Paying for College in Installments - COLLEGEdata - Pay Your Way
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Paying for College in Installments

It can be challenging to pay for a whole college term in one lump sum. That's where installment plans come in.

Many colleges offer payment plans that allow you to pay your college bill over time. Here's how they work.

Deferred College Payment Plans are Like No-Interest Loans

Deferred payment plans, also known as installment plans, are a convenience to help you manage college expenses. Instead of paying your college bill for a semester or quarter at once, you pay in monthly installments. Your bill, which includes charges for tuition, and room and board if living on campus, must be paid off by the end of that academic period. Most plans do not charge interest if you pay by check or direct deposit. However, like private loans, you must have a good credit history to qualify for them.

Sign Up for Payment Deferment Well Before Classes Start

Don't show up on the first day of classes expecting to automatically qualify for an installment plan. You should discuss any payment plans as soon as possible with your college. The plan may be handled by a private company or by the college. In either case, you will usually pay a relatively small service fee. The first payment of an installment plan is normally due at registration and may be the largest. If you enroll at a college that does not offer such a plan, its financial aid office may be able to refer you to a private commercial tuition management company that does.

Beware of Extra Costs

Service fees for installment plans can run as high as nearly three percent. Some colleges charge an additional fee if you pay by credit card or pay late. To determine your college's policy, check with its bursar's office.

What's Next?

Note: Financial information provided on this site is of a general nature and may not apply to your situation. Contact a financial or tax advisor before acting on such information.

For Students Age 18 and Older

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
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Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

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Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.