Find A Job That Offers Tuition Benefits
Just dont forget, the FAFSA isnt the only place you can go for financial support. Consider getting a job with an employer that offers tuition benefits. If you already have a job, find out if your employer has a tuition assistance program. Your employer wants you to get your college education, so you may be surprised at the willingness to help you with the process.
Fill Out The Fafsa Anyway
U.S. schools use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid. Some wealthy parents skip filling out the forms, and that can be a mistake.
Even if you dont get need-based aid, the FAFSA can open doors to financial aid sources that arent based on need from states or private scholarship organizations. For example, any student in Tennessee can apply for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, which offers awards to pay tuition and fees for associates degrees at eligible post-secondary institutions. To apply, you must complete the FAFSA.
Individual schools sometimes also offer scholarships to desirable students . They may not have to prove need, but again, they often do need to fill out the FAFSA. The form is also the only way to access low-cost federal student loans.
A completed FAFSA is helpful if your family or financial situation changes, too. For example, the expected family contribution gets divided by the number of kids you have in school at the same time, says Robert Falcon, who heads both Falcon Wealth Managers and College Funding Solutions in the Philadelphia, PA area.
If a $300,000 income means an expected family contribution of $80,000, you might not get any aid when one kid is in school, he says. But you will get aid if you have two or more kids attending schools that cost $70,000 a year.
Apply For Federal Aid And Grants
If youve talked to anyone about going to college, then youre probably very familiar with the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA provides federal and state student loans and grants using your financial need to determine eligibility.
|Whats the Difference Between Grants and Scholarships?|
|No, unless used for non-degree expenses or awarded in exchange for work||No, unless used for non-degree expenses or awarded in exchange for work|
If youre going to accept student loans, federal loans offer the best interest rates and flexibility. FAFSA also determines your eligibility for government grants like the Pell Grant, which offers up to $6,345 of assistance per academic year.
Grants can be provided by other public and private entities, too. Theyre typically awarded based on personal characteristics including minority groups, those with financial needs, soldiers, and more. Your chosen career can also play a role, so search for companies and industry associations youre interested in to see what opportunities are available.
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Financial Aid Options: How To Pay For School Without Student Loans
Want to say no to student loans? This section will outline realistic financial strategies to help you do that.
Your options for paying for school without loans largely depend on your financial status. Many non-loan financial aid options are need-based, so students who demonstrate high financial need tend to have more aid opportunities. There are some merit-only aid options that dont take financial need into account – if you dont demonstrate much financial need, those options will be a good place to start.
Before you start considering non-loan payment strategies, you may find it helpful to estimate your own financial need. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what aid options are available to you. Unfortunately, the amount you believe your family can afford doesnt always match up with the amount that aid sources determine you can afford.
To get a realistic idea of what many need-based aid sources will expect your family to contribute, check out the FAFSA4caster:
- Enter in relevant financial information to get an unofficial EFC, or Expected Family Contribution
- The federal government, schools, and some need-based aid sources use this number to make an assessment of your familys financial need
- The lower your EFC, the more aid you’re likely to be eligible for
Once you make this estimate, you’ll know whether you should focus on the need-based aid options.
Consider Finding A Job
If you cant qualify for a scholarship or dont meet the FAFSA eligibility requirements, working a part-time or full-time job while studying might be the best way to pay for college and avoid taking out student loans. The money you earn from your job can cover the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses.
Working while in college can be challenging, but its often worth the effort. Not only will you be able to avoid student loans, but youll also gain valuable work experience that can help you after graduation.
So, if you are able to find a job while you are in school, its definitely an option worth considering as an alternative to taking out student loans.
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Apply For Grants And Scholarships
Before turning to other forms of debt, such as applying for private student loans, exhaust all your other financial aid options. You may be able to qualify for state or federal grants and scholarships, as well as ones from nonprofit organizations and private companies.
Unlike loans, which have to be repaid with interest, grants and scholarships dont typically require repayment. In most cases, you never have to repay them. Plus, you can combine multiple grants and scholarships to pay for school, reducing how much you need to borrow.
Crowdfund Your College Tuition
If you dont have the savings but a huge network of friends, then you may be able to crowdfund your education. There are even crowdfunding sites dedicated to covering college costs. Since crowdfunding donations are essentially a gift, you wont have to pay back the costs and may not have to worry about taxes.
On the other hand, if your campaign isnt successful, you wont be able to keep any of the money donated. While the campaign is free to launch, it will require a significant amount of your time to promote it.
Make sure you have a few donors willing to contribute and share right off the bat to increase your chances of success. Its also a good idea to keep your goal small. You can always raise it later, but you dont want to fall short and lose your contributions.
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Search For Scholarships And Grants
There are countless scholarships and grants available for students. Some are awarded based on financial need while others are given for merit in academics, athletics, community service, or something else.
Students can look for scholarships and grants offered by the school theyll be attending or by non-profit and private organizations. There are also state-based scholarships and grants that may be available.
Best of all, this type of aid doesnt have to be repaid like student loans.
I Have Privacy Concerns
The FAFSA website ensures safety. The website and its supported browser use Secure Sockets Layer protocol to establish secure sessions. But what happens once its submitted to the colleges your childs i nterested in? Theres no question about it the colleges you send your FAFSA to will get a comprehensive overview of your financial affairs.
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Find Creative Ways To Pay For College
You dont have to rely on the traditional ways to pay for college. You can graduate with little to no debt.
As you can see, there are creative ways to help you go to college and find some money that doesnt equal student loan debt. Some side hustles that might even be fun.
If youre anything like me and dont qualify for FAFSA, TRY THESE! Try all or some. Youll be surprised how much you can earn.
Need more creative ways to pay for college?
