10 Ways to Pay for College that You May Not Have Considered (2023)

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(Video) Top 10 Ways To Pay For College

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Financial Aid

There are many ways to pay for college -- get creative with these options.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

November 05, 2020

(Video) How to Pay for College | Crash Course | How to College

10 Ways to Pay for College that You May Not Have Considered (1)

From financial aid to part-time jobs to income-sharing agreements, there are multiple ways to pay for school.

(Video) How To Pay For College (The Right Way)

Paying for college is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Fortunately, you’re investing in a pretty great product – yourself. Like any investment, though, you may need to “diversify your portfolio.” That means you should explore multiple avenues in order to pay your tuition bill each year. However, you need to know where to start.At Fastweb, we can help you break down multiple ways to pay for school. You may utilize two or three of these options – or all 10! Make a plan now.

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Scholarships are free money that you can apply for and win in order to pay for college. At Fastweb, we specialize in helping students find scholarships — that they actually qualify for — from our database of over 1.5 million opportunities. Aside from checking Fastweb each day for new scholarship matches in your account, we keep students up-to-date on the newest, and sometimes easiest, scholarships to apply for. Check out articles like 10+ Scholarships You Can Apply for Today as well as our guide to Scholarships for the Class of 2021.

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Financial Aid

Financial aid is money from the federal and state governments that can help students pay for school. It comes in many forms, like grants, scholarships, work study or federal student loans. To apply, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for every year that you plan to enroll.Once you have applied for financial aid through the FAFSA, you will receive financial aid packages from each school that you apply to. This will give you a bigger picture of how much you can afford to pay for school and how much you still need to win through scholarships or borrow with student loans.

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Like scholarships, grants are free money that students can receive. They can be attained by either filling out the FAFSA or by applying individually. Grants can come from the government, colleges and universities, or public and private organizations.

Income Sharing Agreements

Income Sharing Agreements (ISAs) are a relatively new option in paying for college. Students are able to borrow money to pay for school and then must repay the debt with a certain percentage of their income over a set period of time after graduation. If there is a balance after the contract has expired, students do not have to pay the remaining balance.

College Savings

Like any big purchase you plan to make, another way to pay for school is to simply save money. Some parents begin saving for their child’s education when they are young, through a 529 Savings Account. These plans allow parents to invest in a tax-free earnings growth account that offers tax-free withdrawals.Students and their parents can also save the more traditional route, especially if college enrollment is a year or two away. After all, a dollar saved for college is one less dollar you’ll have to borrow in order to pay for school.

Work Study/Part-Time Job

Work study is a form of financial aid (granted through a FAFSA application) that students can qualify for in order to pay for college. Through work study programs, students can get a campus job and their paychecks either help to cover their tuition bill or they go directly to the student to cover other expenses. The U.S. Department of Education just announced an expansion to this program. Now, off-campus jobs can qualify as work study opportunities. Students are also able to work longer hours in order to make money. Finally, apprenticeships, externships, and clinical rotations can now count as work study jobs so that students can not only earn money, but receive on-the-job training for a future career. Students that do not qualify for work study can look into part-time jobs close to their college campus. A steady paycheck can help to alleviate the cost of college and cover everything from tuition to books to late night pizza delivery. You can start your search for part-time jobs right here on Fastweb.

Enlisting in the Military

The military offers amazing education benefits to service men and women, and there are a variety of ways to join and pay for school. First, you can join the military and take college classes on the base. After four years of service, you could very well enter the civilian world with a college degree. Other students may opt to attend college and join the military through Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Throughout your college career, you will take classes on your campus while attending off-campus military training. After graduation, you will become a commissioned officer in your specified military branch.If you’re not ready to commit to full-time military service, you can join the National Guard or Reserves and attend college while receiving on-the-job training. Reservists and Guard members are called on to help the nation in times of crisis and receive education benefits to help pay tuition.Finally, students can apply to one of the five prestigious military academies across the country. Tuition at these institutions is $0, but the admissions process is quite rigorous. A minimum service of five years is required after graduation.

