Sell Your Body Legally Of Course
Its not uncommon to hear of students selling blood and plasma to make a little extra money. Though amounts vary from place to place, youre not likely to make enough selling plasma to pay for your entire degree. If youre up for it, fertility clinics often pay up to $100 for a sperm donation and $8,000 for an egg donation. Of course, these donations come with huge long-term outcomes, and should be thoroughly thought through before any commitments are made. Egg donors, for example, must go through a rigorous screening process which includes genetic testing, blood work, and even a psychological evaluation before their donation can be accepted.
Shift Income To Find Tax Breaks
Careful tax planning could help you essentially create your own financial aid. Krishnaswamy points out that parents who are sitting on large stock market gains could give that stock to a child the child then sells the stock to fund college costs. This works because the childs tax rate is typically much lower than the parents.
If the stock sale lets the student pay at least 50% of college costs, the IRS might see that student as an independent tax filer, and therefore eligible for the $2,500 annual American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Some tax credits can only be used to offset taxes owed. Others can be refunded and some are hybrids. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a hybrid just $1,000 of that tax credit is refundable, so a student would need income to take maximum advantage. That income might come from a family business, where legitimate employment is another way to shift income from the parents tax bracket to the childs.
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Serve In The Military
If you cant afford college, the U.S. military may be able to help. Programs such as ROTC will pay for your college education in exchange for military service upon graduation.
The details vary based on your school and the specific branch of the military. Check out these resources to learn more:
If youve already completed military service, you may be eligible for education benefits under the GI Bill. The specific benefits depend on the details of your military service and the institution you plan to attend. Learn more on the VA website.
I Spent My First Two Years At A Community College
Spending my first two years of school at a community college was the biggest money-saving tactic I used to pay for school.
When I first set out to go to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, and realized that I could get all of my general education requirements out of the way at a local two-year community college at a much lower rate that a four-year school would have cost me.
Apply For Private Scholarships
There are thousands of scholarships available to make college more affordable. And heres more good news you dont need to have straight As to qualify for many of these scholarships.
Start your scholarship search by combing through local newspapers and library websites to find announcements about upcoming scholarship deadlines. Many local businesses, charitable groups, and other community organizations award scholarships to local students. You may need to write an essay or two, but you can handle that!
These scholarships may only amount to a few hundred dollars each, but if you qualify for several local scholarships that could be enough money to buy books for the entire school year. College Foundation of North Carolina is a great place to start researching local scholarships and to find free scholarship tips.
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Choose A Community College
When it comes to higher education, there are many options available to college students. One option is to attend a local community college.
Community colleges offer an affordable way to earn an associates degree or complete the first two years of a four-year college degree program. In addition, public schools and colleges offer the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the workforce.
For example, many community colleges offer certificate programs that can lead to jobs in healthcare, business, and technology. As a result, community college provides an affordable and flexible way to achieve your educational goals.
Learning how to pay for college without parents or loans can be difficult, but it is possible. By taking advantage of scholarships and community colleges, you can save money on your education and still invest in your future.
I Have Zero Time For The Fafsa
Yes theres some time involved. The FAFSA does take about an hour to complete, and the prep leading up to it could take even longer. It could include gathering Social Security numbers, federal income tax returns , W-2 forms, bank statements and any investment information such as real estate, stocks and more.
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Take More Credits Per Term
If you are paying full-time tuition, most colleges do not differentiate between 12 credits and 21 credits. Check with the college of your choice to see if they charge a flat rate for full-time students.
If you want to reduce the expenses associated with your college degree, taking as many credits as possible is one of the best ways to graduate early without paying any extra money in tuition.
Choose Your School Wisely
Contrary to popular belief, this doesnt always mean choosing the school with the lowest sticker price. If you can qualify to get into an elite Ivy League school, for instance, you might find that they charge absolutely no tuition. Some of the most well-known schools have the most robust financial aid programs, even for upper-middle-income families.
The key here is to apply broadly to different schools. Try some local schools, which well talk about in a moment, that have a lower sticker price. But consider more prestigious, expensive schools, too. Then, compare the schools based on their actual cost after non-loan financial aid is applied.
Once this is done, choose a school that you can afford, but one that also has a strong program for your area of interest. Remember, future employers care less than youd think which school your degree comes from, as long as you have taken the right courses and excelled in your program.
