The cost of a college education is at an all-time high and is sure to get even more expensive in the future. Student loans can set you up for future debt, while scholarships and grants are often hard to come by. So how exactly is a student supposed to find money to go to school? We've detailed 20 creative ways to do just that.
1. Start young: Parents, this is for you. Don't wait until your child is in high school to start thinking about funding their education. Ask grandparents and other family members to give savings bonds for birthdays and special occasions.
2. Tutoring: If you’re a good student, find out if your school is looking for tutors. You can also freelance and offer your services to classmates who have trouble with lessons.
3. On campus opportunities: Most colleges offer students a chance to pick up some money through administrative positions at their financial aid and registrar offices. There are also often job openings at the library, cafeteria and laboratories.
4. Use the web: Set up your own website or blog. Promote it and make money using Google’s AdSense program. You can also earn more cash by performing affiliate marketing services for other websites, where you’re paid for redirecting traffic from your site to theirs.
5. Get a job: You can wait tables, work retail, and talk to customers in a call center. These types of jobs often have flexible schedules that work around your classes.
6. Federal work study programs: Find out if your college takes part in the federal work study program that allows graduate, post graduate and professional students the chance to earn tuition money as they go to school.
7. Creative options: If you have a flair for the arts and are good with your computer, you can pay your way through school using the internet. Design websites, create logos, brochures and flyers, and put together presentations for companies that need these services.
8. Drug study programs: Laboratories need healthy test subjects to study their drugs, and college students often fit the bill. Some of these pay really well, but make sure you take part in drug studies that do not affect your health.
9. Conventions: Find out if your town is hosting conventions and secure yourself a temporary help position. Reach agreements with local businesses so that they’ll ask you to fill in when they’re short-staffed or over-worked.
10. Get people to support you: Send out requests to people you know, asking each of them to contribute to your college fund. Every small amount helps when you're trying to stay out of debt.
11. Find a sponsor: There are people who are willing to pay the cost of your education if you agree to give them a percentage of your income for a fixed amount of time in the future. This is not the same as an education loan since there's no interest to pay.
12. Loan forgiveness programs: The government offers various loan forgiveness programs if you agree to work in public service. You can work off all or a percentage of your student loans by fulfilling certain conditions for a few years after you graduate. For more information, visit The National Health Service Corps and the National Association of Public Interest Law.
14. Seek help from community service clubs: Write to your local Lions, Rotary or Elks clubs and ask them for contributions to your college fund. You can also try soliciting businesses where you know senior personnel.
15. Programming skills: If you’ve got good programming skills, create your own software for small business needs and sell them to local businesses. Restaurants and bookstores need accounting, inventory and payroll packages, but may not be able to afford those on the open market.
16. Electronic repairs: Tinker around with broken and faulty electronic goods and computers for money. Being known as the resident handyman could bring in lots of business.
17. Get rid of extras: Ebay and other online auction sites offer you the chance to pick up some extra money by selling things you don’t need anymore.
18. Product promotion: A few companies offer students money to promote their products on location, over the phone or on the Internet. These jobs are usually part-time with flexible working hours.
19. More work: It’s not easy to work when your friends are partying, but if you work extra shifts during summer, spring and winter breaks, the money you earn will go a long way to ensuring that you have a debt-free future.
20. Get your employer to sponsor you: If you’re studying on a part-time basis as you work, ask your employer to pay for all or part of your college education expenses.