1. Government grants.
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses for college. This depends mostly on your financial status according to your previous year’s tax return if you are an adult and your parents’ if you are a dependent. Start by creating a FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) HERE and learn how to get money for college.
When I was approaching graduation, we were quite poor with 3 kids. I was working and only taking one class at a time so I did not qualify for grants or even loans. After talking to a counselor, I discovered that if I quit my job and took a big fat load of classes I could finish school in one more semester. Because of my financial circumstances, I qualified for a grant that enabled me to get money for college and put over $4000 in my pocket! I did and finished more than a year earlier than if I had continued on the same path. Partly because of that, I finished my undergraduate degree without any debt.
Free money is also available for all sorts of reasons and for all sorts of people, you just have to find them. They come from many different entities including private businesses, government agencies and even just wealthy individuals. It is also helpful to be a “minority” of some kind as some scholarships are aimed toward a certain demographic such as Hispanics, Catholics, women or libertarians (just to name a few). Billions of dollars go unclaimed every year because many people don’t search them out, but if you find and apply for scholarships that few or no others have, you are virtually guaranteed to get it. You can find a ton of them HERE.
3. Go into the Armed Forces.
Although this can be a good career choice in and of itself, if you enter a branch of the military for a period of years (usually at least 4), you not only receive a paycheck and some sort of training, but are eligible for thousands toward school. There are also programs in which your branch of service will pay for your schooling with the stipulation that you work for them for a period of time following graduation.For example, the Army offers several options for how to get money for college. First is the GI Bill, which pays depending on the amount of time you are enlisted. It can cover more than $60,000 of college expenses.
4. Work there.
Oftentimes colleges will give free tuition to their employees, who can work for the school and attend at the same time. For instance, an admissions counselor may work by day and go to school by night. Of course not all schools offer this option, but even if not, tuition usually is substantially reduced. The downside of course is that they usually don’t pay well. Think about it. In a college town with thousands of potential employees with limited credentials (that’s why they are in college after all), there is a huge supply of menial job workers. You may be able to find a job outside of the school that pays better although it is not likely and there definitely won’t be tuition benefits attached.
5. Tuition waivers.
Sometimes schools give “waivers” for particular situations. For example, you might be really smart, a minority, employee, a senior or a dislocated worker and qualify for a tuition waiver. Again, this will depend on your school of choice, so if you intend to employ this route, make sure it is even an option where you plan to attend. This is how to get money for college without ever even having to get the money in the first place! For instance, Washington State University accepts applications for tuition waivers for the following individuals:
- Civil service employees working half time or more and have permanent status
- Civil service employees serving in trial appointments and meet the above requirements
- Teachers from public or vocational schools that are pursuing endorsements or assignments in areas designated as “shortage”
- K-12 teachers seeking coursework relevant to their current appointment
6. Get your boss to pay.
Many companies will pay for you to go to school, although sometimes it must be directly related to your work and/or they may require you to continue employment for a period of time following your schooling or you have to pay some back. For instance, you might work in the HR department in a hospital doing payroll and your company is willing to pay for you to attend classes at the local college or online to get your bachelor’s degree in human resources.
Fluor is one such company that provides a great way to get money for college. They encourage ‘educational enrichment’ and will pay for tuition, fees, registration and even books. The rub is that, like many companies, they pay after satisfactory completion. In other words, if you don’t pass, they don’t reimburse. But if you do pass, they pay you back for every bit of it. Yes, you do pay up-front, but ultimately it costs you nothing.
7. Get into a high demand field.
Oftentimes schools offer incentives for those entering programs that will lead to jobs in high demand. Scholarships are also often awarded to people who plan to study something in particular, like nursing. Nurses are not easy to come by, so a nursing organization may give scholarships to those entering that particular field. Some of these include:
- Computer Science
These are all high demand jobs because they require high mental demands to complete. No fool ever graduated in one of these majors! In short, not just anyone will or even can succeed in these subjects and so relatively few finish, if they ever even start in one of these subjects. If you have the brains for it, then you are among a small majority and there are companies and organizations out there than are interested in you graduating. You will have little trouble figuring out how to get money for college, but you may still have to go find it.
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