Work On Lowering Your Living Expenses
Carefully monitor your college spending and your living expenses, so you don’t need as much money. You might look into how much it would cost you to live off-campus as opposed to on campus. Get a roommate and share off-campus housing, or live at home to save on costs.
Avoid contractual obligations like gym memberships and cable bills. Look for affordable options that allow you to cancel at any time.
And make sure you have your student ID tucked into your wallet at all times. Whip it out whenever you shop or visit a place that’s going to cost you moneyeven that coffee shop down the street. Many commercial establishments offer discounts to students.
A strict budget can make a huge difference in the amount that you need to borrow.
Work While You Attend School
You can work in the summer and save all you earn to pay for your expenses during the school year. But if you can work full time and attend school part-time, you might qualify for tuition reimbursement through your job. Another option is to attend college full time and work part-time.
The key to making this work is finding a great college job. Work-study jobs, for example, are a great way to make money while gaining valuable work experience. Alternatively, you might want to consider some side hustles to help you raise extra money. You’ll have to plan on working at least during the summers if you don’t qualify for a Pell Grant.
Living Off Student Loans: Dos And Donts
Student loans may seem like free money, but the debt you take on can follow you for years to come. If you run out of student aid too soon, you could find yourself forced to rely on credit cards or personal loans to pay the bills which could put you even further in debt.
Since most college and graduate students have little or no time to work and earn money while in school, its even more important to be responsible with your spending to make sure your loan money doesnt run out and force you into this bad financial situation.
The key to keeping your borrowing costs at a minimum is to know what you should and shouldnt spend your student loan money on. Here are some things its good to pay for with student loans:
- Tuition costs and fees
- School activities that enhance your resume or deepen your learning
- Study abroad programs that give you exposure to different cultures and the chance to learn new things while living in a foreign country
- Books and other supplies you need for classes
- Essential living expenses, including reasonable rent, food, toiletries, and personal items
- Tutoring or training you need to excel in your college career
- Professional testing, certificates, or licensing
- A computer you need to perform schoolwork
Some of the things you shouldnt use your loan funds to cover are:
- Spring break trips
- Restaurants or takeout
- Treating your friends
- Buying a car you dont absolutely need to get to class
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How To Best Use Student Loans For Living Expenses
When you take out a student loan, its understood you are to use the loan money for tuition and fees, along with room and board. Many lenders realize you may need to use some of that loan money to pay for other necessary expenses, though, its understood when you take out those loans they are to be used largely for attending school and expenses related to that experience.
You may find you have student loan money left over after you pay for tuition, fees, and room and board assuming you live on campus. You may think thats money for you to do with as you please. Now, you wont get in trouble by spending that money frivolously, but if youre asking yourself can you take out a student loan for living expenses? you might not understand the nature of your loans. Spending leftover money on living expenses, particularly frivolous ones, is not the wisest way to spend leftover student loan money.
Instead, consider some of these sound uses for student loans.
Living off-campus: Payment for room and board comes out of your student loan disbursement. If you live off-campus, you are on your own to pay for housing.
It is okay to use student loan money to pay for off-campus housing, but be wise in choosing your housing situation. Its best to have at least one roommate, if not more, and to choose a modest apartment. This will ensure you have what you need without spending too much of your student loan refund.
How To Save Serious Cash On This Major Expense
A place to live, along with food to eat, is likely the biggest non-tuition cost associated with college. The College Board reports that room and board at an in-state, four-year university is, on average, $11,620. Thats more than $1,000 above the average price of tuition and fees at the same type of school. And while that price tag might seem fixed, there are ways to trim the expense.
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Ways To Pay For Grad School
More students than ever are heading to graduate school. According to a 2016 report from the Council of Graduate Schools, total graduate school enrollment has increased by about 1.1% every year since 2006. And the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that graduate enrollment was up 4.3% in spring 2021 over spring 2020.
If youre one of the many students pursuing an advanced degree, you may be wondering how to pay for it, especially if you already have undergraduate student loans. Paying for graduate school can be even more challenging than paying for an undergrad degree because graduate school is typically more expensive. There are fewer grants and scholarships available, and graduate student loans come with higher costs.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to pay for graduate school, ones that ensure you can graduate without overwhelming student loan debt. And even if you need to borrow for your education, there are ways to do it wisely to ensure the greatest return on your higher education investment.
