How To Pay For College On Your Own, Realistic Ways To Do It
For many people who want to attend college it seems so out of reach because of the money aspect, especially when you are paying for college on your own. Some colleges, especially the ones that are private or the Ivy League colleges, can be expensive. And for many people asking their parents to pay fund their whole college education is simply not an option. So if you are in a situation where you have to pay for your college on your own, I have some tips that can help you out.
6 Realistic Ways On How To Pay For College On Your Own
This is the number one resource that anyone should go to if they want to go to college. The FASFA is the federal source for financial aid and it is based on NEED and not off merit. All that really means is that if you have a C average and have no money to go to college, then you would probably get more assistance than someone who has all A’s and has more money than you do.
The FASFA has to be done each year as close to January as possible. You will need your tax information or your parent’s tax information, if you are dependent on them. Federal aid can come in several ways.
Grants: which is money that is given to the school on your behalf and you do not have to pay back. There may be certain grants in your state that you qualify for or certain grants that you can get due to your situation. This includes the Pell Grant, which you qualify for if neither of your parents graduated from college.
Loans: which is money that is given to the school on your behalf that you will have to pay back. Typically, you start paying back the loan when you graduate or stop taking classes.
Work Study: this is when you are provided with a part time job to assist you in paying for your expenses for school. Work-study can be beneficial because it is often in your field and can provide valuable experience as well. I also spoke about my work study as a great way to get a real job after college (read my blog here).
A Scholarship is money that is given to you, that you do not have to pay back, to help you go to school. Scholarships can be as low as a couple of hundred bucks or high as paying for your whole college education; and can come in several different ways.
School: When you apply to a school, they may grant you a full or partial scholarship. Typically, these scholarships are given on a merit level. Some schools provide scholarships for your entire education and some just for a semester or a year.
Some schools also have personal scholarships that you can apply for in addition to applying to the college or university. There are also athletic scholarships or scholarships that one receives from the school with the understanding that the student will participate in a certain school activity in which the scholarship was granted. Typically, to maintain the scholarship the student must maintain a certain GPA and actively be in the sport or activity in which they were granted a scholarship for.
Private: These scholarships are typically scholarships that you have to apply for and meet certain criteria. A fashion company may offer scholarships to those who are majoring in fashion design or an agency may offer scholarships to low income people. Private scholarships came come in many different ways. It can come from your church, nonprofit, or a large cooperation; and it can be a little amount of money or a lot of money.
It can cover books or they can cover a full academic year. It is very rare to find a scholarship program that is going to fund your entire full four-year education. They do exist but they are rare and they are competitive, since many are based off merit. In fact, most scholarships that are not through the FASFA are competitive. For this reason when you apply to scholarships that are private you should apply for as many as possible. In addition, apply every year that you are in school, so you can try to fund as much of your education as possible.
There is of course good ole fashion work. Work can fund your education in several difference ways.
Your Job Pays for School
In undergrad, I used to work security for my University as a part time job. Those who had full times jobs at the university were able to go to school for free for up to 6 credit hours. Sure, that is only part time school, but it is still free school.
Working for a university or a company that pays for college is a good way to go. Not only are you being paid a regular paycheck but you are also getting some of your school paid for. Another common thing for a job to do is to pay part of your school. My current job paid $1000 toward my PhD degree each year.
Just an FYI, often times when a job pays for all or part of your school, you have to major in something that the company specializes in. For example, if you are working as a secretary for a law firm, they may pay for to major in criminal justice or paralegal studies. Because your schoolwork will help further your knowledge in your current position and they can use you for the future in the company. They may not pay for your to become a wedding planner if you are working in a law firm since it has nothing to do with your current position. Also going about it this way can put you on the radar for a promotion once you finish school. I spoke about this topic in my how to get promoted blog.
Working in general
Sometimes you just have to work, set money aside, save, and start to pay your own way. If you start while you are in high school and save a certain percentage of your check then you may have a fair amount of money to contribute to your college education. Especially if you continue to work in college. Another great option is the military. If you join the military they will often pay for your college, that way you do not have to worry about loans or anything. I also spoke about the military in the is college right for me blog (click here to read).
Four-year universities can be expensive. If you are on a budget then it is better to go to a community college first. Community colleges are typically cheaper to attend and plus they often have all of the above financial aid options. It is much easier to fund an education that cost less than an education that cost more like a bigger university.
Once you are graduate from community college, you can transfer to a four-year university if you want. But now, many community colleges offer four years degrees, which would save you a lot of money as oppose to transferring to a four year university. You can also get an associate’s degree in community college that may be all you need. This is also a good option for single mothers (Click my blog here for single mom going back to school) who have limited income for school.
This college is a little different from community college. Technical colleges are very affordable, but they often offer certifications over degrees. Like a cosmetology license or a mechanic certification. If you want to take up a trade then a technical college may be right for you.
Now that you have learned options on how to pay for college on your own, know that all of these options require planning. It is best to sit down and determine with option is right for you.