Other Ideas to Help Pay for College
For the past few weeks, we have been talking about saving for college. Yet many of my friends and family did not save for college or save enough for college. No matter how much you have saved for college, your student can work to help pay for their college.
After filling out the FAFSA forms at studentaid.gov, your student will receive an offer of financial aid from the colleges they have applied to. They can appeal the offer and see if they can receive more financial aid. But beware of student loans. They can be part of the “package” a college offers students. You can refuse loans.
Students can apply for grants and scholarships. One of my friends had her students spend 10-20 hours a week applying for grants and scholarships instead of working a part-time job. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back. They can be found in many places. The main difference between the two is need. Grants are given out of need, while scholarships can be given based on need or other criteria. Two great websites are scholarships.com and fastweb.com. If you are a military family, another great place to start is search.militaryscholar.org which the Fisher House Foundation runs. Look for scholarships from local groups like spouses, clubs on military bases, or clubs that interest your student.
A great way to save money is to take required core classes at local community colleges. This is key if your student is attending an in-state school. Many schools will accept community college classes from their state. Taking community college classes during the summers or while living at home can save thousands of dollars. Once you are at college, take as many classes as possible each semester since many universities have a “full-time” status which means three to four classes. But if your student can handle four to five classes, the university may not charge for the extra ones. That allows your student to complete their coursework sooner.
All of these can help save you and your student thousands of dollars. But don’t forget also to have your student be creative with ways to raise money to pay for their food and other costs. Think about their skills. Do they like to work with kids? Pets? Teach something? Tutor? Could they deliver food? Think creatively. Apply for paid internships during the summer as well as the school year.
I know one thing that may not be popular is having your student live with you. That certainly comes with its own challenges. Some students can handle living at home; others desire independence.
Things to avoid. Taking out loans. Try to avoid loans since they can cause the student not to be able to get out from under the loans. Now I want to share my opinion about taking money out of retirement accounts to pay for college. I don’t recommend it. No one will pay for your retirement. Your student needs to find ways to pay for college or possibly postpone college and get a job to save for it. Taking money out of your ROTH is allowed to pay for college, but I don’t advise it.
As you look to the future, planning is key to success. Each Friday, we will explore finances, and I pray you will ask me questions and engage others in what you learn. What are other ways you have paid for college?