How To Pay For Living Expenses While In College
What’s the best way to cover college living expenses? Find out some options here.
College living expenses go beyond tuition and fees, plus room and board. Expenses while in college also include a meal plan, books, gas, groceries, technology, money to travel to and from school, and perhaps even a little cash to have fun.
Unfortunately, the problem is that all of these expenses can add up to thousands of dollars per year on top of the cost of attendance. And chances are your college savings won’t cover all of it. If you want to keep your personal finances in good shape while getting all the necessities, you’re going to want to create a savings plan.
You’re probably going to explore loans for college and how you can use loan funds to pay bills. Whenever you’re considering taking out a private student loan or refinancing a current student loan to get a better interest rate and lower your monthly payments, turn to Credible. Credible can walk you through the process step-by-step and ensure your expenses while in college are covered.
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Complete The Fafsa Form
It all starts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid . Submitting this form opens the door to numerous types of financial aid. You can’t do much without it, at least in the area of applying for grants, some student loans, and aid provided by schools and your state.
Each year, billions of dollars of financial aid go unclaimed because students and their families failed to complete and submit a FAFSA.
The earlier you deal with this, the better, because many schools have first-come-first-served programs. When the money is gone, it’s gone.
But there’s one hitch here. If you’re classified as a dependent student, you’ll need your parents’ cooperation. The FAFSA form calls for certain information about their Social Security number, income, taxes, and assets. They’re certainly not legally required to pay for your college education, and submitting the FAFSA with their information doesn’t put them on the hook to do so. Still, the information will affect your chances of receiving assistance.
You can always submit a FAFSA without this information, but it will limit your opportunities for federal aid.
Take Advantage Of Campus Resources And Events
To alleviate students’ financial pressure and cultivate a sense of community, many colleges and universities provide free public transportation through on-campus shuttles, off-campus buses, and bike rental services.
You can also consult your school’s event calendar regularly for details about free food, concerts, movie nights, and networking opportunities.
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Dont Overlook These Common Living Expenses
So, what kinds of living expenses should you be thinking about? While these expenses can vary from one person to the next, there are some common living costs to consider beyond what youll be paying for tuition and a place to stay. These include:
- A storage unit
- .Electronics that may be required for your program of study.
- Books and supplies, such as notebooks and pens.
- Transportation, including car insurance and gas or a bus pass.
Food/groceries beyond whats included with your meal plan.
What Do I Do If I Dont Qualify For Student Aid
Perhaps you dont qualify for student aid but you still think that you would benefit from financial assistance while youre in school, or maybe youve already maxed-out your other student aid options but still have financial needs to be met. If this is the case, you can look into applying for a student line of credit or a personal loan from private institutions, such as your bank or a credit union.
These options can help pay for just about anything from school supplies and tuition to living expenses, which could end up costing more than expected. The amount of money you borrow depends on course load and level of study, and there is typically a cap on the maximum amount that you can receive.
For a student line of credit, you are given a pre-set credit limit, and you only have to pay back what you borrow, plus interest on the amount received. Interest rates on a student line of credit are lower than those offered on Canada student loans, but remember that with a line of credit, youre required to start paying interest as soon as you withdraw any money.
With personal loans, youre required to pay back the full amount, interest and any applicable fees over a specified period of time.
Remember, the most important thing about student aid is to apply. There are plenty of optionsyou have nothing to lose by applying and seeing what you can get, but theres so much to gain.
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Costs To Avoid Paying For With Student Loans
You can use federal and private student loans to cover some of your costs while in school. However, students should be careful what types of debt they take on for school items, often because federal student loans are relatively easy to get. You can even qualify for student loans for living expenses with bad credit, since most federal loans dont require a credit check.
Taking out loans when you have poor credit can be tempting. But using student loans for expenses like the following can be a costly mistake:
- Purchasing a vehicle. While student loans can be used for transportation, the rules state that they should be used for maintenance, fuel or fares. Theyre not intended to be used to purchase a car or for payments on an auto loan.
