College is supposed to help you get a good job, start a career and become a success. Everyone tells you to go to college, but let's fast forward to graduation. You're sitting there with job offers that aren't going to pay enough to pay off your $37,000 loans (the average student loan debt in 2016).
No one told you that you would end up with debt that will follow you forever until it's paid off.
College wasn't supposed to put you into a hole before you even started life. But it can. The reality is that education is expensive, and there's over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt in 2017. Trying to find ways to pay for college is the only thing you can do to sleep well at night.
There are options that can help you pay for college today.
1. Scholarships and Grants – Duh
Apply for every possible scholarship that you can. There is free money waiting for applicants, but you need to know where to look. I always recommend discussing scholarships and grants with the financial aid office at your college.
There are a lot of local scholarships that you can leverage.
You can also find scholarships at the resources below:
- Law firm scholarships
You'll find dozens of scholarship resources. Apply for scholarships for anything that is applicable. Someone will be awarded the scholarship, and that someone might as well be you.
Grants, often awarded by the government or state, should also be pursued.
2. Service Commitments
If you're willing to dedicate yourself to a service, you may be able to have someone else pay for your education. There are a few options available to you, such as:
- Peace Corp
- National Health Services Corp
- ROTC programs
If you want to become a teacher, you can also seek teacher loan forgiveness. This is a program that was derived to encourage people to become teachers. The idea is that you'll teach for a period of five years and your loans will be forgiven.
This is a great option for anyone who wants to become a teacher but knows that teachers aren't the best paid professionals.
3. Seek Education Abroad
Are you adventurous? Would you like to break out of your shell and experience the world? Why not go to college abroad? The price of college in other countries is far less expensive than in the United States.
You'll need to secure visas to become a student abroad, but this isn't difficult when you're approved for a college or university.
And if you don't want to take the dive and go to college abroad, at least consider living at home during college. Room and board is very expensive. You can save thousands of dollars each semester by just staying at home.
Sure, you won't be able to enjoy the crazy dorm life, but you will graduate with less debt.
If none of these options work for you, the best person to ask is your guidance counselor. These experts will help you find financing options that go beyond basic financial aid.