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What are the best ways to save for college?

After graduating with my two-year degree, and working for 2-3 years, I plan on returning to college and earning my bachelor's degree. What are some ways that I can save/earn money for college? Investing, working a part-time job, etc.

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7 answers


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Ken’s Answer

Hello Genevieve,

I am glad that you are looking to go to college.

Working can help. Try to cut out any any unnecessary spending. Also, look for grants, scholarships, etc that could be out there for you. Another lower cost solution to earning a bachelor's degree is to start at a community college. You can earn credits that way and then transfer to a four year school.

Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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Chancellor’s Answer

Hi Genevieve,

I was the first in my family to graduate from college with a Bachelor's degree and worked full-time while doing so and I am planning to get my MBA in the next couple of years as well. It isn't easy but I know you can do it!

Here are a few things I wish I did when I was in college:
1. Apply for scholarships!!! You would be surprised how much money Universities have to give to college students that need it. I would recommend reaching out to your school via phone and asking where to find the best resources to get scholarships. For example, I wrote an essay on how I would use the scholarship $ if I got it and received $950.
2. Join career groups/communities in your college. Paying for college is one thing, but having a great-paying job that you enjoy after college is really what matters. I have a lot of friends who graduated college and got into low-paying jobs that they didn't enjoy. I joined the Professional Selling Program at UCF and got a $75k salary right after I graduated because of my professor and other alumni that were a part of the program. Not even 2 years later and I'm making $160k. Your first job out of college is crucial!!
3. Become an expert in budgeting. No one in my family ever explained the concept of budgeting to save money and invest. I spent hours on YouTube watching personal investment advice. You'd be surprised how many people don't know what a Roth IRA is or don't invest in their 401k! My favorite YouTuber for personal finance advice is Graham Stephan. :)

I hope this helps!

Chancellor recommends the following next steps:

Reach out to your school about scholarships and how to apply
work with a career counselor and join career groups at school
become a master in personal finance, TEACH YOURSELF, this is a life long skill
Set specific goals and make it happen!
Thank you comment icon Just what I was looking for! Exceptional answer, thank you! Genevieve
Thank you comment icon You don't need to learn good money management skills alone! An Accredited Financial Counselor can help you. I know a guy ;) who would do it for FREE with your plan. A 529 investment will grow your contributions tax free for education expenses. George Katsinis - AFC George Katsinis Jr. - AFC®
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Simona’s Answer

Hello Genevieve,
Congratulations on getting your Associate's Degree. It takes time and dedication to go to school while working to finance that endeavor.

First, I think Ken gives you some good advice on his response but would like to add some details and resources.
Scholarships and grants are a great way to get money for college. There are scholarships and grants specifically for women, for specific majors and even hobbies. I'm adding some links to try. Review all and apply for any that you think would help you.

https://www.bing.com/aclk?ld=e8u1HWB0Cr83nrhah7sWSTTjVUCUxBVJfUPkpNRxxVFXWajOcGDuAFOILrLv_P_JAWGG-RsNRcpR4CXRqLPJVfFHeVQjGPTqVGiSPP3RpAdSha_pQ6PD-CLEvy3fldH4lr_OUSOMNIx3agHXx1TS71sRykR6jDP-qlaW5diPTTDj6nkk1difXsPXTtW6B92qKVNkYgyQ&u=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&rlid=8fedb70d173513e33853d402d85c80d7&ntb=1

https://www.bing.com/aclk?ld=e8MxUnfs_MgXjN7J-5y3e0ZTVUCUwp-HOkQkmJ5sG-Nt0dXm3rkP5NTm3IF1XDFgi4lpk-E5_ZbbVlVTbrLmQ3eU2MIBovyUAdJU5061D3onhgmBh0pwYX6rwAzh1LLzwlILffvL9RGTrCmLX12fJ62O20nAADuwHraGlMJra4GF2OQZe1KDAa0D5sy_4Uhclp4veyn7UEP2AWV6rl46T6yrkpAvw&u=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&rlid=df9f980d88d31384401afb0247baed65&ntb=1

https://www.bing.com/aclk?ld=e8Y6gszRpoemtuzfBk6DDsqDVUCUxJ_p9D2AZFkoxI4K2Tm8u95RzckO97r5b_s1gjaqLpZRZH69pvmlvQweNPzBbbNel3d3fzA-mumWYhoLdQgE_2MX5y4HKK_xsNu11X4JDKwiGH-pbD-GiY5H9-fE5ABRm7WYVnpVTOcabWRvBBoEZjdRlMud1pm2a2MOnA_mgftWcKVYgDcbgoCh48SPHcOe0&u=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&rlid=b2e4ecff5d5a134e27c18ff0923394ca&ntb=1

