A college education doesn’t come cheap in the US. There’s a collective student debt of $1.5 trillion at the moment. Students that graduated in 2016 owe just over $37,000 on average.
Those are crazy figures
Now, it’s true that financial aid can make a difference. But there are certain eligibility requirements to fulfill, and the discounted rates vary. Likewise, you could lose your financial aid if you don’t adhere to the rules.
Similarly, even the heavily discounted tuition fees are out of reach for millions of families across the nation.
What can you do to afford the fees and get yourself through college? Thankfully, there are certain ways to supplement your income and make it possible.
Keep reading to discover 6 ways to do it.
Save Through a 529 Plan
One of the best ways to pay for college is to have the money already saved up.
A 529 plan is one of the most popular ways of saving up money for tuition fees. That’s in large part because the money can be used tax-free for qualifying educational costs. It’s best to start saving early. This will help you to accrue as much as possible in advance.
One downside of 529 plans is their reliance on the stock market. Problems with the stock market can negatively impact the amount of money you can draw upon.
That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare in advance for a downturn in the markets as well. Having eggs in different baskets may come in handy if the worst were to happen.
Get a Scholarship
The best way to pay for college is to attend for free, right?
Scholarships offer this opportunity. However, it’s more likely that you’d get a proportion of money discounted from the fees.
There’s no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply to. Scour the web to see what’s available to you. Oftentimes, there are specific scholarships related to your skillsets, background, and demographics.
Don’t discriminate. Big or small, apply for anything and everything. You may be thankful for that extra thousand bucks in your pocket after graduation. Likewise, you may hit the jackpot and get a full scholarship.
Here are some tips on how to find a grant for school.
Get a Job
Juggling full-time education with a paid job might not seem possible.
But it’s increasingly common to get a paid part-time position alongside your studies. In reality, there’s always time to be found. Some people spend it in the bar. Others spend it playing video games. Some are in the gym. Many choose to get a job.
It’s to do with priorities. Need the cash? Getting a job can be a major help in the income department.
Think about your personal skills and job history. Put together a CV. Then head into the local community to see what jobs need doing.
Income-share agreements are becoming increasingly common.
Known as ISAs, this is where you agree with a college to pay them a proportion of your future salary in return for discounted tuition. It’s for a fixed time, and with zero interest and balance.
Similarly, investors are sometimes willing to fund a student’s tuition. Head to websites such as Patronage to see if that’s an option for you.
The benefit of an ISA is that you pay for college after you’ve graduated and got a job. Coming out of college with $40,000 debt and no job can be a daunting prospect. ISAs offer a pleasant alternative. You only pay when the job’s secured.
Furthermore, the amount you pay is based on a percentage of your income. And you only pay when the work is regular and secured. You can end up paying less than you actually owe as a result.
Sure, it’s not as ideal as free tuition. But it’s arguably a step in the right direction.
Get a Loan
Loans offer another way to supplement your tuition fees.
You have to be careful though. Try to use them as a last resort. When all other options have been expended and you still can’t afford the fees, then a loan may be necessary.
There are different loans available depending on what you need. Apply for a federal loan first. The lower interest rates and greater protections (versus private lenders) make it a safer bet all around. However, you’ll need to have applied for financial aid first (via the FAFSA).
The downside of federal loans is the limited funds available for loan. Private companies may be necessary. Just be careful. Many loan companies charge excessive interest fees that can cripple you in the long run.
Read this article for more information on online loans.
Become a Student Researcher
Did you know you can get involved in student research at your college?
You could become an undergraduate researcher. Help the university conduct their studies, and get paid for your troubles. Some people use this to fund a large proportion of their tuition fees.
Speak to your department to see if they know of any openings available.
How to Pay for College: Now You Know!
There you have it: how to pay for college with 6 ways to supplement your student loan.
Tuition fees are far from cheap. For some people, it just isn’t possible to attend college without any financial support. Hopefully, the options we’ve provided here have given you some ideas for how to pay your way.
A college education should be alright for everyone who wants to do it. We hope you get where you want to be, however you pay for it!