Tips to Pay for College Without Getting a Student Loan
With the collective student loan debt in the US reaching 1.75 trillion, prospective students are wary of getting a huge loan they might not be able to pay back. However, since university education is exorbitantly expensive, it seems almost impossible to get through debt-free.
Student loans are beneficial for your credit score. Paying off an installment-based loan on time is an excellent way to build your credit score. So if you can handle most of your tuition yourself and cover the rest with a relatively smaller loan, it could be good for you.
However, if you are bent on getting through your education without worrying about being crippled by debt, you can look to the following tips to help pay for college.
Apply for Grants and Scholarships
College grants are a type of financial aid that you do not have to pay back. You can qualify for federal, private, or college-based grants. You need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA to apply for federal grants. That determines how much money the government expects you to pay for your tuition. Students with the most financial need get the grant.
Keep an eye out for private grants and scholarships online, and apply for as many as possible to improve your chances. There are often essay competitions to win grants or scholarships, so sharpen your writing skills. Also, apply for financial aid in your college of choice.
Get Cheaper or Free College Credits
You can work extra hard in high school by taking AP classes to get free college credit. Not only will they add a flourish to your college resume if you score high enough, but they are also accepted as college credit in that subject. This way, you can get college credits for free. You can also take college-level courses in person or online in the summers, accepted as college credit for a fraction of the price. For example, a single course at outlier.org could get you three credits.
Get a Job
Working a part-time job during the school months and going full-time in the summers can help you save up some money for your college tuition. The minimum wage may not be a livable wage, but since mom and dad are covering your expenses, you can put away the majority of your pay for college.
Stick to Public Transportation
Many high schoolers around you will probably be getting their first cars when they get their driver's license. A car is a big money drain since you need to keep spending on fuel and maintenance. That won't let you save that much for college. If you stick to public transportation, you can make your parents save that money they would have spent on buying you that car for college instead.
If you already have a car, consider selling it right before college to get a nice sum. Most colleges may or may not allow first-year students to use cars anyway. You'll be a lot fitter since you'll be walking everywhere and doing your part to cut carbon emissions to save the planet.
Crowdsource Your Education
Create a crowdsourcing campaign to get donations for your college tuition. You could make an account on a crowdsourcing website or make your own website to accept donations from strangers to get an education. This may be the most unconventional way to earn money for your education, but if your campaign goes viral, you could be lucky enough to get the entire amount you need through it alone.
Find a Donor
Is there any wealthy or influential relative or family friend you know who sees potential in you? Try and see if you can convince them to donate towards your tuition fee. Write letters to any wealthy members in your community outlining your academic achievements and social contributions and see if they are willing to aid you in going to college.
Flip NFTs to Make Money
If you can take out about a thousand dollars from your savings, you can buy and sell NFTs. NFTs are non-fungible tokens, usually in the form of any media file like pictures, videos, or recordings with a value attributed to them. They can be bought and sold like art. It is much more accessible to become a successful NFT collector than a high-end art collector.
Follow popular collections about to release and buy some NFTs to sell at a marked-up price later. Some people have successfully become millionaires this way.
Many other side hustles and saving tips can help you save up and pay for college. Stay on the lookout for them and limit any unnecessary expenses so that you can save the most possible to pay for college. Avoid as much debt as possible this way. If you rely on a loan to pay off the remaining tuition fee, just remember that it will build your credit score if you pay on time.