Finding ways to fund your college education can be tough. It seems like the cost of attendance increases every year and this can be a bit discouraging. Many people even decide to attend a college that they don’t really want to go to or decide not to go at all, in an attempt to save money. If you've you got your heart set on going to college, don’t give up. There are some ways to fund your college education that you may not have considered. Let’s check some of them out.
1. Federal Financial Aid
One of the first things you should do when trying to find ways to fund your college education is to apply for a Federal Pell Grant. This is one of the best ways to fund your education because you never have to pay the money you receive back. The amount of money that you will receive will depend on things like your financial need, how much it costs to attend the college you've selected, and whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. You can apply online or at the college you plan to attend. If you are currently in high school, you can also visit the guidance counselor's office for help.
2. Check into Local Scholarships
Have you considered applying for local scholarships in your area? I know that my insurance company awards scholarships each year. My husband’s employer does as well. I have a friend who was awarded a small scholarship from a local car dealership because she was the only one to apply. If this is something that you’re interested in, start by contacting different companies in your area and asking them if they have scholarship programs. If they do, ask them how to apply.
3. Part-time Job
There are tons of different part-time jobs that you can do while in college. Many employers are happy to work around your class schedule. When I was in college I worked at a convenience store and my boss was great about working around my schedule. It may be a good idea to get your class schedule lined up before you start applying for jobs. Then you will be able to inform your potential employer of the days and times that you are available to avoid any conflict.
One of the biggest expenses of going to college is the cost of housing. Whether you live in a dorm or get an apartment with friends, the cost can be overwhelming. If you currently live with your parents and they live close enough to the college that you will be attending, consider commuting. If you really want to live on campus, perhaps you could save up for a year or so and then move into a dorm.
5. Student Loans
Student loans are not for everyone, but many people fund most of their college education with them. I have a friend who funded most of her college education with student loans. She is now a teacher and says that she doesn't regret getting them. If you decide to take out a student loan, be sure to find out the loan terms and the interest rate. Many people prefer a loan that they don’t have to start paying back until they have graduated. Some lenders will even give you 6 to 12 months after graduation to start paying the loan back.
6. Borrow from Family
Have you considered borrowing money from family to help cover some of your educational expenses? I know that this can be a bit awkward, but it’s worth considering. Many family members will be more willing to lend you money for college. If you have a family member who will agree to lend you money, be sure to agree on some terms such as how much money the loan will be for and how long you have to pay it back. You many even want to get all of the details in writing and have it notarized by a public notary.
7. Consider Military Service
Have you ever considered military service? While it’s not for everyone, serving in the military is a great way to pay for your college education. Some programs will even pay for the bulk of your educational cost. I have a cousin who joined the National Guard to help pay her college education and she loved it. Military service can also provide you with a substantial amount of on-the-job training.
I know that paying for college can be challenging. Do you know of any additional ways to pay for college that you would like to add to this list? I can’t wait to hear some of them.