Tax Credits

Every year, students and their parents can claim higher education tax credits. The first is the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Students can claim up to 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses, plus 25% of the next $2,000. The maximum annual credit is $2,500.The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is available to students who may not be eligible for the American Opportunity credit. This tax credit maximum is $2,000.

Student Loans

You may have exhausted all of the above options to pay for college and still do not have the amount you need in order to pay for school. At this point, it’s time to look into student loans. They can help bridge the gap between what you can pay and how much college costs.As a rule, students should always borrow federal first. Federally funded loans have the lowest interest rates, meaning you’ll pay less over time after graduation. Some students that demonstrate financial need may qualify for subsidized student loans, which has the interest paid by the government while the student is in college. Any student, regardless of income, can qualify for unsubsidized student loans. These loans accrue interest while the student is in college and must be paid back by the student after graduation.In some cases, you may need to borrow money from a private lender in order to pay for college. You can find expert help on how to find the best private loan here on Fastweb.

Strategizing Where to Attend College

If the cost of attending college is still overwhelming, it may be time to reconsider where you are applying and strategize how and where you should enroll. For example, many students opt to start their college career at a community college. Here, they can take all of the general courses for a fraction of the cost of a public or private college. After the first two years, they can transfer to a four-year institution to specialize in an area of study.You can also look into special programs that will pay for college and guarantee you a job after college. For instance, if you’re looking to earn a STEM degree, check out the Department of Defense’s SMART Scholarship program. This is a full-tuition scholarship, with a yearly stipend, health insurance AND more. You’ll also be guaranteed a job after college graduation.Students can begin strategizing how to pay for college as soon as they enter high school. It’s not too soon to look ahead and make a plan. During the first years of high school, students and their parents can have frank discussions about who is paying for college and how much. Equipped with that knowledge and with the above options to paying for school, students can realize their higher education dreams with minimal financial stress.

(Video) How To Pay For College | Graduating with No Student Loans


What are 10 ways to pay for college? ›

Here are some other options you may not yet have considered for easing the financial burden of attending college:
  • 529 college savings plan.
  • Local scholarships.
  • Financial aid appeals.
  • No-loan schools.
  • Employer tuition assistance.
  • Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment credits.
  • Prior learning assessments.
  • ROTC programs.

How do I pay for college if I don't have enough money? ›

How to pay for college with no money saved
  1. Apply for scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants are one way to put money in your pocket if you don't have college savings. ...
  2. Request work-study. ...
  3. Take out student loans. ...
  4. Cut expenses.
Dec 19, 2022

What are some other ways you can pay for college? ›

6 Best Ways to Pay for College
  • College Savings Plans. Families can save for future college costs using a 529 plan. ...
  • Federal Financial Aid. ...
  • Grants and Scholarships. ...
  • Cash From Savings. ...
  • Work During School. ...
  • Private Loans.
Nov 10, 2022

What are 4 ways to make college more affordable? ›

For many, the best way to pay for college is a combination of methods. You can find free money for college through grants and scholarships, earn cheaper credits and certificates online, work a part-time job on campus, or even graduate a semester or more early.

What are the 3 primary ways to pay for college? ›

Top 5 Ways to Pay for College: College Financial Aid, Explained
  • Apply for a Scholarship. Scholarships are typically merit-based. ...
  • Apply for a College Grant. College grants are need-based, and like scholarships, grants don't have to be repaid. ...
  • College Work Study. ...
  • Federal Student Loans. ...
  • Private Student Loans.

How do most people pay for college? ›

75% of families surveyed reported using parental income and savings to pay for college. 63% said they used a parent's current income to pay for college. One-third (33%) relied on funds saved in a college savings account, like a 529 plan, to pay for school.

How do middle class pay for college? ›

Students and families who do not qualify for Federal Pell Grants and Institutional need-based aid have several different options including scholarships, Federal Work Study, Federal loans for students, Federal loans for parents, private educational loans, and family savings and out-of-pocket payments, including payment ...