Join our where we go LIVE to share tips, tools, and tricks to pay for college without burying yourself in student loan debt.
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 you’ll 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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Get Paid For Your Opinion Or To Surf The Internet
Youre a college student, so chances are pretty good youve got strong opinions and like to spend time online. Turn both of those things into money-making endeavors! Websites like Survey Junkie offer multiple opportunities per day to fill out surveys in exchange for instant money, while companies like Swagbucks pay people to search the internet. Both companies are reputable, and while you may not get rich, theyre a great resource for extra money.
Finalize Your Degree Focus
Many students begin college without a clear plan for their career. If youre not sure what you want to do, it may be a good idea to take a gap year. You may also want to try out a few courses at a community college to decide which studies you like best at a much cheaper rate.
Once you know what you want to do, be sure that you keep your course schedule focused on your degree. While you may be tempted to study something like horror literature or screen printing, youll want to shelve it if it wont help your career path. You may be able to fill some full-time semester gaps later in your studies with these classes.
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Ready To Start Your Journey
As tuition prices rise throughout the country, more and more students are taking out loans to pay for school. So many students are borrowing money that student loans are now the second largest source of consumer debt in the country. In 2015, almost 71% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with student loans, double the rate of graduates from 20 years ago. Over the past two decades, attendance and costs have skyrocketed, and federal aid hasn’t kept up. Consequently, more students than ever must take out college loans to finance their post-secondary education.
In 2015, almost 71% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with student loans, double the rate of graduates from 20 years ago
Recently, the student loan rate has crept even higher. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proportion of the U.S. population with student loans increased from about 7% in 2003 to 15% in 2012. Given that the average student leaves school owing over $28,000, graduating without debt may appear impossible. The 30% of students that do graduate without a loan demonstrate that it is possible to complete college debt free it just takes a lot of creative thinking and bit of extra work.
Start At A Community College
Choosing your local community college for the university of your dreams is hard. It can help your pocket in the long run, though.
Community college is less expensive than universities. According to Forbes one year at a public, 4-year university would be on average $10,440 in tuition. Compare that to one year at a community college for $3,730 in tuition a year.
My dream university was UCLA. I knew my parents wouldnt be able to afford it, so I went to my community college instead.
Just because you started at a community college doesnt mean you have to stay there. Going to a community college will make more sense to attend for a few years and then transfer to a university.
You can complete your general education classes and get an associate degree. You will need to verify with a counselor what credits will transfer.
Which is exactly what I did. I received my associates degree and then transferred to my local university.
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Apply For Rotc Scholarships
Are you planning to join a Reserve Officer Training Corps program while in college? The Army, Air Force, and Navy all have scholarship opportunities, but the process is very competitive. The Army ROTC is one of the countrys largest scholarship providers, so its a great opportunity if youre already considering a career in the military.
You should know in advance that ROTC scholarships are not guaranteed just for being part of the program. Students who complete ROTC programs are commissioned into their specific branch of service after graduation.
Ways To Pay For College Without Help From Your Parents
What youll learn
- Learn what options you have to pay for college without help from parents
- How to apply for financial aid
- What you need to know about student loans
Although planning and paying for college on your own can seem daunting at first, it is something that many students successfully do. Between submitting the Free Application for Financial Student Aid , applying for scholarships, and taking out federal or private student loans to cover college costs, there are many resources available for prospective college students looking to pay for school with or without the help of their parents.
Whether you or your family are looking to bridge the gap between your savings and the , or youre simply pursuing higher education on your own, paying for college on your own can be done. However, it can also be a significant financial undertaking, which will require you to understand the many options available to you.
So, if youre looking to pay for college on your own, here are steps to help you make it happen!
1. Plan ahead
When it comes to paying for college, especially without the help of a parent or guardian, taking the time to plan ahead and map out your college journey early on is all the more important. Not only does it give you the chance to outline your specific career interests and determine what youre looking for in a college experience, but it can also save you a good deal of money and lower your tuition costs.
3. Put your personal savings and income towards college.
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Employer Reimbursement Programs To Pay For College
While going to college, many of us hope we dont have to work. And yet, thats not possible most of the time.
If you must work, investigate if they have an employee reimbursement program. Many companies are starting to pay for their employees tuition.
The company I worked for didnt pay full tuition. However, the help they gave me to pay for college was still a good amount. It allowed me to graduate with no student debt.
Important Note: Starbucks and Target do have specific universities youll need to attend to qualify for full tuition.
Use Grants If You Qualify
Dont make that mistake. As long as you submit the FAFSA and renew it each year youre enrolled in school, youll receive Pell money if youre eligible for it.
In addition to the Pell program, the federal government offers several other types of grants, which dont need to be paid back. Many states have grant programs, too. Use this map on the Education Department website to find the agencies in your state that administer college grants. Then look up and apply to state grant programs you may qualify for.
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Take Advantage Of Employer Reimbursement Programs
There are a ton of different companies that offer to pay either half or all of an employees college tuition. This include IBM, UPS, Chipotle, Chrysler, and Starbucks, to name a few. In fact, for any employee working a minimum of 20 hours a week, Starbucks offers to pay half of their tuition through freshman and sophomore year, then full tuition reimbursement for their junior and senior year. Most of these companies dont even require the employee to remain with the company after graduation.
Have A Parent Work At The College
In addition to the employee, colleges generally offer direct relatives of employees tuition discounts. If your parent works at a college, much of your tuition will be waived.
My aunt was a stay-at-home mom until her youngest of nine children was in school. Then she went back to work at the local university, and more than half of her children eventually attended that college and paid very little for their education. They were able to graduate free of debt and were not saddled with heavy student loan payments.
Be sure to double-check, though. Most colleges list their tuition incentive programs on their websites, so that is the first place to look.
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