College often brings a rude awakening to students that aren’t used to managing their finances on their own. From having to pay for classes to dealing with the costs of daily expenses, getting used to the financial stress college brings can take some time. This is why it’s important for students leaving high school and returning college kids to consider all the ways they can cut costs and save as much money as possible. Consider the following five tips when trying to save money in college:
- Buy Used or Rent
From textbooks to clothing, buying used or renting is a great way to save money in college. Students looking to save money should start their college careers by choosing to rent textbooks or buy used versions. This way, students won’t have to fork over $100 to buy textbooks for class. Similarly, once they’re done with these books, they can return them or sell them back.
In addition to saving money by not having to buy textbooks for the typical price on their, students can choose to buy used or rent their wardrobe. Thrifting is incredibly popular in college areas as many shops around universities pay students for their gently used clothing. These stores than in turn sell these items at discounted prices. Similarly, fashion-forward students can rent their wardrobe through sites and apps that allow them to rent and wear the latest fashions at a discounted price.
- Apply for Scholarships and Grants
While loans are a popular choice many students use to offset the cost of college, this isn’t actually a money-saving decision. Instead of turning to loans to fund your college career, apply for scholarships and grants. Many organizations offer students full-ride scholarships or partial scholarships that award the winning students money to cover academic costs. While there’s no guarantee one student will win a specific scholarship, it doesn’t hurt to apply.
Grants are another option for students looking to cut college costs. Grants are often awarded on financial need, so you’ll need to be prepared to fill out the required paperwork to prove your financial situation. The most popular grant for students is the Pell grant. This federal grant requires students to fill out forms like the FAFSA in order for them to earn the money.
- Consider the Benefits of Employment
Employer assistance is an effective way to get money for college. While not every college student will have an employer to turn to, college students that are employed by companies that offer tuition assistance should look into this option. These companies that offer tuition assistance are committed to investing in their workforce and are willing to fund their employees’ related educational expenses.
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Not sure if your employer has tuition assistance? Ask the human resources department or your manager to find out. If you don’t have an employer that offers tuition assistance, the next best solution is to get a part-time job to offset your college costs. While it may be challenging to work while taking care of your responsibilities as a student, there are several flexible jobs that will allow you to get your schoolwork done while earning money. Consider applying for your university’s work-study jobs to start earning money as a student. As these jobs are typically a few hours a day, they offer a lot of downtimes that students can then use to study or complete homework.
- Crowdfund Your College Career
Not sure how to pay for college? Start crowdfunding it. Whether you use Kickstarter or singlehandedly reach out to your family members to ask for cash, going this route will help you afford the courses you need to take to receive your degree. Whether you get the full amount to pay for college or you just have a few hundred dollars here or there, it’s important that any incoming money actually goes towards your college expenses.
In a similar manner, try asking any local organization you’re a member of for support. Many members of churches, synagogues, and other non-profits turn towards their communities when they’re headed to college. While a donation of $50 may not seem like much, when an entire congregation donates $50 or more each, you’ll be able to save some serious change for your college fund.
- Do Dual Enrollment or Take AP or IB Classes
Though you’ll have to start this before getting to college, taking these classes in high school will save you money. If you qualify for dual enrollment, go ahead and sign up for it. Students that are able to enroll in college courses while finishing their high school classes are able to skip those classes when they get to college. For some college students, taking dual enrollment allows them to earn a college degree when they graduate from high school.
Similarly, taking AP or IB classes in high school allows students to opt-out of courses when they get to college. These classes often cover the prerequisites for their major, giving these students a head start when they do get to college. Since these classes are already covered before they arrive, they won’t need to pay for them, allowing them to put this money towards other important expenses or classes.
Don’t let college take its toll on your finances. Start making the best financial decisions for your future by using the aforementioned tips to cut costs and save as much money as possible.
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