What to do if I don't have enough money? ›

This is what to do when you have no money at all
  1. Ensure you have food for three-four weeks.
  2. Negotiate all payments you have to make and ask for a 'payment holiday'.
  3. Apply to all emergency money schemes for which you are eligible.
  4. Keep yourself clean, tidy, and presentable.
  5. Start earning money; fast.
May 18, 2022

What are five ways to lower the cost of college? ›

1. Improve Your Chances of an Affordable College Cost
  • Apply to generous schools. ...
  • Don't commit early to a college. ...
  • Look for scholarships before and during college. ...
  • Improve your financial aid eligibility. ...
  • Learn how to evaluate aid packages. ...
  • Get college credit on the cheap. ...
  • Get a student job during college.

What do colleges need more of? ›

Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess. Each university may emphasize different elements of the application process.

What are the 5 main categories of college costs? ›

is made up of five different types of costs:
  • ROOM & BOARD. The cost of a place to live and the meals you eat for the school year. ...
  • BOOKS & SUPPLIES. The cost of such items as books, course materials, office and art supplies. ...

What are 3 things you can do to go to college debt free? ›

17 Ways to Go to College Debt-Free
  • Attend a Public School as an In-State Student. ...
  • Attend Community College. ...
  • Attend Online College. ...
  • Attend a No-Loan College. ...
  • Save With a 529 Plan. ...
  • Earn Scholarships. ...
  • Earn Grants. ...
  • Participate in a Work-Study Program.

What are colleges biggest expenses? ›

Tuition and fees are the biggest expense of going to college. Living expenses and lifestyle are also college cost considerations.

How do kids afford college? ›

Federal student aid may be used to pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and daycare for dependents. Students apply for federal loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Undergraduate students can borrow as much as $31,000 with a Federal Direct Loan.

Does FAFSA look at your debt? ›

Remember that the FAFSA is looking at money you have in the bank and not at your credit card debt.

Do colleges look at what you did in middle school? ›

The short answer is no, you should not. Pre-high school accomplishments are really not relevant to the college admissions process. Admissions officers are focusing on what you did in 9th through 12th grade. In general, they do not care to see what you did before you started high school.

What to do if you run out of checks? ›

But if you're in a pinch after having run out of checks before your new ones arrive, you can often get several instant counter checks from your bank to meet your temporary need. A teller or personal banker can print counter checks for you.

What to do when you're broke? ›

8 Crucial Things to Do When You're Broke
  1. Don't panic. First things first, do not panic. ...
  2. Make a plan. Imagine you're coaching a losing football team. ...
  3. Cut expenses. ...
  4. Bring in extra money. ...
  5. Make use of public assistance. ...
  6. Ask for help. ...
  7. Talk to your creditors. ...
  8. Find affordable ways to have fun.
May 28, 2022

What is the most common way that students borrow for college? ›

The two most common ways to borrow are federal student loans and private student loans.

What are three ways to lower the cost of college Ramsey? ›

Let's dive deeper into how they can help you as you figure out how to pay for college.
  • Get out and stay out of debt. Ramsey often advises people to cut up their credit cards and close their accounts for good. ...
  • Budget for the present and the future. ...
  • Prioritize affording college over going to reach schools.
Feb 17, 2022

What are the 4 types of student loans? ›

There are four types of federal student loans: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans. Private student loans are issued through institutions like banks, credit unions, schools and even state agencies.

How much is too much student debt? ›

If the total amount borrowed is less than your starting salary then experts say you should be able to repay it within 10 years. Your Payments Should Be Less Than 10% of Your Gross Income: Another way to look at the problem is to see how much you'll be paying on your student loans each month after graduation.

What is the maximum fafsa loan amount? ›

Aggregate Loan Limits

Dependent students: $31,000. Independent undergraduates and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans: $57,500. Graduate and professional students: $138,500 (or $224,000 for certain medical training) including undergraduate borrowing.

What are 3 reasons why the cost of college is increasing? ›

Over the last 30 years, tuition costs have soared for a variety of reasons. State funding cuts, expanding administrative staffs, and increased construction and facility costs all play a role. As a result, the average student debt among college graduates is now close to $28,000.


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