You may be wondering if you have alternatives to student loans when it comes time to pay for college. Student loans may seem like the easiest solution, but you may feel differently when it comes time to pay off your student loans for several years. It can be scary to graduate in the red with thousands of dollars in debt. You will need to create a budget for college to help you manage your money and limit your spending. Then you can use on of these several different approaches that you can take when it comes to attending college. If you look for enough resources, you may be able to pay for college without working.
You should actively look for and apply to scholarships. There are scholarships that lay unclaimed every year. It is also important to realize that not all scholarships are based only on academic performance. You can apply for scholarships that are based on service that you have performed. You can also find scholarships based on your major, your heritage, or where you or your parents work. There are scholarships designed for people entering specific years in college, so you should continue to look for scholarships once you have begun school.
2. Pay as You Go
Another alternative is to pay for college as you go out of pocket. This means that you can work full time in the summers and save your money for school. If you make the most of your summer job, you may be able to avoid working during the school year. You can also work during the school year part time. You may consider attending a community college or junior college for your generals. If you do this you need to contact the college that you plan on attending in the future, to find out which generals will carry over, and which ones will not. Another option is to lower your housing costs by living off campus or by choosing a different meal plan. Finding a good college job will help you gain experience and earn money while going to school.
3. Tuition Reimbursement From Your Employer
You may consider working at a company that will pay for you to attend college. Some companies will pay for the classes upfront, others will reimburse the cost after you have successfully completed each semester. Generally the companies will have a time period that you must work for them after you graduate, or you will need to pay them back the difference. The medical profession, especially nurses, have several of these programs available due to the nursing shortage.
4. Attend College Part Time
You may also consider working full time and attending college part time. This means that your education will take a bit longer, but you will not need to sacrifice as much when it comes to lifestyle choices. This is a good option for someone who has decided to attend college later in life. Many programs are designed specifically for this purpose.
5. Take a Heavier Class Load
You may also choose to maximize your dollars by taking on a heavier class load. Many students will only take the minimum requirements each semester. You may be able to add an extra class or two, and graduate a semester earlier. You may find that by attending classes in the summer you save money, since the cost of tuition is often lower.
6. Graduate School
If you are attending graduate school, you may be able to find alternatives ways to pay for graduate school. Most graduate programs work hard to find funding for the majority of its full time students. This often means working as a research associate or as a teaching assistant. If you are in your PhD program you can also work at community colleges.