Creative Ways to Pay For College
When it comes to paying for college, many students and their families look to getting scholarships, grants, and loans. While these are fantastic forms of financial aid, they aren’t the only options. Saving money early on before it’s time to head off to college and practicing money-saving tips can help just about every student. On top of receiving financial aid, what are some other ways to pay for college? Let’s get creative!
Take Community College Classes in High School
Students in their final two years of high school can look into getting some general education classes out of the way at their local community college either for free or for a very low cost. If interested, pop into your counselor’s office to ask for more information about what classes transfer over to your desired colleges to fulfill requirements, where you can take these classes, how it works, and how to sign up.
Taking community college classes in high school will not only save you money, but can also put you on track to graduate sooner if you plan right. By getting general education classes out of the way quickly, you can focus on the classes required for your major and be on your way to pursuing your career sooner! That being said, if you have a manageable workload and are feeling up for the challenge of picking up an extra community college class or two during your junior or senior year of high school, you could end up saving yourself thousands in tuition!
Consider Transfer Options
If you aren’t able to take community college in high school, you can still save in tuition and room and board fees. Many high school graduates pay for college by attending a local community college for the first two years, and then transferring to a four-year college. Tuition becomes much more affordable this way, and in turn, can make it loads easier to pay for that Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, numerous students going to community college stay home with their parents and are able to save money on rent. Remember that every little expense will add up quickly over time!
Get a Part-Time Job
You may have heard the saying, “a penny earned is a penny saved.” This is why so many high school students pick up part-time jobs after school hours to earn some extra cash. Not only is this a good way to save up for college, but you’ll also get some work experience and a feel for what it’s like to work under someone and with co-workers. Most of the job offerings for those without a high school diploma yet will most likely be minimum wage, but something is better than nothing. Weekends are a good time to stack up more hours if possible, and make more money to put towards college later on!
Go the Military Route
While the military route may not be a good fit for everyone looking to save money and afford college, it’s definitely a promising one for the right candidates. It can offer a college education, service to the country, and little to no college loan debt. Sounds sweet right? Here are a few options to consider:
Students who serve full-time in the military before going to college can earn and save up to $50,000 towards college expenses. Those who would rather serve part-time in the Reserves can receive up to $24,000 towards college expenses, in exchange for a commitment of a weekend per month and two training weeks per year.
If you’d rather go to college before the military, then the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) may be a solid choice. It offers merit-based scholarships for students to pay for college, while asking for three to four years of military commitment after graduation.
The Military College Loan Repayment is another option for students wanting to get their college degrees before entering the military. How it works is basically, the military will make payments to your lender to help you afford college after graduation. Qualifying criteria will differ from one service branch to another, so we advise looking into each if this interests you.
Does having someone else pay for college sound appealing to you? Students with a Congressional appointment to a United States military academy get 100% of college expenses covered by the military! The catch is that students have to serve as full-time members of the military during school, and make a 5-year commitment after graduation.
There are plenty of ways to afford college in addition to getting scholarships, grants, and loans. If all else fails, use the Internet. With college costs going up every year, more organizations are stepping up to create ways to help aspiring students pay for college. By securing a couple of scholarships or grants under your belt, coupled with the money-saving tips above, you will hopefully be able to go to college without bearing as much of the financial burden.