It’s back to school time and for those students that are going off to college, you may be trying to figure out just how you are going to pay your tuition. The cost of college can be super expensive because you are required to pay for so much. You have your tuition, room & board, college fees, costs of books & supplies, food, and spending money. According to The College Board, the average cost for college including room & board during the 2016-2017 school year was $7,560 for students attending a 2-year community college, $14,210 for in-state students at public colleges and $26,100 for private colleges. Those costs are just the average and some colleges could be even more. Tuition also has a tendency to go up after a few years to keep up with the cost of things like repairs and renovations to the campus.
The cost of college can sometimes scare people away from attending or even applying for college. It may be pricey but that does not mean that it is impossible for you to reduce the amount that you have to pay out of pocket. In fact, there are several things that you can do that do not include taking out loans to pay for your college education and some of the additional costs that come along with it.
1. Apply for a private scholarship
Private scholarships are basically FREE MONEY that is offered to a student by a religious or community organization, nonprofit, corporation or research institute that believes in higher education. Private scholarships only account for 6% of the financial awards that are given to students. You can find scholarships based on academic achievement, athletic ability, community service, artistic ability and unique characteristics like being left-handed. For most scholarships, you are required to submit your transcripts and an essay along with your application but there is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for. Start your search early and apply for as many as you can. The more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances are of being awarded some money.
2. Don’t dorm
When you think about the college experience, you automatically think of moving away from home and living in a dorm. You have your own space and freedom away from your parents. But the truth is, the average cost of dorm living is close to $10,000 per year! Staying at home would save you quite a bit of money and it wouldn’t impact your college experience too much. You can still join campus organizations, attend parties and hang out at all the cool student lounges. You may even make some friends and you can hang out in their rooms while you’re on campus.
3. Apply for a work-study or part-time job
A work-study is a job that is granted to you through your financial aid package. You are placed in a job on campus that will pay you directly so you don’t have to go looking for a job off campus. The only downfall of a work-study is, your hours are set and you will more than likely not be allowed to work extra shifts. If you don’t qualify for a work-study or would like a job that gives you the opportunity to work when you would like, getting a job off campus is always an option. Malls and local shops always have openings and it’s easy for college students to get into those type of jobs. You can save up money for after the semester or use the money to help you while you’re in school.
4. Negotiate your financial award
Yes, that is possible. If you think you deserve more or need more money to cover your college costs, you can ask your college to give you more money. You can write a formal appeal letter to your college detailing why you think you deserve more money. In your letter, be sure to highlight the reasons why the college chose you and why you chose the college. Talk about your grades and boast about the things you feel you can offer the college community while you are attending. Be sure to follow your letter with a phone call and talk to someone in the financial aid office.