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Creative Ways to Pay for College

Financial Aid

Before you start looking into other ways to pay for your college experience, filling out the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important first step. Depending on your academic history and current financial situation, you might qualify for multiple student grants and scholarships without having to put in any additional effort. Even if you aren’t awarded enough money, the FAFSA is also a requirement for students who eventually apply for student loans.

The FAFSA isn’t the only way to earn college grants and scholarships. Many private companies and other organizations hold special programs or contests specifically for aspiring students. While many are based on grade point average or academic merit, others are less conventional. Duck® Tape offers $10,000 to high school students who make the best prom wear out of Duck brand duct tape. The American Fire Sprinkler Association is willing to give you $20,000 to pursue a college degree or trade school education if you can write a convincing essay about the life-saving properties of automatic fire sprinklers. The National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) has awarded more than $300,000 to aviation students who support LGBT rights. 

Find a Part-Time Job

Even if you qualify for a number of strange and generous grants, you’ll likely need some form of income while you’re going to school. A part-time job is one of the most reliable ways to earn consistent money, but it’s important to find a position that accommodates your school schedule. Fortunately, there are a number of jobs that have flexible hours. Look through newspapers or online listings for positions such as:

  • Restaurant Host/Hostess: As long as you can find shifts outside of class and homework hours, working at a restaurant can make you some significant cash. Weekends bring in plenty of customers, especially on a college campus, allowing you to make lots of tips.
  • Freelance Writer: Freelance writing allows you to pursue work as frequently or sparingly as you’d like. If your writing is good enough, websites and magazines might be willing to publish and pay you for it. However, the amount of money you make is directly linked to your skills and how often you can find work.
  • On-Campus Jobs: Many college campuses offer jobs to their students. If you’re lucky, you might even find a position working in your field of study.

Lower Your Expenses

If the cost of going to college is still too steep for you, it might be best to lower your expectations in terms of accommodations, lifestyle and the types of education opportunities you pursue. Instead of going straight to a four-year university, consider starting at a local community college. Take two years to get all your general requirements out of the way before re-enrolling at a larger college when you know exactly what you want to study.

No matter the size of the college you plan on enrolling in, living at home can save you a significant amount of money. Even the price of gas to and from campus each day won’t be nearly as expensive as paying for room and board on or near campus.

Student Loan Counseling in Seattle

Unsure how to pay for school? Feeling overwhelmed by student debt? American Financial Solutions is here to help you find financial solutions to improve your life. Our certified counselors will work with you and your loan providers to ensure the best outcome for your personal goals. Contact us online to speak with a counselor today.

Published Jun 6, 2017.