How to Pay for College the Smart Way

Learn how to lower your out-of-pocket costs and avoid student debt

Even with low tuition, funding your education can be complicated at times. We’re here to help!

Let’s look at the possibilities to reduce your total costs, pay for college, and support you while attending college. Below you’ll find three scenarios displayed that are typical of many students. Choose the one closest to your situation to gain a better understanding of how the funding all works together.

Already you’ve started at the right place: Colorado Mountain College offers the lowest tuition rates in Colorado.


Paying for College: See How It Works in Four Student Scenarios

We made up three different student scenarios — you're probably in similar circumstances to one of them. We used real costs and the most common types of financial aid and scholarships that fit our example students. You'll get a good picture of how it all works to help you pay for college.

Student Scenario: Kiera

Kiera graduated this year from a local high school in the CMC district. She plans to enroll in an Associate of Arts program full-time in the fall and plans on transferring after completing her degree.

Kiera is going to live at home with her mother to save money while attending CMC. As an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, Kiera is considered a dependent of her mother for financial aid purposes. Her mother makes $32,000 per year.



Student Scenario: Adrian

Adrian is a 30-year-old restaurant employee who lives alone in an apartment in Breckenridge, Colorado. He has a tuition classification of in-district. Adrian plans to go to school part-time (6 credit hours a semester) and pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. Adrian works full-time and earns about $30,000 per year


student avatar, adrian

Student Scenario: Mario

Mario is a recent high school graduate from Austin, Texas. He is going to attend the Steamboat Springs Campus as a full-time student. Mario has to live on campus as a new college student and is going to pursue a bachelor's degree in Sustainability Studies. Mario is a dependent of his parents who filled out the FAFSA and reported an income of $40,000 per year. Mario's father is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.


student avatar, Mario

Funding Options


Federal and State Financial Aid

Commonly referred to as the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is your first step. Find out if you are eligible for valuable grants, student loans and work-study jobs. Never assume that you won't qualify! Fill out the form and get informed about your real options. To get started, go to FAFSA.

For complete information, see Financial Aid



Scholarships are a great way to fund your education. More and more are made available every day, and they don't have to be paid back! You can apply for financial need-based scholarships, and/or merit-based scholarships that are awarded for academic and personal achievement. CMC offers several scholarships in both categories, but don't stop there! Visit FastWeb for access to thousands of national awards.

CMC Scholarship Information


Payment Plan

Paying your tuition is easy with CMC's Payment Plan. It breaks your expenses into monthly payments, and by planning ahead, you can pay for a semester's expenses over four or five months.

See Payment Plans


Veterans' Benefits

Financial benefits are available for veterans attending CMC. Please contact us at for assistance.

graphic - veterans' benefits at CMC

FAFSA promotion: 85% chance for college financial aid, just by filling out the FAFSA, 23 minutes average time to complete the FAFSA, $2.4 billion unused financial aid still available.