These creative ideas on how to pay for college are a great start to exploring your options and planning your path through college.
Covering the cost of college will be one of your biggest challenges besides your actual school work. These ideas are meant to plant a seed in your head to help you come up with creative ways to find money for college and graduate with little or no debt.
Some of these ideas I’ve used myself and others I’ve recommended as a consultant to students looking to finance the cost of college with minimal to no debt.
COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS & GRANTS Any students that I consult with that are looking into ways on how to pay for college, college scholarships and grants are the first option I recommend and focus on. With over 2 million scholarships and grants worth over $12 billion available to collegebound students, there are scholarships for every kind of student.
This is the option I always recommend first. Early preparation and a good plan will help you achieve great results and win more scholarship money when college is just around the corner.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE There are a number of Community Colleges popping up all over the country and the biggest reason is the cost of a typical college or university has gotten too expensive. You have the option to make your community college your option for a degree or you can start out at a community college taking elective courses and then transfer over to the college or university of your choice. This is becoming a very popular option with students who don’t find the need to pay top dollar at a college or university for non core classes.
Community College courses will be less expensive, they’ll help you get your feet wet and while your taking elective courses that are generally required at all colleges and universities, it’ll give you time to decide the course you wish to take with your future and give you more opportunities to find money for college that you’ll need to complete all four years.
Did I also mention that Community Colleges offer many scholarships for their students to take advantage of? Community College is a great option on how to pay for college.
COLLEGE LEVEL EXAM PROGRAMS (CLEP) This college exam program is a great way to receive college credit for something you already know at a fraction of what it would cost you to take the class. It’s like taking the final exam in the class without taking the class. All you pay for is the exam at a fraction of the cost of the class.
I took advantage of this option during my college career. Due to poor planning, I found myself at the end of four years of college short by three credits to graduate. They happened to be elective credits and at the time had some knowledge of a foreign language, so I signed up and took the CLEP for that language and level I chose. I received the score that I needed; I earned my three credits and graduated on time.
This saved me a great deal of money and time by not having to take the college class and it allowed me to graduate with my class. This program can also be used at the beginning of a college career to get electives out of the way that you may have a good knowledge of.
Learn more about cutting college costs with CLEP.
ROTC SCHOLARSHIPS The military is a great option when it comes to figuring out how to pay for college, especially for those with an interest in serving. As high school student you can get involved in the Junior ROTC program. This program allows you to get introduced to the military and ways of the military. In exchange, they’ll help you pay for college and in some cases pay all of your college tuition.
Another military option is to join a branch of the service and they’ll help you pay for college classes that you take during your military service time. This is also a popular way to find money for college without incurring debt if you’re interested in military service.
I took advantage of this option myself during my college career. I happened to be half way through a four year program at a state university without any money left to cover the cost of college. One of my options was to incur considerable debt to finance my last two years. I chose to look at the branch of military service that would best suite my desire to finish my last two years of college. They offered me some great options on how to pay for college. I joined that branch of service, I took three years to finish my degree program and I graduated with no college debt because they helped me pay for most of my classes.
So if you're looking for ideas on how to pay for college, explore one or all of these options, it could be worth thousands of dollars in your pocket.
I’ve advised students who have found money for college entirely through scholarships and grants while some have taken advantage of more than just one of these options.
Everyone’s situation is different and every path through college is different and you need to find the right path for you.
The important thing to remember is to get a quality education with a degree in your hand without having to start your career owing someone money. It can be done with a little work and early planning and preparation...we can help!