College is expensive, and if you are leaving high school next year, now is the time to think about how you will pay for your education. Loans are available, but depending how much you borrow, you can spend years paying off the debt. If you want other options besides loans, consider applying for scholarships. Make sure you read the application guidelines carefully and send in all materials a few weeks before the due date to speed up the process. Here are other sources of funding.
Consider employer reimbursement
If you are employed, inquire about participation in the company's tuition reimbursement plan. With this option your company funds part or all of your college expenses if you meet certain requirements. Some employers might require you to maintain a certain grade point average, while others want you to work for them for a period of time after graduation.
Fill out the FAFSA form
The Federal Application for Free Student Aid is an application that college applicants fill out in order to obtain federal grants to cover tuition. You can apply at https://studentaid.ed.gov and on this site you can register and receive a user ID and password. The documents needed to apply include your Social Security number, tax documents such as a W-2 or 1040 form and documentation of earnings received.
Your savings account
Another way to fund your college education is by using funds from the saving account that your parents had for you over the years. This reduces the stress of applying for loans and scholarships, and you can relax knowing that your savings are covering the bulk of college costs.
Participate in contests
There are contests that offer big bucks to winners, and your winnings can help you pay for college. If you are studying to be a journalist, you can enter local and national news writing contests for multiple cash prizes. This is a fun way to get funds for your education.
Start out at a community college
This is another way to afford college without loans. The good thing about community college is that most universities accept the credits you earned while at the community college, and as a result you will not have a load of unnecessary courses. In addition, community colleges have a variety of specializations that will prepare you for a career.
So you have a few grants along with scholarship money, but you are still short of some funds. You can make up the difference by working part-time while in school. Be careful not to get so caught up with work that you do not focus on your studies. Another idea would be to seek out paid internships because this gives you experience in the major you are specializing in.
Live at home while in college
If you are attending school in your hometown, then reduce expenses by living at home while in college. You can use this time to work and save up money for your first apartment after graduation. With these strategies, you can afford college without being saddled with student loan debt.
9 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans
Filling Out the FAFSA