A college diploma might open several doors in your professional life. It can also boost your chances of earning more money throughout the course of your life.
Unfortunately, obtaining a degree is costly, and attending college on a shoestring budget might be difficult. Tuition, fees, and living expenses, all of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year, are required to obtain a degree.
If you don’t have any money set aside to cover these expenses, you’ll need to consider all of your choices for paying for college without any savings.
How to Pay For College With No Money Saved
Fortunately, there are numerous options available to you to pay for college with no money saved. Here are eight options for funding your degree without a large sum of money in the bank.
1. Trim your expenses
You could be inspired to raise money to meet the cost of tuition at your prospective colleges. However, your other education costs may be higher.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, students attending in-state four-year public schools spent an average of $26,590. According to the College Board, tuition accounted for only 39 per cent of the total cost of attendance ($10,440).
So, if you are still scraping by, think about how you might save money and explore these suggestions for three main expenses:
i). Room and board
Attending a school close to home allows you to commute instead of paying for on-campus housing and meal arrangements. If you are keen to get the most out of your college experience, working as a resident assistant (RA) could at the very least help cover your living costs.
ii). Books and supplies
You may need to purchase one or more new books for each of your classes in college. Consider sharing with classmates or purchasing used or digital copies instead. You could also sell any hard copies you bought through a service like TextbookRush at the conclusion of each semester.
While living off-campus may save you money on room and board, those savings should not be used on transportation. To identify the most cost-effective option, consider everything from taking the bus to biking.
2. Apply for scholarships and grants
If you don’t have any college funds, scholarships and grants are one method to put money in your pocket.
Students who demonstrate financial need based on information provided through the FAFSA are awarded federal awards such as the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). You can be eligible for state or institutional grants as well.
Scholarships are another prevalent form of financial assistance. Academic scholarships that need essays and transcripts to extracurricular awards that may require video submissions or interviews come in a range of shapes and sizes.
Because many scholarships are offered by private organizations, you can use a scholarship search engine to sort through the thousands of possibilities and apply only for those that match your qualifications. You should also check with your financial aid office to determine if you may combine institutional scholarships with private rewards.
3. Take out student loans
Although student loans should be utilized only as a last resort after all forms of financial aid have been exhausted, many students do take out loans to pay for education, though they don’t know whether is a student loan secured or unsecured. This kind of loan should only be used as a last alternative if scholarships, grants, and savings don’t pay the total cost.
Federal and private student loans are the two options available to students.
The United States Department of Education manages federal student loans. Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduates. Subsidized loans are based on need and do not incur interest until after the grace period has expired, whereas unsubsidized loans do. Neither form of loan runs a credit check, and both offer a variety of repayment alternatives and forgiveness options.
Private student loans from banks and credit unions, unlike federal student loans, can often cover the entire cost of tuition, and they may be a cheaper choice if you or your co-signer have good credit. However, because of the tight eligibility standards and weaker borrower protections, these loans are normally considered only after students have exhausted their federal government loan options.
Borrowing too much through student loans is a common blunder; by doing so, students risk large monthly payments and thousands of dollars in interest charges after graduation. Borrow only as much as you need to meet academic costs after accounting for scholarships and grants, and use federal loans first before applying for private loans.
4. Raise funds from friends and loved ones
While you may not have the financial means to pay for school, others in your life may be able to assist you financially in obtaining your degree. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, and even close family friends may be able to assist you with tuition or a place to live while you are in school.
It may feel awkward to ask loved ones for assistance, but it is worth a shot if it means the difference between being able to pay for school and not being able to go. Prepare an explanation of why you want to go to school, what degree or program you’ll be pursuing, and what you aim to accomplish with your education when you make your request.
5. Get a work-study job
You may be able to pay for school as you go by working while completing your studies in some situations.
This isn’t always feasible, and taking this strategy may require you to attend school part-time, which will take longer. Even yet, if you can’t figure out how to pay for college without any funds, working while in school might be a viable option.
Some students can earn a portion of their tuition through federal work-study programs while pursuing their degrees. You could also look for full-time or part-time employment off-campus, depending on your needs. Working a summer job and putting money aside for college expenses during the school year can help make education more affordable.
What is the best way to pay for college?
Here are some of the best ways to pay for college with no money saved today:
- Trim your expenses.
- Apply for scholarships and grants.
- Takeout student loans.
- Raise funds from friends and loved ones.
- Get a work-study job.
Don’t let the cost of tuition deter you from pursuing your education; grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and student loans are all accessible.
If going to college is a top priority for you, but you haven’t started saving yet, take advantage of every award, application, and opportunity to help you save money. You can also start your education by taking a gap year or attending community college.
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Bianka Andrews is a financial professional at Instant Loan Online who enjoys writing and photography. Besides creating educational content on her personal financial blog, Bianka is a mother of two who likes to share her experience and challenges of daily parenting life.