Paying for college can be tough, not everyone is in a financial place to pay their college tuition in full out of pocket. And not everyone is comfortable taking out loans. If you want to minimize your student loans and still pay your tuition on time I have good news for you, it is possible!
Here are weird ways to pay for college and to minimize other expenses that come along with school.
How Do You Pay for College if You Can’t Afford It?
If you think paying for college might be an issue for you, a good place to start is by getting a part-time job or a full-time job. If you’re worried about being able to work on top of attending college, most schools offer work-study jobs where you can work on campus.
Working on campus is great because it is a convenient location so you don’t have to drive anywhere or worry about paying for gas. Additionally, with work-study jobs, schools often offer some type of scholarship.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) makes you eligible for federal student aid, generally in the form of loans or grants. This type of aid is solely need-based. It looks at your income, your parent’s income, and their expected contribution to determine if you may be entitled to federal aid for paying for college.
Since the FAFSA is need-based aid, not everyone will qualify for it. But it is still a great resource to check out if you are unsure of how you can pay for college.
Loans are a great way to help pay for college. Be careful when considering loans though, pay special attention to what type of interest rate your loan has. You can apply for federal student loans or private student loans. First-year college students are entitled to a $5,500 federal unsubsidized loan, for more information visit the federal student loans website.
The easiest place of all to look for help paying for college is your college or university’s financial aid office website or physical office. You can work out a payment plan with your financial aid officer, negotiate scholarships, or apply for scholarships there.
What are 4 Different Ways a Student Can Pay for College?
Paying for college may require you to get creative. When you’ve exhausted all the other means you know of to make money, you need to look elsewhere. So here are four different ways a student can pay for college.
Upromise is an online rewards site specifically tailored to college students and their families. Upromise rewards offers cash-back rewards when you shop online and dine at qualifying restaurants. You can directly link your 529 college savings plan account or any other savings account to your Upromise account and transfer your earnings there.
In addition to cash-back rewards, each month there is a free Upromise scholarship where five lucky families are awarded $529 each. To be entered to win this scholarship all you have to do is create a Upromise account. You can earn an additional entry by linking your 529 plan. If that isn’t enough ways to earn, users also earn one additional entry for every dollar of rewards earned per month!
2. Online Survey Sites
Taking online surveys is a great way to earn a few extra bucks. There are tons of different online survey sites to try, like Swagbucks and InboxDollars. These sites offer money for simply taking surveys, which range anywhere from two minutes to an hour (most surveys are between five and fifteen minutes).
In addition to offering money for taking surveys, users can also earn money for things like watching videos, playing games, or shopping online. There are tons of different ways to earn money with online survey sites, and the best part is that it can all be done within the comfort of your own home.
3. Work-Study Programs
Work-study programs are a great way to earn money for school. You most likely are considering getting a job anyways, so why not work on campus? The only downside of working an on-campus job is they might not pay as high of a wage as an off-campus job would.
To make up for that most colleges will offer work-study scholarships that take money off your tuition. So then not only are you getting a scholarship for working but you also are getting paid for your time commitment.
4. Part-Time Jobs
If working on campus isn’t your thing, or you want a supplemental income there are a variety of other tasks you can do. For example, babysitting, dog-sitting, or if you know a family in the area you can house sit for them.
These are all great side hustles because generally you will be paid in cash and won’t have a tax taken out. You also can pick jobs that work with your schedule, and you can be selective about who you choose to work for.
How Can I Pay for College Without FAFSA?
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA is not a requirement, but it is highly recommended. So either if you choose not to fill it out or you don’t qualify for any aid, there are ways to pay for college without FAFSA grants.
You can apply for financial aid from your school. This is generally free to do and will come in the form of scholarships. This type of aid does not need to be paid back, it is considered an award or gift.
In addition to applying for aid, you can also apply for student loans. You can receive these federally or you can apply for private student loans, from a bank or other financial institution. Loans come in all shapes and sizes, the important thing to look at is the interest on the repayment plan. You’ll want to stick to loans with a fixed interest rate because that keeps your bill down.
If you are still in high school, consider taking AP or college-level classes. When you take the exam at the end of the year put on by the college board make sure you are well prepared. If you get a passing score that can be turned into credits at your desired college or university and in turn, save you money.
We could go on and on about all the different ways there are to pay for college without the FAFSA. There are so many alternatives for paying for your college costs if you don’t qualify for federal aid, you just have to know where to look.
What are Alternatives to Pay for College?
Sometimes you need to get creative when it comes to paying for college. The so-called “normal” ways of paying aren’t always enough. Luckily there are some alternative ways to pay for college. Here is a list of a few wacky ways to pay your tuition.
