If you have a desire to allow your kids to go to college and an empty bank account, don’t worry. You are actually among the majority of college applicants out there today!
In fact, more than 60% of all incoming freshmen failed to plan for college.
A mere 11% of college students reported being able to pay for college, so even if you are thinking to yourself that there’s just no way you can afford it, I’m going to show you how.
Here is how to pay for college when you have no money.
Weigh Your School Options
If you are struggling to come up with the money for college, Harvard is probably not in the cards. You are going to need to seriously weigh your options before choosing a school to get your college degree.
I am going, to be frank here for a moment. All employers will care about is the piece of paper you’ve earned, not where it came from.
The only reason your employer might care about where you went to school is if they also went there too. In which case, excellent but it’s not something to bank on.
Going to a two-year school to earn credits and transferring afterward could save you thousands of dollars, and staying in state could save you so much more.
If you need to, take out a piece of paper and crunch the numbers. Find out the total cost for all of your school options before you choose one.
Apply For Grants And Scholarships
It is possible to completely cover the cost of attending college just through grants and scholarships alone.
Depending on your financial situation, financial aid is available to help even those with no money be able to go to college.
If you fall into the low Expected Family contribution category on your FAFSA application, then you will probably only need to search for a few grants and scholarships to cover expenses such as textbooks.
Do some research into need-based grants to help find opportunities you might qualify for.
Once you’ve thoroughly exhausted this option, start applying for scholarships like it’s your second job. Scholarships are free money you can use to attend college on someone else’s dime.
Apply for these scholarships all throughout the year to make sure you can get as many opportunities as possible.
Look For Ways To Trim Your Academic Expenses
There are some unavoidable costs of going to college. For example, you will probably have to buy certain things to take certain classes that are needed for your major.
A video journalism class that is a requirement for graduation might require you to purchase a hard drive. If you’ve ever done any amount of research, hard drives are expensive and could put you out $50 or more.
You might say the easiest way to avoid these expenses, is to avoid majors that require these classes. However, different teachers will need different materials.
Instead of sweating over your education with a $50 hard drive, look for more impactful ways to save money.
Here are some ways to save on the most prominent expenses of college:
- Room and board- This is never a good deal, and you should avoid college focused apartments, as well as they will likely charge you more than off-campus accommodations.
- Books- There is typically a window where you can return your textbooks for a full refund before the semester starts. When you go to class on the first day, look at the syllabus and ask the teacher whether or not the book should be used. Don’t forget to check eBay, Amazon and other sources for cheaper books. You could save thousands by just searching for a cheaper option.
- Supplies- I’ll be frank with you, you can probably get away with a simple computer in college. You may need folders to organize your papers and assignments that are returned etc. but you don’t need a whole list of supplies for college.
- Transportation- You’d be surprised how elaborate some of the bus systems are on college campuses these days. Many universities have entire systems in place that run on the hour or even by the minute in some cases. Look into this before you buy a parking pass to see if transportation through the school is an option. Keep this in mind when choosing your off-campus housing as well.
College is expensive, but you don’t have to forego you or your child’s education because you were unable to prepare.
Follow these tips and pay for college without worrying about your future education.
YOUR TURN: What are other ways you have found to save money on college books? Let me know in the comments below!
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