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Seek Grants And Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are gifts provided by an organization for you to use toward school tuition or other educational costs. Unlike with student loans, you have no obligation to repay any grant or scholarship you receive. The federal and state governments also award grants and scholarships. One well-known generous subsidy comes in the form of the federal Pell Grant. This need-based award is worth up to $6,195 for the 2019-2020 school year. Students from families with substantial financial need are the main recipients of Pell Grants. Grant money is also targeted to students with specific career plans or family circumstances: for instance, the federal government has grants for prospective teachers who agree to spend at least four years working in low-income schools, as well as to children of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to grants from Uncle Sam and the states, billions of dollars of private scholarships are awarded each year, according to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Society. Private scholarships support a wide variety of causes, so you can probably find a scholarship targeting your situation. Organizations grant scholarships based on certain qualifying conditions, including student majors, disabilities and residency. You can also find scholarships for women, veterans, and minorities, among others.
Check out our scholarship search to find scholarship and grant programs based on your specific needs.
Reasons To Avoid Student Loans
Student loans can be a helpful way to finance your education, but they can also be a burden. Here are some reasons to avoid taking out student loans:
- Youll have to pay them back eventually, and student loans have to be repaid with interest. That means youll ultimately end up paying more for your education than you would have if youd paid for it out of pocket, which is why you should consider other ways to pay for college.
- Student loans can limit your options. You may feel you have to work at a job you dont like just to make the monthly payments. Or, if youre considering furthering your education, you may decide against it because you dont want to take on more debt.
- They can impact your credit score. Student loans appear on your credit report and missed or late payments can damage your credit score. That can make it harder to get approved for other types of loans, like a mortgage or car loan.
Be sure to consider all of the potential repercussions before you decide to take out a student loan. You may find that its better to finance your education another way.
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Do All Private Student Loans Require A Cosigner
Luckily, not all private student loan lenders require you to have a cosigner. Of the 12 lenders we looked at, only CommonBond required borrowers to have a cosigner to qualify for a loan. Most of the other 11 lenders encouraged borrowers to add a cosigner to their application however, if you meet their credit and income requirements, you can get a loan on your own. MPOWER does not consider cosigners when approving student loans.
However, meeting the requirements while still in school can be difficult. Of the lenders that listed their minimum incomes for non-cosigned loan applicants, Ascent had the lowest minimum at $24,000. Other lenders had income requirements of $30,000 and up. If you’re in school full-time, it can be difficult to find a job that allows you to earn that much while juggling your coursework, which is why having a cosigner can be so advantageous.
International students in the U.S. are far less likely to find a student loan that doesn’t require a cosigner, although there are some available at select institutions.
Start Planning Sooner Rather Than Later
The sooner you start preparing for college costs, the easier it will be to avoid student loan debt. If youre a parent, start saving with a 529 plan or Coverdell ESA when your children are young. And if youre a high school student, expand your search for a college that can give you a good education without forcing you to rack up massive student loan balances.
Whatever you do, consider student loans as a last resort to pay for college instead of the default solution. Itll require more effort now, but itll all be worth it when you graduate with less debt or none at all.
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Where To Go First
To help you learn how to get money for college, consult with your high school counselors and/or your university’s financial aid office. Schedule an appointment, and they will help you find programs, scholarships, and grants to suit your needs. Also, file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid . At the very least, FAFSA enables you to receive federal loans or grants, should you be eligible for aid.
Go To Community College First
All over America, including your hometown, we have these wonderful schools known as community colleges. And I love them. Want to know why? Because they allow people to get valuable college credits on their way to a degree at much cheaper rates than if theyd enrolled in a four-year school right out of high school. They can knock out the basics at a community college for two years, then transfer to a school that offers bachelors degrees for years three and four.
And while Im on the subject, let me deal with a myth I run into all the time. A lot of people seem to think doing their first two years at a community college will hurt them when they go to interview for jobs after graduation. The truth is that few employersif anyeven notice it when applicants only attended two years at the school they graduate from. The main thing theyre looking at is whether you have a degree, and after that, what you studied.
