In a perfect world, our parents would pay for our college education. But often times, our folks don't have the cash flow to write a check for thousands of dollars each semester. Therefore, you're on your own if you want to go to college. There's the option of a student loan, but this means you'll graduate with thousands of dollars of debt. Fortunately, there are other options available if you want to afford college all on your own.
1. Choose a Degree That Only Requires a Two-year Education
Depending on what you want to do, a four-year degree might not be necessary. If you can get a two-year education and attend a community college or a technical college, you might be able to pay tuition yourself with a part-time or full-time job, and graduate within the next 24 months. Research occupations that don't require a four-year degree, and choose one that matches your interests and future goals.
2. Work and Pay Your Way through College
If you decide to attend a four-year university, you can also work and pay your way through school. For this to work, you might have to get a full-time job and attend school on a part-time basis. Also, consider living at home and avoid unnecessary debt, such as credit cards and car loans.
3. Look into Work/study Programs
Speak with your college financial aid department and discuss work/study programs. With these programs, you'll work on campus and the money you earn goes toward your college education - paying for classes, books, supplies, etc.
4. See if Your Employer Offers Tuition Assistance
If you decide to go back to school, your employer might offer tuition assistance. The chances of this happening are higher if you work for a large corporation. Also, the degree you're getting should benefit your employer. If your job pays some or all of your tuition, they will require that you work for the company for a certain number of years after getting your degree.
5. Take Money from Savings
If you've received an inheritance, another lump sum, or if you've been a diligent saver over the years, you can avoid costly student loans by using cash in your savings account to pay for college. Another option is working and paying half your tuition, and only taking half the money from savings. This way, you can get an education and keep your cash reserve.
6. Sign up for Military Service
If you sign up for military service, you might qualify to receive cash for school. You can attend college while completing military service, and then use your degree once you leave the military.
7. Liquidate and Pay for Tuition
If you don't qualify for scholarships and grants, and you don't want to apply for a student loan, you might afford college by liquidating personal possessions. Maybe you have an extra car taking up space in the driveway, or maybe you have jewelry or electronics you no longer use. Liquidating your possessions might not pay your entire tuition, but it might pay for a semester or two.
Getting a college education can provide the skills you need to secure a better job and earn more money. But college isn't cheap. If you use the above tips, it might be possible to afford tuition on your own. What are other ways to afford college on your own?