When you participate in a clinical trial or medical trial, you will most likely be compensated for your time. The average pay is between $100 to a few thousand dollars depending on the study. There are many different online sites that will direct you to medical trials you can participate in, and we’ll list a few here as.
The US National Library of Medicine has a browser where you can search for clinical trials and you can access that here. Another search engine for clinical trials is Labcorp and you can find their site here.
Clinical studies are similar to medical trials, and you can get paid for participating in these as well. By participating in a clinical study you are helping medical scientists expand medical knowledge. The National Health Institute offers a search engine for clinical studies and so does the Mayo Clinic.
Medical study is a general term, there are a lot of different things you could participate in for compensation that would qualify as a medical study. Participating in a medical trial or clinical study would count, explore these medical studies.
Another way to participate in a medical study and get paid for it would be to donate plasma. Many plasma donation sites are conveniently placed near college campuses for that very reason. BioLife is a popular plasma donation center with many locations. For more information about their program and how much money you can earn, check out their website.
How Can I Avoid College Debt?
Avoiding debt is always the goal, but achieving your college degree without accruing any debt seems unlikely these days with the ever-increasing college costs. Believe it or not, there are still some ways college students can avoid debt.
If you are looking to avoid debt, one way to do so is to be wary about your student loans. Student debt from loans is sometimes unavoidable, so if this is the case for you, stay diligent about your repayment and you should be just fine. However there are other means of financial aid you can seek besides loans, this would be one way to avoid college debt.
With loans, you will want to pay attention to the type of interest your repayment plan has. You will want a loan with a fixed interest rate. With all of your other college costs, you don’t want to have to be paying back more money than you owe, as you would with a variable interest rate.
Another way you can avoid debt is by serving in the military. Whether you are enlisted on active duty or in the reserves, the army can provide a full or partial scholarship. They do ask for a service commitment after you graduate. If enlisting in the army has been something you’re interested in, but you also want to get a college degree, this is a great opportunity for you.
How Can I Get Free Money for College?
Free money is the best kind of money. You can earn money from a job, but what if you are already working and that’s not enough? So here are a few different ways where you can earn free money.
Using the term “free money” loosely here, you can earn money and cash rewards on Upromise and other survey reward sites. These sites will reward you for taking surveys, playing online games, and even watching videos.
Upromise specifically rewards its users for online shopping and dining at certain restaurants with their cash-back rewards. On top of that, Upromise offers a monthly scholarship. Each month they reward five families with $529 each, and you have the chance to win every month.
If online survey sites aren’t your thing, there are a few other ways you can earn money for “free” or by doing minimal work. Donating plasma is a great way to earn a few extra bucks as a student to help with your college costs. Places like BioLife are often located near college campuses for convenience.
The last way we’ll go over to earn free money to help with your college costs is to apply for scholarships. This is money that will be awarded to you as financial aid and that you don’t need to pay back. That’s where the free comes in. You may have to fill out an application or write an essay, but other than that it is pretty straightforward.
What Are Some Weird Ways to Pay for College?
Sometimes paying for college requires out-of-the-box unique thinking. Student loan debt is no joke, and some folks choose to avoid it at all costs. So when financial aid isn’t enough here are a few weird ways to pay for college.
You can get paid for becoming an egg donor. To donate your eggs you need to be between the ages of 21 and 34, with a body mass index of less than 33. In addition to those criteria, you cannot be a smoker and need to live close to your chosen clinic or center.
Egg donors can donate once, or up to six total times. You. will be compensated for your egg donation. Currently donating eggs pays around $6,000 but your compensation will most likely depend on where you are located.
Becoming a Sperm Donor
Healthy men between the ages of 18 and 39 can choose to become sperm donors to earn money. To be able to donate your sperm you will undergo lab work, family history, and maybe even sexual history. It is also important to consider the implications of your decision.
Sperm donors can earn on average $1500 per month when donating regularly. About 1-2 times a week is considered a normal donation amount.
Believe it or not, you can be paid for being a fecal donor. Generally, donations need to be made on-site, at your chosen medical center or clinic. You can earn about $40 per sample, and some places offer a bonus if you come multiple days throughout the week.
This type of donation can be done by any healthy person. It certainly does not pay as much as a sperm or egg donation, but this is the easiest type of donation we have discussed.
Final Thoughts on Weird Ways to Pay for College
Whether you are planning on becoming a college student attending a public or private university or a local community college there are tons of different ways to build college savings. Or if you are struggling to come up with the funds to pay for college there are many different weird ways to pay for college.
They all are tried and true and very helpful when paying for college on your own or paying for college with assistance.