4 Tips to Pay for College With or Without Parental Help
Not everyone has family who can help cover the cost of college. And we all know how expensive college can be. Not having parental help to pay for it can create a lot of stress and anxiety. If you’re in this boat, here are a few tips to consider that may be the help you've been looking for.
1. The Traditional Path
When we think of paying for college, the first things that come to mind are probably scholarships, grants, and student loans. Scholarships are commonly won by applying on a sponsor’s website, and may or may not include an essay submission, but other scholarships (like ours!) are based on random drawings.
Grants are another form of free money that you should apply for. One of the most common grants, the Pell Grant, is awarded by the federal government by filling out the FAFSA.
While every little bit can help, most students still end up having to take out student loans. Although they can be appealing because you typically do not have to pay this money back until after you graduate, many find that they end up paying on their loans for many years after they’ve left school. These lingering loans can create a barrier to establishing a stable life because of financial constraints.
Student loans aren’t your only option. Here are some other paths to pursue on your quest to pay for college.
2. The Non-Traditional Path
Sometimes you have to use your imagination and think outside of the box if the traditional path isn’t for you. Creating a GoFundMe page is a great way to obtain and organize the funds you need to pay for college. This gives you a platform to reach friends and family who may be able to chip in a few dollars toward your education. If you do this, remember to explain your situation in depth so people can have a good understanding of why they should help you and what your goals and plans are.
Another solution is to petition your favorite celebrity. Some celebrities have organizations to help people pay their tuition. Or you can reach them by means of social media such as Twitter or Facebook. I would have thought that this would never work, but in recent years some giving and kind celebrities have helped students pay their tuition after seeing a comment in the news or on social media. It can't hurt to ask!
3. Do the Unthinkable
So you've tried some of these tips and still no luck. Well, now it's time to bring out the big guns. Do the unthinkable! Take a day and look around. Do you see some things in your home that are in good condition but you just don't need them anymore? Sell them! Have a garage sale or download an app where you can post your items for sale to people in your community. What's old to you may just be what someone else needs.
Are you in good health? Try to offer up your services to those who can use a hand.
You can offer up some moving help to someone relocating in your neighborhood. The more hands, the quicker the job gets done. Do you love children? Download an app like Care and offer babysitting services to parents so they can go out for the evening. Parents love to get a break and most would jump at the chance to have an evening to themselves.
Do you like to go grocery shopping? Download an app like Instacart to use your grocery shopping skills to help the elderly or to your neighbors in your neighborhood. Most people would love to have someone else brave the lines at the grocery store for them.
Use your energy and skills to offer assistance to others. Not only are you doing a good deed, but you're also collecting some money that will definitely add up.
4. Last But Definitely Not Least
If you think steady, stable income is the way to go, start applying for a part-time job. A lot of companies love to hire college students. And because they know that you are a student, they are more than willing to work around your schedule. Just remember not to overextend yourself and short change your studies!