- Travel. You can use a portion of your loans for legitimate study abroad programs, but you should avoid using them to pay for nonessential trips, like a spring break vacation.
- Dining out. Under the cost of attendance, the allocation for meals is meant to be a reasonable amount for a meal plan or groceries. Its not designed to cover frequent deliveries or restaurant meals.
In general, you should think about your student loans as a financing option to pay for essential expenses and the basics. You can use your loans to cover food, housing and transportation, but at a modest level.
Keep Your Food Allowance Minimal
The refund money may tempt you to order more take-out and hit more happy hours, but doing so could be an easy way to burn through your do-it-yourself meal plan to save money.
Its usually cheaper to cook healthy meals for yourself than to eat out or even join a schools meal plan. And theres no shortage of cheap and easy recipes online. Plan out and budget for your meals by shopping at grocery stores and local or campus-based farmers markets.
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Alternatives To Student Loans To Pay For Living Expenses
Just because you don’t have the money saved up to pay for your living expenses doesn’t mean should you borrow it with student loans. Yes, many times the financial aid office at school will make this sound like the way to go, but once you graduate, you’ll quickly realize it’s not.
If you’re thinking to yourself that you’ll have to borrow student loans to pay for your college living expenses, I strongly encourage you to rethink that. Here are a couple of alternatives.
The Federal Pell Grant
Whenever any undergraduate student files for financial aid, they are considered for a Pell Grant. According to Student Aid on the Web, the Department of Educations website, there have been occasions on which students with Bachelors degrees have been given Pell Grants to pursue teacher certification programs. The maximum amount given annually, as of 2010, is $5,550. The amount awarded will depend on your financial status and, if you are under 24 years of age, that of your parents as well. It will also depend on how many courses you are taking and how many semesters or trimesters you are planning on attending during the year for which you are applying. Students under age 24 who have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan any time since September 11, 2001 are automatically eligible for a Pell Grant of the maximum amount.
Nine Easy Ways To Cut Cost Of College
Its best to limit student loans at all cost. Start by creating a budget that is realistic. Then, devise a game-plan to save money on each budget item. Here are some tips college kids use to save money.
Choice of school Tuition and fees account for the bulk of a college students budget. Cost of attendance should factor into your choice of college. The average cost of an in-state public university was $9,410 in 2015-16. Compare that to $23,893 for out-of-state universities and $32,405 for private universities. Grants and scholarships can help cover some costs, but dont rely on student loans to pay for tuition. Go to an in-state school and save at least 150% on tuition and fees.
Textbooks Renting used textbooks will save you money and ease the headache of shopping around for books after the semester. In high school, its common to purchase textbooks and sell them to classmates a year below you. In college, it isnt as easy. Not everyone takes the same courses, and finding a buyer can be difficult before the book becomes obsolete. The best place to go is Chegg.com where you can either rent or buy textbooks cheaper than shopping at your university bookstore. The textbook Microbiology: An Introduction 12th Edition, one of the most popular textbooks on Chegg.com , costs $156 to buy used. Youll only get $49 to sell the same book to Amazon. Thats a loss of $107 for a book that only costs $30 to rent.
What Can Fafsa Money Be Used For
Since 1981, college costs have risen at a rate that outstripped the general inflation rate, and parents are less likely than ever to provide college tuition money for their children. The rising expense associated with college has left many students wondering how they can pay for college and their living expenses at the same time. Fortunately, there are many resources for paying tuition and covering living expenses while a student is in school.
File your taxes. Even if you have not worked the previous year, it is important to file your taxes because your financial aid eligibility is based on those numbers. In addition, you may receive money back from the Earned Income Credit if you have dependents. For information on filing your taxes, visit the Internal Revenue Service website: http://www.irs.gov/index.html.
Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student AID at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. This form asks a few questions about your household budget, your dependents and your income. Have your tax return from the previous year handy because the FAFSA form uses some of the information from your tax return. How much money you receive in grants, work-study and federally backed loans depends on the information on your FAFSA.
Apply for work-study positions through your financial aid department. These positions allow you to learn in your field and earn money at the same time, and these positions also work around your school schedule.
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