If you are a student who will not be receiving any financial aid from your parents, there are many steps you can take to make college more affordable. Loans are the quick and easy solution, but they must be paid back with interest, and loan debt can make it much more difficult to become financially successful after graduation. Therefore, you should take these other steps first to minimize the amount of loans you might have to take out.
Choose a College Based on Financial Aid
When applying to colleges, make financial aid and the cost of attendance your first priority. If the most affordable school isn't your ideal college, at least you can earn a degree and save money to go to a better college for your Graduate Degree. However, don't assume that your ideal school is out of reach. Many colleges will meet 100% of the cost of attendance if you have no means of paying for college. You'll never know if you don't apply!
Apply to Scholarships
Always apply for scholarships! The more scholarships you apply to, the more likely you are to receive one. There’s nothing to lose from applying to scholarships, and your money mentor can help you find scholarships that appeal to your interests. For tips on applying to scholarships, check out this article.
Save Up and Cut Expenses
To save money, you can buy used textbooks instead of new ones, sell some clothes or other things you don't need, and cook at home instead of ordering take-out. If you need to buy something, check online for the best deal, or look for any available coupons. The money you save up along with the money you get from scholarships and financial aid can help you make ends meet while you're a student.
Get a Job
Jobs such as tutoring, babysitting, performing quick errands, and dog walking can all help you pay for college. Depending on where you find the job, it can be a one-time gig or a weekly job that fits your schedule. You can also get a work study job on campus or find a paid internship. Paid internships are great because you'll gain work experience while making money! For more ideas of jobs you can do while in school, check out this article.