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Are you stressed about your payments for college? Do you think you cannot afford the college of your dreams? We suggest that regardless of your financial circumstances, you should apply for the college of your dreams. The question is, how will you afford it?
One, you can apply for financial aid. Anyone can get a unsubsidized FAFSA loan, regardless of income level. Unsubsidized means that interest carries from day one, versus an subsidized loan, where interest starts only when you have graduated.
Two, you can try for merit based financial aid, if you have stellar grades, test scores and a strong application. Most universities will offer you some sort of a financial aid; some compete to get you as a student.
If you are unable to get merit scholarships and do not qualify for subsidized loans, we suggest to apply for an unsubsidized loan. Then consider the following often overlooked ideas.
A Side Hustle
Consider a side hustle. Perhaps, you have a hobby that you can monetize. For example, you can mend clothes. You could charge a fee to do that your fellow students. For example, Jessie Baren, from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, earned almost $100,000. As a result, and with his parents' help, he made his way through Michigan and $65,000 – without needing financial aid. He did that by selling apparel for Fresh Prints, a national custom-apparel company started by college students in 2009.
Assemble Multiple Scholarships
Consider assembling scholarships from multiple sources. There are a plethora of scholarships available. Check out Hillview Prep's scholarships page here for more information.
Ask College for more Money
Yes, you can! Don't be shy. If you are a strong candidate you can write an appeals letter to the college and request more money as financial aid. In your letter, paint a clear picture why you would be a good fit and a strong candidate. If your family have other expenses, like medical bills, that aren't already taken into consideration, explain how that is having an impact on your college finances.
We recommend that you should visit the college of your dreams a few times, and if available, even take summer classes in your sophomore or junior years. Get to know the professors and staff of the area of your interest. Make sure you know why you are going to college. Be focused.
These are part-time jobs on or nearby campus for eligible students, like the Work-study programs. Undergrads earn hourly wages, but the amount you earn can't exceed your work-study award for the year. Graduate students are also eligible for work-study programs.
If you don't qualify for work-study, check out Websites like QuadJobs and WayUp post jobs online for college students looking for odd jobs like babysitting, tutoring and dog walking, as well as work related to their studies.
Colleges, states, and the federal government give out grants, which don't need to be repaid. Most are awarded based on your financial need, and determined by the income you reported on your FAFSA.
According to The College Board, in 2016, undergrads at public colleges received an average of $5,000 in grant aid and those at private colleges received about $16,700. The biggest grant awards usually come from the the college itself.
If you want, we can help you with designing a plan for your college financial support. Just let us know!