3 answers

What steps can I take to make college affordable?

Asked Branchburg, New Jersey

I am a current college student in my sophomore year. I recently learned that my parent will only be able to contribute about 5% of my college education. What are some steps I can take to make college more affordable? I am already working as a co-op and saving as much as I can. I would prefer not to surrender my future to student debt. Thanks. #student-debt #debt #college-advice #money #help #scared #college

3 answers

Sarah’s Answer


Hi Joi - The first place to start would be to look into grants and scholarships available at your specific university and even within your department. You can try looking online at your school's financial aid office website or drop by in person to speak with the staff and ask for help identifying programs for which you qualify. After you apply for anything that is available through your school, start looking for any national opportunities. The U.S. Department of Education offers several need-based financial aid options you can look into (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships). Grants and scholarships generally do not need to be paid back (unless you drop out of school), so those are the most desirable awards.

If you still find yourself in need of money and decide to take out a student loan, know that you don't have to take the full amount the government offers. Obviously you can't take more, but if they offer you $10,000 and you only need $3,000 for the year, you can accept only what you need!

A few tips to save some money while you are in school: Buy used textbooks whenever possible, limit your spending on eating out, live at home if possible, use public transportation instead of a personal vehicle if possible, take advantage of places that offer student discounts, and take advantage of your schools amenities like the gym and the library!

Rosmery (ROS-ME-RY)’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

I agree with the previous responses. If for some reason you do have to end up taking up student loans, you may consider jobs/programs that could help with your finances in addition to offering other benefits. For example, City Year and Americorps offer education awards or loan forgiveness upon completion of a period of service. A college friend of mine completed two years at City-year where she gained a lot of professional experience, got a stipend, and at the end received an education award that went towards paying her accumulated student loans from private school. Check out their websites and look for similar organizations.

City Year: https://www.cityyear.org/join-the-corps/benefits/compensation

Americorps: https://www.moneycrashers.com/join-americorps-benefits-drawbacks-service/

pat’s Answer

Updated Frenchtown, New Jersey

Hi, You could start with a two year degree at a local comunity college, then transfer to a 4 year school. Local colleges provide a good basic higher education in the foundation courses. then you will be able to decide which school may suit your needs after two years.