Second, it would be good to check the school you want to attend for support. Go to the Financial Aid department and talk to someone who can give you information on what you would qualify for and help walk you through the process of filling out paperwork. I'm adding links to assist with that process.
https://blog.risla.com/7-steps-to-applying-for-college-financial-aid#:~:text=Follow%20this%20simple%20step-by-step%20process%20to%20make%20sure,make%20corrections%20to%20your%20FAFSA%20through%20the%20web.

https://www.ccsf.edu/paying-college/financial-aid-office

Finally, see if there are any jobs that will pay tuition. Companies like McDonald's, Walmart, and Starbucks have been known to pay for tuition for staff with the condition that they work a certain amount of time. I'm adding some links on places that offer this.

https://www.zippia.com/advice/jobs-with-tuition-reimbursement/
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/student-loans/jobs-that-pay-for-college/
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/jobs-that-pay-for-college

Hope this helps

Simona recommends the following next steps:

Make an appointment with the Financial Aid Office of School you want to attend; see what Financial Aid can be offered
Apply for Financial Aid and grants through school (ex: TAP)
Look at employers that offer offer tuition reimbursement and consider applying/working there (always talk to hiring managers to get a feel for company)
Look at and apply for scholarships and grants through some of the links provided
Thank you comment icon Rock awesome answer! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question!!! ;) Genevieve
Thank you comment icon Anytime! Good luck with this! :-) Simona Hunt
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Charlie’s Answer

Genevieve,

As much as working part time while in high school/leading up to enrolling in university can help you save for college expenses, that alone will most likely not put you where you'd like to be.

Be on the lookout for any and all scholarship opportunities that you are eligible for! Take your time and be thorough with all scholarship application forms/processes.

Frugality is also a way to make sure that, while you're working and saving for college, you're keeping the hard earned money you made in a place where it can be used for necessary university expenses.

Doing some passive investing most likely won't yield you enough return in the time frame you would need. However, investing while in university is a great way to set yourself up for success down the road. Opening a Roth IRA and contributing what you can each month is a great way to start in my opinion.


Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Charlie. Genevieve
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Danielle’s Answer

Hey Genevieve! I always find budgeting a lifelong skill! I find that having a Budget app on your phone helps too. You can see exactly what you are spending your money on and see it on a daily/monthly basis. I agree with Ken, and try to cut down on unnecessary spending. You can even create an excel sheet once you track everything in the Budget app to see which areas could use less spending. I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Great idea! Thanks Danielle! Genevieve
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Katherine’s Answer

Congrats on getting your AA degree first. That's a really good way to save some money and not get yourself into too much student debt. If you have enough saved from the last 2-3 years to go back to school full time, do it, but otherwise, like someone else has mentioned, you can also check with your school to see if doing your Bachelors part time is an option. If you work an office job with a large corporation, they might have a tuition reimbursement program (or at least cover up to $x,000 which can really help with not take out as much in student loans). If you want the break from working and choose to go full time, you can keep a part time job on campus (cafe, as a Resident Assistant or tutor) to help with expenses. Check your college's career center postings for open jobs. Just make sure you prioritize your academics!

Plan your finances and see how long your savings will last between living expenses, school supplies, and tuition. Set a budget per month, and track your expenses in an Excel spreadsheet. There are probably some great templates online, and there are apps that do this too, like Mint. When you shop for groceries or buy things, always check for coupon codes and deals; that helps me a lot while in grad school.

I don't recommend investing in the stock market because you're gambling with your money (unless you're really finance-savvy and are keeping up with market trends). Another idea is to start a side hustle. Maybe it's selling stuff you make (put it on Etsy or just sell to friends and post it on IG/Facebook/group chats) or offering your services (photography -- graduation and headshots are in demand by college students!, tutoring sessions, baby/petsitting, etc).
Thank you comment icon Thanks again Katherine! Genevieve
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Orain’s Answer

Hello Genevieve,

I hope all is well.

In regards to saving for college. I would recommend the following since you mention you are currently working:
1. Draft up a budget based on your income to understand how much funds per month you will be able to consistently save
2. Create an auto transfer in your bank account from your checking to saving account to ensure monthly this set amount is being automatically pushed to your saving without any manual action on your end. This will allow you to not see or miss this funds
3. The college you are planning on attending, see if there are networking events you could attend to build your network with faculty/staff and share your interest. This way you can get additional details via networking on any grants/scholarships available at present and the action items on your end to be consider for these

I hope these help and good luck!

Thanks

O.M
Thank you comment icon THANK YOU!!!! :) Genevieve
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