelor’s degree options as well as certificate programs and adult continuing education opportunities. With a diverse cultural community, the average student age is 26 and close to 60% of attendees are enrolled part-time. With evening, morning, weekend, and even online or distance options, Miami Dade is a viable option for a wide range of students.

While technically a large school, Miami Dade maintains small class sizes with low teacher-to-student ratios to ensure quality interactions between students as well as students and professors. Each campus offers a multitude of student activities, clubs, and organizations for students to get involved in. Positive social interaction can be just as important as academic enrichment. Miami Dade College is a diverse and thriving cultural and academic forum.

Total Cost of Attendance

When determining how much money to budget for college, there are many factors to consider, including the cost of living near your chosen school. Miami Dade College is a commuter school, meaning that students live off campus and commute to campus. This means that students may pay rent, unless living at home, and incur transportation costs as well. Rent in Miami-Dade County averages around $1,869 a month for a one-bedroom apartment according to Splitting the cost with a roommate or two can help lower your overall costs. Choosing to live outside of the Miami city limits may lower your rent costs.

Consider alternative forms of transportation to cut costs also. For example, carpooling will not only save you gas money but may also qualify you to use expressways without paying tolls if you register your vehicle with the South Florida Commuter Services. Not only is public transit a greener option for commuting, it can also save you money. Full-time students of Miami Dade College can receive discounts of 50% for Miami-Dade Transit and Tri-Rail passes to ride the bus, Express Bus, Metro-rail, or Tri-rail. Also do not forget to include incidentals and personal expenses when budgeting.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates per term for the 2014-2015 academic school year at Miami Dade College for full-time students (taking at least 12 credits) are as follows:

These fees include tuition as well as fees for student services, financial aid, transportation, capital improvement, parking and access, and technology. Certain classes or fields of study may have slightly higher or lower tuition and fees. If you are a Florida resident attending Miami Dade college full-time for four years, you should plan on paying at least $11,157.12 in tuition and fees, plus a $30 application for admission fee. This total does not include room and board, personal expenses, or books and supplies.

Affording College

Miami Dade is an affordable option for higher education; however, most of the time, savings  and budgeting still aren’t enough to cover the costs. In fact the National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2012 as many as 85% of full-time undergraduate students at four-year degree-granting institutions received some form of financial aid. Financial aid may come in the form of grants or scholarships, which are considered gift money that doesn’t have to be paid back. You can also take out student loans, or borrow money, in order to pay for college.

Financial aid is generally disbursed directly to your school into your school account and used to pay for tuition and school fees, usually up to twice a year. After those are paid, any remaining money will be refunded to you to cover any other education-related expenses, such as room and board, transportation, a computer, books, and even child care.

Scholarship Opportunities

College Student in LibraryScholarships can come from a variety of sources. Many are based on merit, including artistic, athletic, or academic ability while others may be based on race, ethnicity, or gender. Non-profits and many other private organizations also offer scholarships. Some require membership and others want you to provide certain information or write an essay. Be sure to thoroughly research the vast majority of scholarship opportunities. Miami Dade College itself expects to award $7.5 million in scholarships this year alone. Scholarships will vary in award amount and type.

Miami Dade College also offers Bright Futures Medallion Scholars program, which covers full tuition costs for recipients. Contact your campus financial aid coordinator for more information on these and other scholarship opportunities directly through Miami Dade. Grants are also forms of free money for college and can come from state and federal agencies as well as schools. In order to apply for these, you must fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Work-Study Programs

Another option for funding at Miami Dade College is the Federal Work-Study Program. If you qualify for this program, by demonstrating financial need,  you can work part-time either on campus or off campus for a public or non-profit organization in a capacity that serves the community. Miami Dade College participates in a community service program wherein Federal Work-Study participants tutor elementary students in the Miami-Dade Public School System, for example. The Work-Study Program strives to place you in a job that relates to your course of study and is flexible with your class schedule. Since you are working for your funding, you do not have to pay these funds back.

The Florida Work Experience Program (FWEP) is another work-study program for Florida residents meeting financial aid criteria. This program offers part-time positions both on and off campus in an effort to enhance students’ career goals. Institutional Work-Study offers part-time clerical and administrative positions on campus within different departments in a first-come, first-served capacity as well.

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Types of Student Loans