By Nylie on September 29th, 2020

Seven Ways Students Can Make Money for College

Seven Ways Students Can Make Money for College

Your parents aren’t paying for college, and you’re racking up debt. Here are some ways students can come up with money for school especially now that typical jobs like cashier or barista have become scarcer during the pandemic.

American universities are the most expensive in the world, so it’s not surprising that more than two-thirds of students take out loans, and that those who do graduate with an average of almost $30,000 in debt. And even that’s not much to pay for school and expenses, meaning undergrad years can be rough: a survey of 86,000 American college students by The Hope Center for College reported that 14% of respondents attending four-year college had been impacted by homelessness and 48% experienced some kind of housing insecurity, such as difficulty paying rent. Many more struggle to make ends meet.

Here are seven ways you can defray the cost of college without taking on additional debt – and without ringing up anyone's purchase or making a chai latte.

1) Scholarships and grants Yeah, yeah, you already knew that. But did you know how important it is to start early? The majority of scholarships and grants are targeted at incoming freshmen and can then be renewed yearly until graduation for students in good standing. While it is possible to seek out scholarships and grants in your sophomore year or later, your best bet is to focus on applying while you’re still in high school.

2) On-Campus Jobs with Tuition Remission Students eligible for financial aid are often offered Federal Work-Study positions (FWS) – part-time work at their university – as a part of their financial aid package. But you may be better off seeking a full- or part-time entry-level position if your school offers tuition remission programs to employees. Not only will you be paid for your work and gain practical job experience, but you could theoretically even complete your undergraduate or graduate degree tuition-free or close to it. A common path to consider: get a job at a community college, get your two-year associate degree there and then transfer to your dream university.

3) Off-Campus Jobs With Special Incentives to College Students A number of companies and organizations offer unique benefits for student employees. Each program has different requirements – working for six months before eligibility, or maintaining a C average, say. Here are some examples:

• Verizon and AT&T employees are eligible for up to $8,000 per year in education benefits. • UPS offers part-time employees up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per year. • Comcast employees are eligible for up to $5,750 per year in educational expenses. • Chipotle employees can receive $5,250 per year in tuition assistance.

There are also some regional opportunities:

• Dick’s Drive-In Seattle employees working 20 hours a week are eligible for a $3,500 scholarship during their first two years of their school program, and $9,000 a year for the remaining two years of their program. • Starbucks employees working 20 hours a week are eligible for full tuition coverage at Arizona State University.

4) Paid Internships Many university programs require undergraduates to complete an internship in their field of study during their time at school. Those can be unpaid (except in “experience”), requiring students to pick up additional part-time work. Consider looking at paid internship opportunities in your field, where you can sometimes earn more than the service jobs college students often take. Some internships may also cover housing and food expenses outside of your salary.

5) Federal Government Pathways Internships The Federal Government also offers unique paid internship opportunities that are extremely flexible with student schedules. These internships can be completed not just in Washington D.C. but in various locations across the U.S. The positions offer a competitive government salary and benefits (including starting a retirement plan), flexibility with your school schedule – you can potentially request time off during exam period or university holidays – and tuition assistance for specific programs. Students who stay with the program throughout college may be offered a full-time position after graduation. And since you would be considered a government employee, you can potentially use the time working in your Pathways position to count towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness after graduating.

Some positions offer free housing and wages, a double-win. Those include:

6) Resident Assistants RA’s are students (usually sophomores and up) who live in dorms – often with first-year students – to provide guidance and help them make social, personal, and academic adjustments to college. Most universities provide free housing and some, in addition, pay an hourly wage for additional tasks like planning floor activities or monitoring the residence hall desk. The housing benefit alone can save you over $10,000 a year, depending on the housing costs in your school’s area.

7) Au Pairs Usually thought of as an opportunity for young women (and occasionally men) from abroad who come to the United States on an international exchange to assist a family with childcare, it is also a viable option for undergraduates. Au Pairs assist with childcare and, in exchange, provide room, board, and a weekly or monthly salary. Most families looking for au pairs are flexible with student schedules: for example, you might help kids get ready for school in the morning and then pick them up after school. Au pair positions sometimes offer separate housing like “mother-in-law” or basement apartments, ideal for undergrads who want to do their own cooking and have personal space.

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