5 Ways to Cover College Costs | 07.24.13

Posted in College Life, FAFSA, financial aid tips, Scholarships, Student Loans By Student Loan Network Staff

Paying for CollegeWhether you’re a soon-to-be freshman or second semester senior, it is never easy to figure out how to cover the costs of college. With tuition and hidden fees of private colleges averaging out to about $40,000 per year, many of you are still wondering how your family is expected to pay for $35,000 of your education, even after having received your Student Aid Report (SAR) three months ago. To help you out in your pursuit of a college degree, here are 5 ideas for paying for college when Federal aid comes up short.

Befriend the Financial Aid Office

If you are disappointed by the amount of financial aid that you receive, try talking to your financial aid office. Many colleges have an appeal process for financial aid, so get on a first-name basis with someone in the financial aid office and see what else can be done.

Search for Scholarships

There are millions of dollars in scholarships that go unclaimed every year, so why not spend a few days this summer searching and applying for as many scholarships as you can find? On average, you will win 1 out of every 10 scholarships that you apply for, so don’t get discouraged. For starters, try visiting our recommended scholarship search website, or try winning scholarships through the ScholarshipPoints program.

Apply for Private Student Loans

After exhausting scholarships and financial aid, private student loans can cover the rest of the price of school…to those who qualify. Unfortunately, just like the bouncer at that club that you always walk by, these lenders don’t just accept ANYBODY that comes to their door. Most lenders will not provide a loan unless you have a credit-worthy cosigner, but, even if you don’t, it is still definitely worth taking two minutes out of your life to apply for private student loans.

Take a Gap Year

Yes, I know that you’re excited for college, but it might make more sense to work for a year first and put the money that you earn towards college. Assuming that you work close to full-time for $8.00 an hour, you can earn around $1,000 a month after taxes. Plus, you can always visit your friends at nearby colleges on weekends.

Acquire Investors

No, I’m not kidding about this option. With Upstart.com, it’s now possible to find people to invest in your education. You can create an account and specify how much money you need for school. From there, investors can pledge money for your education. Here’s the catch: in exchange, you promise to give them a portion of your salary for 10 years after college.

If you still need funding, there are plenty of other great alternatives. Why not try taking part in focus groups, or see how much money you can get from practicing your beatbox skills on the sidewalk? There are plenty of great ways to earn some extra money if you capitalize on your creativity. Take a look at some of our additional ideas on how to fill the gap for some other suggestions, and share your own ideas of how to pay for school.


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