How To Pay For College
Wondering how to pay for college? Here are ten tips:
Work study programs are one way to earn money that you can apply to pay tuition costs and other funds for college.
According to ed.gov, “The [federal work study] program provides funds that are earned through part-time employment to assist students in financing the costs of postsecondary education.”
If you’re eligible for work study, you can apply for certain jobs, which are typically on campus. Work study is considered financial aid, though you must work the hours at your job to earn the money. You’ll receive a paycheck that can be applied to your college expenses.
Seth Johnson, 23, worked in the American University (american.edu) admissions office two or three days a week for about four hours at a time. “I usually prepared for college fairs, overnights or campus visits,” he said. “I was also on call to give tours to visitors should the crowds grow large. Some days were busier than others, but there was never a shortage of work to do.”
Johnson liked the work-study program because his job was on campus and easily accessible. “I got the feeling I was helping AU at the same time,” he says.
There are plenty Web sites that can help you find how to pay for college and tuition costs. One is scholarships.com, which lists 2.7 million scholarships and grants worth more than $19 billion.
Adele Means, 17, plans to attend Elon University (elon.edu) in North Carolina in the fall of 2009. “I looked at scholarships.com at the end of the school year and plan to apply to some this year,” she says.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a must if you need financial aid for school. Visit fafsa.ed.gov for information on how to apply for federal aid.
The site is extremely useful and offers step-by-step instructions on how to apply. The site advises you to apply early—as soon after January 1 as possible each year you’ll be in college.
Many of my friends in college worked part time to help pay for their tuition/college costs. A former roommate of mine took classes in the morning and nannied in the afternoons. My junior year roommate worked at Barnes & Noble, and one of the editors at my college paper worked as a waitress on weekends at Ruby Tuesday’s.
There are many options out there for part-time work. The classifieds section of your local paper is a great place to start. Looking to baby-sit? Check out sittercity.com. They feature pet sitting opportunities and tutoring positions, too.
Attending school in Washington, D.C., allowed my peers to gain plenty of internships. The lucky few were able to get paying internships. If you research paying internships in your field, you can put a dent in your college expenses.
Dezeree Hodish, 23, recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (pitt.edu).
“My school encouraged students to get an internship for credit, but not for cash, but this was not an option for me,” she says. “I needed a job that would pay me a decent amount of money and that offered a flexible schedule because I needed to complete schoolwork and pay my bills. I applied for a state internship in June and in December, I received a call back for an interview.”
Hodish, who has worked for the state for the past three and a half years, has loved every minute of it. “I got great pay for a college job and my hours were completely set around my school schedule,” she says.
Companies looking to reward young talent or academic prowess offer scholarships, too. Ask at your workplace, and ask your parents to ask at theirs.
Have you ever walked through a college campus early in the morning and seen men and women working out in camouflage? It’s likely members of ROTC, or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. ROTC offers many scholarships, and you gain military training as well. Also, when you graduate, you are commissioned as an officer in the armed forces. For more information on how to pay for college through ROTC, visit goarmy.com/rotc, afrotc.com or nrotc.navy.com.
There are many different types of loans. The most popular are the Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan and the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or PLUS.
Loans typically need to be repaid over 10 years.
Keith Pentland, 17, plans to attend either Robert Morris University (rmu.edu) or Penn State University (psu.edu) in the fall of 2009. “I plan to apply for loans because there is no other way I know how to pay for college myself,” he says.
Do your family members tend to give cash as gifts? Set up a 529 plan or other savings account that grandma can contribute to instead of slipping you cash.
You’ll be able to use that money for your education expenses without blowing it all on prom.
NextStepU offers a chance to win a year of free college tuition, up to $10,000. Enter to win NextStepU.com/WinFreeTuition.
Kate Oczypok, 23, is a journalist in the Washington, D.C., area. A 2007 graduate of American University (american.edu), Kate likes reading, watching movies and hanging out with her friends in her spare time.