Whether you’re looking at big schools or prefer a more intimate, small-college experience, you might be wondering how you’re going to afford it. Have you explored all the ways to pay for college?
You might already know a little about grants and scholarships (money you don’t have to pay back) and student loans (money you do have to pay back after college).
That’s a great start. But maybe you’re interested in finding out what other sources of financial help are out there, or you’re looking for ways to reduce how much you have to borrow.
4 Other Ways to Pay for College
If you’re willing to get creative and do your research, you may be able to pull in some extra money for tuition, reduce how much you have to borrow, or even reduce the overall cost.
1. FEDERAL WORK-STUDY
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program provides part-time employment opportunities for eligible undergraduate and graduate students that are flexible enough for busy students to handle.
Your options may include:
- On-campus jobs, such as in dining services, security, or various offices.
- Off-campus jobs, such as in public service or for a non-profit organization.
In either case, the goal is not only to reduce how much you have to borrow to pay for school but to give you some experience that will be relevant to your career goals. FWS is a great resume-builder!
Some students have found they can raise money from supporters through online donations. You can pretty easily start a fundraiser through a free platform. (Though it may take a small percentage of what you bring in.)
It takes some work to bring in the money, though. To do this effectively, according to former English teacher and writer Joen Kinnan, you need to develop a campaign.
- Ask friends and family to donate.
- Post about it on social media.
- Consider reaching out to your local newspaper or TV station to do a story on you.
- Ask people for contributions in person (at public gathering places like your parents’ workplace, your church, etc.)
Kinnan wrote that the amount you can expect to come in isn’t a whole lot in comparison to the total cost of tuition, but every bit helps!
“Crowdfunding isn’t at the top of the list as a way to pay for college tuition, but its use is growing … One of the most popular crowdfunding platforms, GoFundMe, reports that college crowdfunding campaigns for tuition raise a total of upwards of $1.5 million per month, on average. The average take per campaign is $2,000.”
And if you’re serious about doing this, you may be able to do much better.
3. COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS
Most often, the biggest scholarships come from the college you’re applying to. But you may be able to find other scholarships that get you even more money for tuition.
If you’re in high school, you may be eligible for a scholarship offered specifically to your graduating class. Many West Virginia community foundations and groups offer scholarships like this.
Other community scholarships are awarded to students for a variety of reasons:
- Identifying as LGBTQIA+
- Engaging in spiritual practices
- Pursuing a career in environmental science
- Battling a serious illness
And many other opportunities like these. Because these scholarships can be for very specific types of students, not everybody knows about them. You have to do some digging. It might be well worth it.
4. DUAL ENROLLMENT
You can also reduce the cost of tuition by enrolling in college courses while you’re in high school. That’s what “dual enrollment” means: you’re enrolled in high school and college at the same time.
This is one of the best ways to pay for college—you “pay” in the time that you apply to college-level learning, and in exchange, you get credits that would otherwise have cost thousands of dollars!
Here at Bethany College, we’ve partnered with our local Brooke County Schools to offer high schoolers this incredible opportunity. It’s called the Brooke Collegiate Academy.
We’ll let Superintendent Jeffrey Crook explain. Here’s what he said when the academy opened:
“The Academy will provide an opportunity for eligible Brooke High School students to enroll and earn 15-18 college credit hours [per semester]. We are committed to making sure our students have the greatest opportunities available to be successful!”
If you’re not a student of Brooke County Schools, check to see what dual enrollment opportunities your school offers. It’ll give you a great head start on college and could save you a lot of money in the long run!
Looking for Ways to Pay for College? Bethany College Can Help!
A small, private college experience—a family-like community, personalized support, and plenty of helping hands to get you into the career of your dreams—may be more within reach than you think it is!
Our Office of Financial Aid can help you find scholarship and grant opportunities, many of which are common and others that might be a little “off the beaten path.”
So check out our academic programs. Read about what campus life is like, schedule a visit … and if you decide this is the place for you, we’ll do everything we can to help you overcome your financial obstacles.