Most colleges and universities offer dorms for students but don’t help students pay for their housing. The cost of on-campus housing can easily climb to $3,000 to $5,000 or more each semester, which doesn’t include the meal plan that you need to buy. When you use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can qualify for financial aid that pays for college and some of your other expenses. Financial aid is just one way you can pay for student housing.
Before you consider any other way to pay for housing, look into some of the available scholarships for college. Free scholarships go to students based on their athletic skills, how well they performed on the PSAT, the hobbies that they enjoy after school and unique features such as being left-handed. There are even no essay scholarships that let you apply without writing an essay. You can get $200 or more in scholarships for high school students each year just for being you.
2: 529 Plan
If you’re in high school and plan on attending college, consider starting a 529 plan with help from your parents. Unlike prepaid tuition plans that only let the beneficiary pay for their tuition, 529 plans are education savings plans that let the beneficiary pay for any costs they have. You can use those funds to cover the cost of your tuition and associated fees as well as room and board.
3: Student Loans
Smart college students know that they can use student loans to pay their expenses and then consolidate their student loans later to save money. The federal government offers both unsubsidized and subsidized student loans. You can borrow a limited amount in your first year and borrow more every year in the future. With the best student loan rates, you can easily pay back that money later. FinTech experts recommend looking into private student loans too. Sallie Mae student loans can cover some of the costs that your financial aid package does not.
An easy way to pay for your housing and other college expenses is with student employment. When you file the FAFSA and qualify for work-study, the college or university will give you a list of job opportunities to explore. Those positions range from housekeepers who clean dorm rooms and classrooms to telemarketers who call alumni and ask for donations. Many positions pay more than minimum wage but let you work just a few hours a week. If you need more money, you can search for part-time jobs that are close to the campus.
5: Become an Entrepreneur
Whether you’re on the hunt for the top technology colleges or the top business colleges, you can join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban and Daymond John and launch a business of your own. You might buy and restore furniture for students from local thrift stores or make cookies and other foods that you deliver to dorms across campus. Though you will need to report your income at the end of the year and pay taxes on what you made, you typically won’t pay much in taxes as a college student.
In Summary: Cover Your College Expenses
Scholarships for college students range from a few hundred dollars that you get one time to scholarships that cover the total cost of attendance for four years if you maintain a good grade point average. You can view financial aid information online and find out how to submit the FAFSA to get grants and other types of aid from the state and federal governments. Those funds can go a long way towards paying your way through college or graduate school. Living on-campus lets you immerse yourself in the college experience and make friends that you’ll have forever. To pay for your dorm room or another type of housing, you can use scholarships, grants, savings plans, and money you make from a new business.