If you are a college student or exploring options to start college soon, you must know massively expensive college is these days. You are likely already aware of the basics of paying for a college education. Apply for college-funded financial assistance, seek grants and scholarships, fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and, if necessary, look for education loan finance or private student loans.
However, there is a lot more you can do alongside the basics to finance your education in your dream college. With a little more effort, creativity, research, and persistence, you can reap the benefits of other financial strategies that can help reduce the burden of your tuition bills.
This blog will elaborate on some of those useful and practical financial strategies. Read on to learn.
Make Use of the Installment Plans
Some colleges allow students to pay for the tuition fee in monthly instalments through their deferment plans. These tuition fee installment plans enable you to pay for a hefty semester fee in small equal parts throughout the specified period, instead of making a large payment in one go.
If your college doesn’t offer an installment plan for tuition fees, seek recommendations from your college management for an organization that can sponsor your education. Several companies provide alternative financing options to help struggling college students, as suggested by the College Board.
Do Side Gigs or Freelance for the Extra Pocket Money
Many college students end up taking part-time jobs at minimum wages because of financial constraints. But there are other options that can help you earn more than working part-time for a bare minimum salary. Here are some of those options:
Food Delivery Service
You don’t necessarily have to work in a restaurant to become a delivery driver. If you are 18 years old and above with a driver’s license, you can join food delivery services like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub. And since more people are ordering food deliveries ever since the coronavirus outbreak, these companies are struggling with a shortage of delivery drivers. This might be a great time to offer food delivery services because of the sharp rise in demand.
Online platforms like UpWork and Fiverr enable college students to set up their freelance businesses and ask for their desired price structures. The best part about freelancing is the flexibility; you can take on projects according to your college curriculum.
For instance, you can take a break from freelancing during your exams and resume later. Whether you’re good at graphic designing, logo creations, content creations, academic writing, voice-overs, or social media handling—you can do freelance work for about anything you’re proficient at and earn money. You can also freelance for TaskRabbit to help furniture moving, lifting of heavy objects, goods delivery, gardening, and furniture assembling.
Selling Your Art and Craft
If you are great at sketching, painting, crocheting, jewelry making, designing apparel, or any other art and craft skill, don’t let it go to waste.
You can set up your social media handle to sell your creations, or you can sign up with online platforms like Etsy to make more money out of your creations. Becoming a seller on Etsy is more profitable because it helps you target potential buyers instead of a mass market. If you’re good at designing logos, in particular, you can set up an online store on Zazzle or CafePress and sell logos for mugs, clothing, hats, bags, and more.
Complete Core Courses From a Community College
Studying at a community college for one year or two can significantly save college tuition bills. The average tuition fee for one year at a community college is around $3500, which is way less than $9500 or more per year at an in-state college. The first two years of a 4-year graduate program usually comprise core courses that are typically similar across colleges, and the last two years are focused on the chosen majors. You can complete the core courses at a much lower tuition fee from a community college and then transfer their credit hours to an in-state college for your majors.
If you don’t want to miss out on the freshman year experience in an in-state college, consider going to a community college for your summer courses. In any case, make sure that your in-state college accepts credit hours from community colleges.
Lookout for Tuition-Free Colleges
If you haven’t enrolled yourself in a college yet, consider looking for colleges that offer 4-year graduate programs free of any tuition fee. Many students assume that tuition-free colleges funded by hefty donations might provide low-quality education. However, in reality, these colleges have several stipulations and strict criteria, and only the qualified ones can study there for free. You might even have to show exceptional high school merit records or start an on-campus to qualify for the free tuition. Sure, that sounds like a lot of effort, but it’s definitely worth the quality of education you’ll be receiving and the career prospects it’ll open for you.
For example, The College of the Ozarks offers free education to 1,400 students from each year’s batch. To qualify, students must work on-campus for a minimum of 15 hours per week.
Try Graduating in 4 Years
According to the data revealed by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 41 percent of students enrolled in full-time graduate programs complete their college degrees in 4 years. The remaining 59 percent manage to do it in six years. More years in college mean more accumulated tuition bills, which can hurt your finances and add to your student loan big time. Late graduation might also mean years of income loss from a potential full-time job. Therefore, you must create a set of strategies you plan to follow for graduating in four years or less and abide by them.
Though these financial strategies are all super useful, they are often not enough to pay hefty college expenses. Education Loan Finance (ELFI) offers private student loans for undergraduate and graduate students struggling to pay for their college education. Parents of college-going adults can also ease their financial burden with ELFI student loan financing for parents. ELFI ensures that no application fee, prepayment fee, or origination fee is charged on their student loans, making it easier for students to compare rates and find a plan that best fits their needs.