5 weird ways to pay for college

You're learning to think, so why not think of how to make money? Some students have gotten really creative to beat the debt burden that can come with a diploma.
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Apr 9, 2011 7:17PM
College tuition has gotten so high that kids from poor families can't even commute and work their way through anymore.  I did so in the late 60's-early 70's when the U. of Maryland system's tuition was $786 per year, a summer job and part-time schoo year job paying $2-$3/hr was possible, and the money for tuition, books, gas, and small expenses could be earned.

Today the tuition is in the $9000-$10000 range and it's not possible to earn half the money with a typical summer job.

I would point out though, that it is possible to graduate with $20K or less in loans and to get a scholarship to a top grad school rather than generate a ton of debt to pay for the top school as an undergrad.

Anyone whose kids have $200,000 in college debts must not have done much work or decided to go to very expensive private schools.

Apr 26, 2011 8:44PM

One of the most shocking ways to pay for college, I found out when I was actually in college and got so upset and outraged about it that I did one of my thesis' on it....and that is the SAD, SAD fact that PRISONER'S in prison, serving time for everything from simple drug possession to armed robbery, rape, and murder, in almost all of the prison's in our country, are able to get college degrees!!!  If that is not a blunt and obvious red flag that something is terribly wrong and backwards with our penal system, I do not know what would be!  I believe that all prisoner's should be given at least a high school education while incarcerated if they do not have one.  But NOT a college education!  The same college education that law abiding citizens have to pay for themselves, like I did for my college and for my children!  Something is wrong when someone can go rob the 7-11 or kill or rape someone, then get one or more college degrees while serving their time as punishment for their crime when law abiding citizens have to pay for college themselves and/or come out of college already in debt from student loans.....in some states, even people on death row are getting college degrees!  If you consider every single prison in the US.....can you even imagine how much money that comes to that tax payers end up having to pay for?????  Money that could be and should be used for things that would actually benefit the law abiding parts of society?  With a high school education, they would be on an even playing field, and IF they desire a college education, then they should have to pay for it themselves like the people in the US are doing who have NOT commited crimes!!  Just thought I'd share this little tidbit of information since just reading the title of this article immediately took me back all of those years ago to when I learned about this fact and did research on it for my college thesis when in nursing school!

Apr 11, 2011 11:19AM
I'm now working on my masters, about to graduate. I never had to borrow any money until this last year and I only borrowed what I needed: a grand total of $2,000. If you are a good student and work a part time job, it is not difficult to get through college without debt. My junior year of college, I actually won over $6,000 in scholarships to study abroad in France for a summer. I think part of the problem is that every parent thinks their kid belongs in college. If they haven't made the grades to earn scholarships, then what makes you think it is worth going into thousands of dollars into debt to watch them get drunk and fail classes in college? I've seen it countless times during my college career. Parents waste way too much money on their kids for college. If you told the kid from the start that college was their responsibility and that they were going to be saddled with the debt, they might work a hell of a lot harder to win scholarships and work part time. If not, then that is a sign that college isn't for them. What's the point of making more money with a degree if you're going to spend the next 20 years in debt trying to pay it off?
Apr 26, 2011 7:10PM

Teach for America is a load of crap.


My daughter is at Cornel, has busted her butt studying to be a teacher and will graduate next month with two degrees. She has been accepted to Cornel graduate school to get her masters. So far, I owe $70,000, and the graduate school is  going to set us back more. Whatever, she's my daughter and I do what I can for her.


Be that as it may, she applied to Teach for America, primarily because it will help her get started in her career, and help pay back our loans. Although she went to three eight hour interviews, she was rejected. Why? Because she actually wants to be a teacher. Imagine that.


Teach for America isn't interested in finding top teachers. They want fund raising people to help generate cash for their political agenda. The Princeton woman who started T for A is a BS artist.

