Paying college expenses is challenging enough, even when you get a scholarship. But for someone who doesn’t, figuring out how to pay for their studies becomes a mission impossible.
Are you worried about how you’re going to afford to pay for your college? You’re not alone. With college costs getting higher annually, more and more students have financial concerns. And it’s understandable! No matter if you choose a public or private college, they all are expensive.
Paying for studies has become the main issue young people are dealing with nowadays. In fact, their college expenses are so high; they affect even their prospects.
But why does college even cost?
A study shows that for the 2018-2019 academic year, the average cost for college was $35,700 at private institutions, $9,700 for state residents at public schools, and $21,600 for non-state residents at public institutions.
And it would be great if these sums would cover all expenses, but the sad news is that there are many other fees you must pay. Here is a list of implicit costs college implies.
– Board and room
– Travel costs (if you go to college across the country, or overseas, you have to pay for plane tickets, more than once a year because you’ll also have to travel home for breaks and holidays)
– Lab supplies and fees
– Other personal expenses that can go up to more than $2000.
To determine how much you need to save, check the cost of attendance, that’s easy to estimate when you check the associated expenses with the college you prefer. A quick glance at the above charges will tell you how much you have to cover.
Now let’s find some ways to pay for your college.
Get a student job
Look for on-campus jobs to pay for college and maybe even get a few nice perks. You won’t believe the benefits you get, besides the money, when you work on campus. Many colleges offer their working students free board and room, discount for meals, and access to workshops and special classes. When you work on-campus, you customise your shifts according to your programs and maximise your time to the fullest.
Also, when you have a job on campus, you establish connections with both students and professors, which works in your benefit. Having a job during college allows you to save money for tuition, room, board, and any other expense you may have.
However, before getting a job, determine if you can balance it with your academic responsibilities. If your schoolwork has to suffer because of your hectic life, working defeats the purpose of first getting hired.
Another option may be to work part-time (maybe as a freelancer). If you have some unique skills like writing, developing software or websites, or graphic design, you can make a lot of money from freelancing.
If you are good at crafting and you want to sell them online, you need to set up an online store. Nowadays, you can sell your products online on different channels without investing money and working with an army of employees. You only have to pick one of the ecommerce platforms available online and to customise the page to match your needs. You can even sync the online store with social media pages to earn higher reach. Selling your products in an online store gives you credibility because everyone knows that Internet buyers are cynical and you need to give them reasons to trust you.
Save during high school
If you’re currently in high-school and you anticipate you won’t get a scholarship, you may want to get a part-time job now, to save some money to fund your college. Working during high-school isn’t right for anyone, but a part-time job may work for you. Walking the neighbours’ dogs, being a part-time nanny, or tutoring children may help you build up a nest egg before you leave for college that can help you pay for board, room, or transport. Search online to find more about the jobs you can apply for as a teen.
Enrol in an affordable school
Yes, Harvard is the best, but also one of the most expensive schools. If you ask around what an essential factor in picking a college is, people would probably tell you the size of the campus, recognition, success of the cheerleading team, or the workshops. But, when you don’t have a scholarship, the only relevant factor is the affordability of the school.
Your top priority is to enrol in a college you afford even if it means to adjust your expectations, and forget about your dream school.
On the other hand, you can always transfer from a college to another. For now, enrol to a college you afford, and see where life takes you from here. Maybe you can get a scholarship next year, or get a job that pays you enough to transfer to a more expensive school.
The traditional approach students get, when they move away to live on campus for at least four years, is only one way to get an education. And often it isn’t the most affordable. So, consider the alternatives.
Apply for financial aid
Another way to fund your studies is to apply for college financial aid. It can reduce the price to something affordable for you. Institutions calculate the amount of financial aid, you’re eligible for, according to your family’s circumstances. So, you must provide info about your income, family members, assets, and age of your parents.
Financial aid comes in: grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships. Some colleges also offer gift-aid, so you don’t have to repay the cash.
Take a loan, but do it responsibly
If you decide, getting a loan is the best solution for you, find a provider that allows you to manage the payments in a way that fits your needs. Make sure you borrow money responsibly. Before picking a loan, determine what career path you want to follow, and what the average salary for a graduate in your field is. Use an online calculator to identify a conservative amount to borrow based on your particular situation. Also make sure you compare among top lenders before you make a decision.
Seek outside scholarships
A scholarship is similar to a grant because you don’t have to repay it. But if the school itself doesn’t offer you one, you can qualify for one provided by an outside organisation. It takes time to search for opportunities, but it’s worth it because you may find someone willing to support your educational career. Outside scholarships aren’t only for straight-A students. These organisations help talented students pursue their dreams. Reach your high school guidance office because they definitely have a list of outside organisations that provide opportunities for students who find difficult to pay for their college.