Paying for College: 5 Unique Ways How To Afford Getting a Degree

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Levels of educational attainment in the United States continue to rise all the time. Statistics show that over one-third of Americans over 25 now have at least a college degree.

This is great news for the labor market and our economy, as more educated Americans mean a smarter and more efficient workforce. However, it also means that the level of competition for jobs is fiercer than ever before.

Despite its popularity, college education remains very expensive. Most students that don't come from wealthy families need to find creative ways of paying for college.

Read on as we list five methods of funding the college experience that any student can try.

1. Scholarships

This is perhaps the best-known way of funding college when you don't have the money yourself. American colleges can be very generous with scholarship funding if you know the right way to look for it.

If you play a sport at a high level, you'll probably already know all about scholarships. The best universities in the country headhunt top-class players of all mainstream sports at the high-school level, including baseball, basketball, football, soccer, wrestling, and track.

Academic scholarships are also plentiful. If you got consistently good grades in high school, or if you excelled in one particular subject area, you should have no trouble finding a college to help you with funding.

However, there are plenty of unique scholarships out there that you may never have even heard of. If you're wondering how to pay for college, doing a little research into these kinds of opportunities can be very beneficial.

2. ECommerce

Until quite recently, the idea of funding college by starting your own business would have seemed ludicrous. Starting businesses used to involve large investments in stock and brick-and-mortar premises. However, thanks to the internet, this isn't always the case today.

If you find a niche in the market that you can be competitive in, you can start a successful business with nothing but your laptop and an internet connection. If you use the dropshipping model, you won't even have to have space for inventory storage.

This idea comes with risk. Many online businesses fail soon after setup. Even if you don't lose a lot of money, the business may end up demanding a lot of your time, which you could have been using to work a job or study for your classes.

However, if you can make a success of an online business, you could have a moneymaker on your hands that will survive for a lot longer than just your college career. 

3. Cooperative Education

This system is becoming increasingly popular in schools across America, as well as in other countries. Cooperative education is a framework in which students work a certain number of hours a week during the semester, ideally in a job that relates to their coursework.

The benefits of this system stretch far beyond paying your tuition fees. If you forge a professional relationship with a good company while you're still in college, there's a good chance they'll agree to take you on in a full-time capacity once you graduate.

There are advantages for companies here too. It streamlines their hiring process, as they can get to know a potential employee much more intimately than would be possible through a traditional interview. They also benefit from the cheaper labor offered by undergraduates.

4. Medical-Based Financial Aid

Do you have a medical issue that has a significant negative effect on your life? It may yield unexpected benefits when the time comes to pay for your education.

Many colleges have a system in place that provides financial relief for students with medical difficulties. These funds come from a variety of government grants and scholarships, at both the federal and state levels.

These allowances aren't always easy to track down. You may have to do significant research in order to get everything you're entitled to.

However, the rewards for doing so can be very considerable indeed. Even conditions like asthma can qualify you for major reductions in college fees.

5. Haggling

It might take you by surprise, but it's true. Many colleges will engage in negotiation with you when the time comes for fee payments.

This is especially true for scholarship students. If an institution has approached you with an offer of a certain amount of funding, they might well be amenable to an increased offer if the amount they suggest initially isn't enough for you.

If another college has approached you, this puts you in a better situation. A college that wants to get you onboard will almost always consider improving their scholarship offer.

However, this is an option that's open to you even if a college hasn't approached you with a scholarship offer.

If your dream college has accepted your application, but you can't afford to pay the fees, approach their finance office and explain your situation. If you can outline why you'd be a good student and an asset to their setup, they might come to a financial arrangement with you.

Paying for College in 2020

Paying for college has never been easy in the United States. In fact, coming up with the requisite money has often proved more of a challenge for students than passing classes.

However, the modern economy gives young people countless opportunities to make money. With a little ingenuity and hard work, anyone can fund the college education of their dreams.

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