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How to Pay for College Without Parental Help

Glass bank for tips with money isolated on whiteWith the cost of college tuition rising and the need for an advanced degree to attain post-graduate success, both students and parents alike are wondering about the best methods for paying costly university bills. It’s not just tuition that levies a hefty balance, it’s the additional costs such as room and board, college textbooks, and meal plans.

To estimate the total of college expenses, try using a financial aid calculator. This number can give an idea of just how much will be necessary to save, borrow, or earn in scholarships and aid. Many students find that they are able to afford college without parental support by using these tactics below.

Get a Job

Part-time jobs not only offer diversity to a student’s resume, but they provide a way to earn extra cash for those college costs. College admission counselors admire a resume with a mix of educational and professional experience.

Most colleges offer work-study programs, as well, so students can work on campus while they complete their degree. Many extracurricular clubs offer monthly stipends to lead the clubs. Look into getting involved on campus and find monetary benefits opportunities.

Some part-time jobs may provide tuition assistance or scholarships to their employees, or provide flexible work hours to accommodate a student’s schedule.

Offbeat ideas like freelancing or participating in research studies are also prime options for college students.

Start a Savings Account

It’s never too late to start a savings account. While there are specific savings accounts for college, like pre-paid or a 529 account, students can set-up their own individual savings account to learn financial responsibility. This savings account can start healthy finance habits. A student who sets aside just 10 percent of each paycheck can see how a savings account will be helpful in the event of unexpected expenses.

Also, look into savings accounts that pay interest or think about investing some money. It’s possible your investments could make enough money to pay-off your loans by the time you’re ready to graduate. Talk to a financial planner before making any big financial decisions.

Apply for Financial Aid

The process of applying for financial aid can be time consuming and require a lot of paperwork. Get a jumpstart by rounding up tax information early and filing taxes on time. Most colleges allow you to start financial aid applications on January 1st, so it’s crucial that you don’t hesitate. Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Financial aid applications are necessary for many students, even those who might not need aid based on income. You never know how much money you can receive from aid, until you turn in your application. Criteria for financial aid changes every year so be sure to submit your form even if you did not qualify last year.

Another surprising fact is that sometimes you have to be rejected by federal aid as a prerequisite for private scholarship awards.

Submit Scholarship Applications

Free money does exist, but students have to work for it. Students should start by scanning scholarship websites and reviewing the necessary criteria for various awards. Some scholarships have particular essay topics. Scholarship committees want to understand the student for more than just their financial background, so they ask for essays to understand students’ personalities and writing skills.

Students should compile a list of scholarship applications to complete and dedicate specific time to work on essays and forms. Have someone with strong writing and editing skills proofread the essay to find any mistakes before you submit the essay.

Consider Student Loans

More than two-thirds of college students take out some type of loan while attending classes. While many want to remain debt-free, some students may have a need for additional funding to finish paying off university fees. Try using income and savings for one-third of college costs and grants, scholarships, and loans for the rest. This formula shows an easy and attainable way to calculate how to afford college. To also help alleviate student loans, check for cheaper online college-accredited classes to help supplement your on-campus education. Internet-based classes are cost-effective and more convenient for students trying to juggle school and work.

The key to affording higher education is to start planning early. College bills may feel impossible to pay, but it can be done. Analyze all your options, before you commit to a large loan or avoid college altogether.

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