College financial aid is currently being sought out by numerous students across the nation and for many, scholarships and grants are the main focus of their financing goals as the majority of students are attempting to avoid loans, or at least reduce the amount they must borrow from federal or private loans to help meet their college tuition costs. Continued reports that the costs of attending both private and public universities are on the rise, coupled with the fact that many states are seeing cutbacks in their budget and causing universities to lower the amount of overall aid that may be offered, has created a situation where students are looking for any way that may be helpful to meet these costs, which are usually associated with tuition, fees, and books.
Yet, there are some alternative methods that students have used to help meet college costs, as there are some who simply cannot qualify for enough scholarship or grant funding to pay the entirety of their college tuition, but also, may want to avoid student loan debt altogether. While student loans can be helpful, particularly if students research their options and find an affordable loan, like those made directly from the federal government, there are some students who are looking for ways to meet their tuition costs throughout the semester rather than having to borrow and pay their debt up front.
Many major universities will offer financing plans for students which can bring about a more affordable opportunity, in that students can avoid borrowing loans, apply any funds from scholarships or grants that they receive at the beginning of the semester, and make payments on their college tuition requirements throughout the semester or year. Typically, students who may be attending school full-time but, for instance, may have either a job opportunity outside of school can usually set up a payment plan that will allow them to meet the costs of attending their college or university without having to scrape up the funds at the beginning of the semester.
While financing can be helpful for some, there are other methods that students are using to pay for college. An article on SmartMoney.com recently pointed out that some students are going to great lengths to meet their college tuition costs, or simply gain enough money to meet not only college fees but other expenses that arise when attending a college, like living expenses and food costs. One example of these alternative ways that students are paying for college, according to the article, is for signing up with volunteer groups like AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, or the American Red Cross, which may also offer scholarships that some students have not considered.
Yet, there are also opportunities for students to participate in work-study programs, as well as, simply look for student jobs on campus as areas like student unions, gymnasiums, or even various campus departments offer not only work-study opportunities but may hire part-time workers throughout the semester, which again, can provide at least some form of income for students who may be on a financing plan or who simply need extra money to meet additional costs outside of tuition fees.
Alternative opportunities to pay for college are available outside of scholarships, grants, and even loans, but students will need to begin their financial aid search early in order to ensure they give themselves the best chance at finding these free sources of aid, and talk to financial aid counselors at a university, look around campus for any job postings, or even talk with the university’s career center about on-campus job opportunities or options like paid internships that may not only be helpful when it comes to earning income but could help them gain experience for a career after graduation.