Earning a college degree is an excellent way to further your education and expand your job opportunities, but it can also result in some of the most expensive debt you could incur.
It might be tempting to use a credit card to start charging your tuition when the time comes. In theory, this is a good idea, but in practice, it is not the wisest financial move and might put you in even deeper debt. However, there are cases where you can consider using your credit card to pay for college tuition fees, we will cover all you need to know in this article.
Can you use a credit card to pay for college tuition?
Credit card payments are subject to a convenience fee at colleges that accept them. These charges, which typically make up 2-3% or more of the tuition fee, can add up quickly.
In Canada, it can be challenging to see colleges and universities that accept credit cards as a form of payment. You might be able to use a third-party payment site instead, but there will likely be a convenience charge.
For example, if your tuition is $12,000, you will incur an additional $240 to $360 in fees alone. This will almost certainly outweigh any points or cash-back rewards you receive from your credit card. To learn if you can use a credit card to pay for your tuition and other fees, get in touch with the registrar’s office at your school.
Think about using a credit card to pay for college if:
- Credit cards are accepted at your school. It can be challenging to locate a university or college that accepts credit card payments, but if you do, it might be a great opportunity to earn rewards points or cash back.
- Your school does not impose additional costs. Paying with Plastic is a practical method for many purchases. Using your credit card might be a fantastic choice if your college or university does not charge a convenience fee.
- You’re attempting to reach the minimum spending requirement on your credit card in order to qualify for a signup bonus. Numerous sign-up bonuses have a minimum investment requirement of thousands of dollars. Using your card to pay for tuition, which is a sizable expense, could assist you in earning the bonus. Just watch that the cash back, points, or miles you will earn don’t get eaten up by credit card fees.
- You want to pay your tuition within a short period of time. If you anticipate paying the balance in a short period of time—one month or a few—consider using your credit card. You’ll want to let the balance build up over several months to avoid paying interest.
Why you shouldn’t use a credit card to pay for your tuition
- Convenience fees at your school. Consider other payment methods if your college charges a convenience fee for credit card use.
- Use another payment method if you need a few months or even years to pay off your tuition. Interest rates on personal loans and student loans are frequently much lower than those on credit cards.
- Not all schools accept credit cards. You might want to choose a different payment method if your school doesn’t accept credit cards.
Other Options for Paying for College Tuition
1. Request financial assistance.
- Canada Student Loan and Grant Program – Financial aid for students is offered by the federal government in the form of grants and loans.
- OSAP – Ontario Student Assistance Program – In Ontario, the OSAP is the primary source of financial assistance for post-secondary education. The website provides details on loans and a list of institutions that qualify for them. Students can check the status of their application online, and there is an online application form as well.
2. Look into available scholarships.
Many students qualify for partial or full scholarships due to their academic achievement, participation in sports, extenuating circumstances like a disability, membership in a protected minority group, or living below the federal poverty level. Scholarships are available from a wide range of institutions, so do your homework before paying your tuition in full.
3. Check to see if your school offers installment payment plans.
Last but not the least, think about contacting your university directly if you are unable to find a scholarship that meets your needs. Numerous institutions provide payment plans so that you can pay for your tuition over time in smaller, more manageable amounts.
Other Ways to Pay Your College Tuition Fee
You might be able to pay for your tuition using one of these alternatives rather than using a credit card:
- Direct deposit (This is usually the only method of payment offered by many universities across Canada.)
- Money order
While attending college is a great way to advance your education and increase your employment prospects, if you’re not careful, it could also leave you with a huge debt load. While putting your college tuition fee on a credit card may seem convenient, it is ultimately preferable to look into scholarships and other forms of financial aid that do not have high-interest rates.
If you find that you are having difficulty paying back your student loan because of other debts, such as credit cards or loans, EmpireOne Credit can help. You can get your finances back in order with a free consultation. Make an appointment with us today.