Alternative Ways to Pay for College
College is expensive, a hard to swallow fact for many families. While financial aid, scholarships and grants, federal loans and private loans are all ways to help fund the rising cost of education, we’ve listed the below alternatives to help stretch your dollars.
Did you take Advanced Placements (AP) classes in high school? Most colleges reward students who took higher level classes in high school. Check with your admissions department about the requirements to gain college credits from your AP classes, which will depend heavily on your AP Test score. Remember that every college class that you don’t have to take will save you money.
Consider taking a couple courses at the community college during summers. Community colleges charge much less for courses and by taking some of the dry, but necessary core classes at a local college you can not only save a few dollars but also take advantage of more interesting courses during the full semester. Just be sure to check with your college to make sure courses taken at the community college are 100% transferable – you don’t want to have to pay for the course twice!
Apply for scholarships within your major at your university. Many departments have scholarships totally separate from general admissions scholarships. There will be a smaller pool of applicants and you may actually enjoy completing the requirements for entry.
Constantly check back with your high school guidance office for scholarship information. Even if you are a few years out of high school, it’s still worth checking back to see if any new scholarships are on file. If you’ve done any sort of volunteer work or community service since graduation be sure to mention it! Check within your local community as well – if you’re an active member there may be local scholarships to help you out as well.
Look into a co-op program. Co-Ops are generally longer-term paid internships. Most employers do require a six month commitment. A popular schedule is to take classes for a full semester and for part of the summer and then commit to a 6 month internship to earn extra income. The cash you earn can be used for books, paying down your student loans, and making your college experience fun!