Thursday, November 15, 2012

How To Pay For College Without Parents

Lots of students need to pay for college without parents' help each year. It's never easy, but there are several options to take.

1) Scholarships, grants and financial aid. This may take a little digging and humbling of yourself, but they're great methods to get basically free money for college!

Scholarships and grants are available for all kinds of different things- such as for entrepreneurs, people from certain towns or cities, different races, etc.

Some of the best scholarships are for those joining ROTC to become military officers when you graduate. They usually pay a huge chunk (if not all) of tuition and you may get a monthly stipend as well.

Financial aid tends to be more readily available if you live with a single parent, or your parents don't make much money or have a high net worth.

Whatever your situation, looking into these is highly recommended, because you don't have to pay them back!

2) Student loans. Although this feels like free money at first, you will eventually have to pay it back. The great thing about these loans is often the federal government will pay the interest until you graduate, at which point you'll have to start paying.

Even though you have to pay these back, the interest rate is reasonable- usually less than 7%. Also if you start paying it off early (paying big chunks more than the minimum), the bank may lower your interest rate to get you to stop paying it off early!

Although student loans work well at the time, they can make things much harder once you graduate. Being laden with thousands of dollars in debt at the beginning of your career can be stressful.

3) Get a part-time job. A lot of college students go this route, but it can be tough to balance school and your job at the same time. Especially since you'll most likely have to work at least 15-20 hours a week to make decent money.

Here are some of the most popular side jobs college students can get:
-On-campus jobs
-Waiting tables
-Temp agencies
-Special event companies

If you have a highly specialized skill, such as computer programming or you're a great artist, you may be able to do that on the side for a little extra money too.

4) Co-op or get a paid internship. The benefits to this is that you'll learn more about your industry, make decent money, and get to network and build a reputation within your company.

If you don't mind staying in college a little longer (most co-op programs extend your college career at least a year), then this is one of the best ways to pay for college without parents.

5) Start your own business. Don't let this scare you- there are lots of easy businesses with low startup costs available to college students.

Here's a few ideas:
-Hot dog/ice cream stand
-Window washer
-Parking lot cleaning service
-Home cleaning service
-Online business such as affiliate marketing

All of these are great choices, but I'm a little biased towards online businesses and affiliate marketing.

There are three main reasons I say that:

1)Unlimited income potential (billions are spent online each year)

2)VERY flexible (you just need a computer- do it whether you're at home at 1am or on campus at 2pm.)

3)Teaches you skills you keep forever such as writing and marketing

Although this is my favorite and most recommended way to pay for college without parents' help, there are lots of other ways available that I've shown in this article. I hope this was helpful- good luck!

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