6 Ways to Afford College Now

ways to afford college nowYou did all the right things: studied hard, got good grades, had a plethora of extracurricular activities. You applied to a range of colleges across the nation, from safeties to dreams and many in between. You received the acceptance letters, and a few weeks later, the financial aid package arrives in the mail.

It seems unfair that students who did all the right things can’t afford college because of deteriorating financial aid packages. In such a harsh economic climate, everyone is suffering, especially hopeful high school seniors.

My younger brother, a senior in high school, saw his dreams of attending his first choice school shattered when his financial aid package required him to take out $30,000 in loans per year. It’s not realistic to expect a student to graduate with $120,000 in debtâ”essentially condemning him to a lifetime of debt payments.

According to CNN Money, the average student currently graduates with approximately $25,000 in student loans. And that’s for four years of education.

After a mini-meltdown, I sat down with my brother and we came up with ways to afford college now. Here are six ways to afford college now:

Think about your options

Perhaps your first choice is out of financial reach. Start to seriously consider the less expensive schools you applied to. State schools are often more affordable than private schools. There are other programs you can find online like  Kendall education degrees  that offer quicker degrees for people who want to teach. There are a variety of different schooling options online you can research.Smaller and older private schools may be able to offer higher financial aid packages. Start to think seriously about your other options.


Community College

Community colleges sometimes get a bad reputation but they are great for getting your basic two-year requirements out of the way. Paying for community college as you go essentially leaves you with only two years’ worth of school to pay for when you transfer to complete your last two years of school. While community colleges do cost money, they aren’t nearly as expensive as private or public schools. Consider attending several community colleges concurrently to ensure you get the classes you need in a timely manner.


Start working NOW

If you don’t already have a job, get one now. Don’t go out spending the money, but build up your savings to pay for books and tuition while you’re in school. It’s tempting to have fun and be out spending money with your friends, but you’ll be the envy of their eyes when you graduate with little to no debt.


Consider living at home

I know it seems glamorous to live in the dorms, but you’ll save thousands per year by forgoing dorm fees and meal plans. Between work and school and extracurricular activities, you probably won’t be spending much time hanging out in the dorms anyway. Living at home would save thousands of dollars.


Consider working while in school

It’s hard but not impossible to maintain a job and go to school at the same time. During college, I worked an on-campus job 10 hours a week and babysat an additional 20 hours a week, giving up many precious Saturday nights in order to make money. Sacrifices need to be made in order to afford college.


Put college off for a year

If all else fails, consider putting college off for a year. Maybe the best solution is to take a year off and work as hard as you can to create a little nest egg that will help you get through four years of school.


Afford college now

Going to college doesn’t have to be out of reach for anyone. Your first choice school may not be the best option financially, but it’s important to open yourself up to different possibilities and consider other options.

We still don’t know which path my brother will choose. But we know the only decision being made right now is not to go $120,000 in debt for the sake of a college degree.