Let’s talk money.
Paying for college is probably one of the most requested topics from students and parents I work with; questions like:
- What scholarships can I apply for?
- Do I have to take out loans?
- Can I even afford to go to college at all?
And every time I am asked these questions as a tutor and college prep coach, I can feel the anxiety and stress students and their parents feel. Many students will be the first in their family to go to college, and for others, college is their only option to their dream career.
Because of this, I feel the need to give as much value to my students and parents as possible. When I was in this situation, it was one of the most stressful parts of the process (if you haven’t read my story, click here.)
So, here are my five ways to pay for college and stay away from loans!
1. Fill Out Your FASFA!
The FASFA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This application evaluates a student’s family situation to determine your need. Based on your families’ financials, FASFA will award you scholarships, grants, and loans based on that information.
After filling out this form, you will receive an aid report that will show you any scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study jobs you qualify for!
About 2.6 billion dollars of Federal-aid went unclaimed in the 2018-2019 school year, so please make sure to fill out the FASFA, so you leave no money on the table!
2. Check for Specific University Scholarships
Don’t forget that the universities you apply for have their own scholarships they award with their own individual requirements!
All you need to do is go to the scholarship section for the university or universities you are applying to and look at their scholarship requirements. Many scholarships you automatically evaluated for by applying for admission, while some scholarships have more steps.
For example, Emory University has an Opportunity Award that is based on merit (3.2 GPA or higher), and students are evaluated for the scholarship based on their admission application.
Don’t miss out on scholarships from the universities you want to attend!
Head over to their university page and make sure to see what scholarships you may qualify for.
3. Become a Resident Assistant
Being a Resident Assistant at your university is a great way to save money!
You will be in charge of a hall or floor of a dormitory, and most universities will cover your entire room and board for this position! That means you can eat and live on campus for FREE or a reduced price!
Every university’s requirements are different but make sure to call to ask about the specific requirements,
Even if you have to be a sophomore before you can become a resident assistant, like at Stetson University, that is still three years of free or reduced room and board!
4. Use College Board’s Scholarship Search for Private Scholarships
College Board, who is the creator of the SAT and AP courses, has a scholarship search quiz that will help you find scholarships that you qualify for.
Here is the link to check it out: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search
All you have to do is fill in some personal, academic, and affiliation information, and the college board generates a list tailored to you.
There is about $6 billion of private scholarships every year, so ensure that you take advantage of that and using the College Board Scholarship search is the best start.
5. Having a Part-Time job can help!
Sounds obvious but getting a job while in college is a great way to cover those extra college costs.
Many universities have on-campus jobs or businesses around the campus that regularly work with students and work with your schedule!
Having a part-time job will allow you the cash to pay for textbooks, your room and board, or even pay extra costs on your tuition!
Remember that you are no longer in school for 8 hours a day, like high school, when you are in college. You will have a lot more time on your hands, so filling some of that time with a part-time job can cut really your costs.
Make sure to evaluate all of these ways to pay for college so that you don’t miss out on money for school!
Until then, Work Hard and Study Smart! 📚✒️📝✏️
Asia Small | CEO of The Purpose of Prep LLC
PS Need help preparing for the SAT? Click here to join my waitlist for my SAT Bootcamp!
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