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Pick Up Some Paid Tasks
Paid tasks are an excellent way to earn some extra money for college, as they can often be done quickly and on your own schedule. Join apps like Task Rabbit or CashApp to find local tasks that fit your lifestyle. Tasks include everything from painting a living room for a neighbor to playing a new mobile game for an hour. Simply choose the tasks you have the time to complete, and make some money! If you have more time to spare, check out the website Outsourcely, which offers temporary virtual assistant jobs to students and other hustlers.
Take Advantage Of Tax Credits
Tax credits are often overlooked as a way to reduce the cost of college. However, there are several tax credits available that can help offset the cost of tuition and other school expenses.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit, for example, offers up to $2,500 per year for qualified taxpayers. Meanwhile, Lifetime Learning Credit provides up to $2,000 per tax return for taxpayers pursuing continuing education courses.
Tax credits can be used in conjunction with student loans to reduce the overall cost of college. As a result, taking advantage of tax credits can be a great alternative to student loans.
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Income Contingent College Money
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid compiles information about your family finances, and your ability to pay for college. Income and family size are used to determine how much money your family can reasonably devote to college expenses. Your Expected Family Contribution is used to calculate the difference between what you can afford, and what your education costs.
Your personal Student Aid Report paints a cash-flow picture for individual colleges to use as they draw from all the available financial aid resources to create your individual financial aid offer. The first aid sources that are tapped for needy students include federal and state grants.
The Department of Education Pell Grant program provides substantial relief for low-income college students. Eligibility is determined based on the information drawn from your FAFSA. Four important criteria influence the amount of your Pell Grant:
Pell maximums hover around $5000 per student, for each academic year, based on congressional funding. FAFSA results are generally sufficient, but some students are asked to provide additional documentation before being considered for this need-based grant.
Other federal grants have specific eligibility requirements that go beyond financial need.
Take A Heavier Course Load
Many students will only take the minimum requirements each semester. But you may also choose to save money on college tuition by taking more courses per semester, thus shortening the amount of time youâll need to be in school.
You also may find that by attending classes in the summer, you save money since the cost of tuition is often lower. Some students also take summer courses at local community colleges, which can save money.
Students might also save money by staying in their college town during the summer. That way, they can keep their summer job and earn more money.
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Live In A City That Offers Free College Tuition
This is hard to find, but it is possible. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, there is a program called the Kalamazoo Promise that guarantees payment of tuition and fees for a bachelors degree or 130 credit hours to all students who live in Kalamazoo County and attend all four years of high school at a Kalamazoo public high school. Graduating high school seniors have up to 10 years to begin their college education and receive the scholarship. There are 15 Michigan universities and colleges, as well as 29 community colleges, that honor the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship.
Other cities offering their own promise scholarships include Peoria , Rockford , El Dorado , Denver , Pittsburgh , New Haven , and Detroit , Muskegon , and Jackson .
Attend A Community College
A great way to pay for college without financial aid is to drastically reduce how much school will cost by enrolling at a local community college. Living at home and taking classes is a very affordable option to complete required courses before attending a four-year college or university.
Talk to your academic advisor about your educational goals. Create a plan, so youre confident the classes youre taking now, will transfer to a four-year school down the road.
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Take Required Core Classes At The Local Community College
Every college degree includes a big selection of core classes that every student is required to take, regardless of major. That means even if you plan on studying art history, a class on biology or human anatomy is still required. The good news is that many of these basic core classes are transferable. This means you can take them at the local community college and transfer the credits back to your degree at your college or university. Youll save a ton of money for the same exact credit.
How To Pay For College Without Student Loans
13 Minute Read | September 28, 2021
Are you worried about how youre going to afford to send your kids to college? Youre in some very good company.
I talk with parents all the time who dream of providing their children with the best higher education possible. But with the cost of college rising every year, financial concerns usually dominate the conversation. And thats totally understandable! After all, look at these average price tags for yearly tuition and fees:
- Public two-year college for in-district students: $3,770
- Public four-year college for in-state students: $10,560
- Public four-year college for out-of-state students: $27,020
- Private four-year college: $37,6501
No matter which college route you choose, its expensive. And paying for it has become one of the biggest economic problems in America today. Do you compromise on the dream of helping your child go to college and maybe limit their future prospects? Or do you do the “normal” thing and take out student loans to ensure they have a shot at a great career?
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