7 alternative ways to pay for college
The news on college costs is mighty
grim, but there are plenty of creative ways to keep your college
dream on track.
Dwindling state and federal aid, lower endowments
and drops in fund raising have forced many colleges and universities
to raise tuition prices and cut back on financial aid programs.
What's a cash-strapped student to do?
Never Give Up on Scholarships
You don't have to be a stellar student to land a big scholarship.
Unless it's strictly an academic scholarship, your grades don't
really matter. As long as your grades make the cutoff, often a 2.5
GPA or higher, you have as good a chance as any applicant of bagging
And there's no reason your scholarship search can't continue through
four years of college.
"It's really just beating the bushes," says Barbara O'Brien,
director of college bound marketing for Sallie Mae's planning-for-college
The Web is a great way to get started. Check out individual
college Web sites, and search for scholarship sources on sites such
Avoid sites that charge you to search for scholarships.
Don't overlook local sources of scholarships. Community-based
awards may be smaller, but they're also easier to win.
"College Answer has the largest online scholarship database
containing more than 2.4 million scholarships worth more than $15
funds," O'Brien says. "Students should look to organizations
such as the Kiwanis Club, YMCA, parents' employers and area businesses."
You can learn about local competitions at the public library and
at the guidance office at your local high school.
time to pull out all the stops. Be flexible. Be determined. Be willing to give
the unusual a try.
Here's a roundup of some offbeat and overlooked
strategies for pursuing and paying for a college degree.
Accelerate your degree
Accelerated classes cram a semester's worth
of material into six- or eight-week sessions. The classes, while intense, can
really help to move up your graduation date. You land the degree you want at a
much lower price.
Tuition in an accelerated degree program at Albert
Magnus College in New Haven, Conn., is about half the cost of its
traditional degree program. And many schools offer bachelor's degree
programs in three years instead of four.
For students on the physician
track, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., offers a seven-year program
integrating a bachelor's degree with a medical degree, saving a full year's costs.
At Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pa., a student
can earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in elementary
art education for the price of a bachelor's degree.
An accelerated degree program is a great option for
a student with a clear career goal. If you're ready to work hard, why not put
your college education on the fast track?
Be a transfer student
Consider the power of credit transfer.
In many cases, credits earned at a less-expensive
college or university can be transferred and applied toward a degree
from a pricey, elite school. You could earn a prestigious diploma
at a fraction of the price.