Can’t figure out how to pay for school? Before you abandon your hopes and dreams, here’s a little secret: there’s more help out there than you might think, and it isn’t just in the form of student loans. If you research the right programs and opportunities, you can gain access to a significant amount of income and get paid to go to school.
Yes, you can earn money from going to school, giving you even more reason to start exploring your educational options now. From filling out your FAFSA, accepting financial aid in scholarships and grants, and even selling your research, school itself can give you every reason to jump start your career path today. Read the full article to learn more.
Start Educating Your Way to Financial Freedom Now!
It sounds wild, but it’s true. So, grab a pen and paper, sit close, and take notes — this is our version of School Financing 101.
Figure Out Where You’re At With FAFSA
Before getting into all the support options, know that it’s important to figure out what you need while also ensuring you have access to all available programs. One of the best ways to do that is by filling out your Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) application and applying for aid.
It is critical to fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible. The sooner you fill it out, the better off you are. Find out what your state’s cutoff day is for submitting the FAFSA, and make sure you have it submitted in time. Otherwise, you may lose state funds that you would have otherwise had access to.
How FAFSA Works
FAFSA takes your information and calculates it against baseline requirements, essentially telling you what you need to survive. This number includes cost of living, tuition, books, and most other student-oriented needs, and is weighed against your ability to contribute (working income or parents).
The FAFSA is the key to your financial aid. Every college student fills one out, because without it, you won’t receive any aid.
Applying for FAFSA Opens Up Grants
Your FAFSA application also grants you immediate eligibility for grants, loans, and bursaries. When you apply for federal aid, the system automatically cross-checks your situation against requirements for these programs, signing you up when you’re eligible to give you the best shot at accessing funds.
You’re probably better off going to school on grants than a mountain of loans. Grants don’t require repayment after you graduate, which means you’re left with less debt. You can still get student loans, but always go for grants and scholarships first, so you have less of a financial burden when you’re done with school.
Look for Scholarships
While you’re waiting for your FAFSA approval, focus on self-development and seek out scholarships that can bring in more money. Like grants, you don’t need to pay them back, but they often pay significantly more to students who qualify.
Can’t figure out how to find the right scholarships, or aren’t sure how to apply? Review this list from USA Today packed with handy links to direct resources. Nail down the right scholarship and you might end up with more money than you need. You should also check with the school you plan to attend, as all school have their own scholarships, often funded by local groups and alumni.
Ask Your Employer
If you’re working, find out whether your employer offers educational reimbursements for successfully completed programs. Many employers reimburse employees to encourage self-betterment, which results in a more competent employee.
Not every employer offers full reimbursement; some provide a specific amount for employees to use towards their education. Typically, these employer-provided grants are given out either once a year or once per employee. The exact amount provided depends on the employer.
Sell Your Research or Tutor Others
Doing really well in school? Acing thesis papers with your eyes closed? You may be able to flex those skills to make some money along the way. Sell your research to various magazines and outlets online, or provide a proofreading and editing service for fellow students who struggle.
Offering to tutor students directly, either offline or online, can also help you earn money . PayScale puts a college tutor’s salary at around $15.00 per hour, which is significantly better than working at the local McDonald’s or washing dishes at the nearest pub. Best of all, you remain in control of your schedule so you can focus on learning.
When All Else Fails
What if you’ve exhausted all of your options, and you’re just plain out of funds and struggling to make ends meet? Poverty can seriously impact your ability to learn, so you should seek out all potential avenues. And sometimes, what that really means is coming out of your shell and asking for help.
Don’t be afraid to apply to welfare programs when you’re down and out. Students all across America find themselves in similar scenarios, both before and during their education. There’s no shame in leaning on these programs when you have good, strong goals. Going back to school also helps you meet the work requirements, so you can focus on a string career path rather than just another job.
Finding money to go to school without sinking yourself into debt isn’t easy, but it can be done with a little bit of research and hard work. Whether you choose to work your way through school or take out a loan, you’re working hard at creating a better future for you, and that’s worthy of praise.
~Here’s to Your Success.