Apr 26, 2011 9:30PM
Wow... I just wasted 10 mins of my life reading this worthless article.
Apr 26, 2011 5:13PM

@ Someone (all the hype)

Put simply, your student gets scholarships by applying for them.  
My recommendation would be to first fill out the FAFSA (Federal Application For Student Aid) form (google it, it's a government form and secure to do, make sure the site you use is a ".gov" site) just so you are aware, that form will require your (the parents) income for the past year and your tax return for the past year as well... it is normal and how they figure some of what the student will get in federal grants.  Most colleges require that this form is filled out for all incoming students.
Then ask the counselors at his school for a list of scholarships that they think he/she would qualify for.
Have your student get a couple of letters of recommendation from at least two teachers (that always helps out)
Then just keep googling for scholarships and apply, apply, apply....
Most require an essay, usually on different subjects, but sometimes the essay just wants to know why your student feels that he/she deserves the scholarship. 
Apply for everything that sounds remotely like something your student may qualify for.... even if it's only for $500.00... because if you get 4 of those, it adds up quickly.... and as you can well imagine, every little bit helps.
There are even scholarships out there for a laptop (which most colleges require that incoming students bring with them)
Hope this information helps!   Good luck and God bless!!!

Apr 26, 2011 5:19PM
The Navy gave my grandson a masters degree at MIT while still on the payroll.The Air Force gave my daughter in law a med degree while still on the payroll.The Air Force gave my son a Masters degree in Business Management while still on the payroll.Go military and apply yourself.
Apr 26, 2011 5:07PM
Spend some time in the military,the pay is livible and the benefits are great.This very old Marine got his diploma 60 years ago.
Apr 26, 2011 5:02PM

Going into debt to get a college degree is overrated. College graduates are a dime a dozen nowadays. The jobs just aren't here in this country to support them anymore.

Apr 26, 2011 10:10PM
I came from a lower class family and still worked my way through school.  My first year of college I had a scholarship but the other three years I paid for myself.  My parents couldn't afford to help me.  It's not impossible working and going to school at the same time, you just have to get creative.
Apr 26, 2011 5:27PM
Yes...FAFSA does help a lot and is one of the reasons I made it through grad school without any debt. Once you hit the age of 24 you no longer have to answer questions about your parents and their income. So if your parents "make too much money" like mine did but your still struggling to pay for school you might have to wait a few years before you can get the full benefits. Its free grant money that you'll never have to pay back...and it was my way to justify the fact that I'll never see social security but at least I'll get a semi-free education out of the deal...haha.  I guess thats the trade off you have to make this day and age.... But as VV_123 mentioned apply for everything it all adds up!!!
Apr 27, 2011 1:00AM

The suggestions in this article are all excellent.  I have a few more that I used myself, as my health put the military option out of the question.

1.  Forget the Ivy League college.  They're overrated.  Go to a local college and stay home with your parents.  Massive savings right off the bat.  Even better if your area has a good public transportation system; then you don't have to worry about auto expenses.

2.  Remember the old WW-2 adage:  Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without.  Translation:  What's with the buying a whole new wardrobe to start college?  If your old clothes still fit and are still in good condition, keep using them.  Save fashion concerns for when you have a job and are making money.  If you're sitting in a classroom all day, why bother dressing to the nines?  Try jeans and T-shirts.  They're cheaper and a heckuva lot more comfortable.  If you absolutely MUST buy something, consider Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other such stores.  (If you buy used shoes, either make sure they've been resoled, or have it done before you wear them!)  Ladies, forget matching the shoes to the outfit.  Get two pairs of shoes:  Something comfortable for everyday wear, and something better for going out.  Period. 

3.   Skip the cafeteria and bring your own lunch from home.  Not only is it cheaper, the food'll be better, too.  ;D

4.   You're not likely to have study periods to do your homework in; expect to have to do it at home.  Apply a little self-discipline and limit social outings to weekends only---AFTER the homework's done.  I'm talking to you social butterflies out there.  It might cramp your style a bit, but socializing isn't why you're going to college, anyway.


In short, the key word is one that's become something of a dirty word these days;  SACRIFICE!  If you can possibly get by without (fill in the blank), then skip it.  That way, it may even be possible to get through college without having to shoehorn in a part-time job, depending on how much your scholarship and/or grants will cover.

Apr 26, 2011 7:16PM

@mainstream media




I have no college degree. I work as a hired gun for the world's second largest pharm. They won't hire anybody without a degree, and furthermore, every one of them makes, twice, maybe three times what I make.  And yet, I tell them how to do their jobs.


I'd rather have a sheepskin and be that much ahead, then be at the mercy of an employer begging for scraps.

Apr 26, 2011 10:23PM

I have an Idea .....  SmileSmileLight bulb


I think it's to the point today where we have to get a lot more creative with independent thinking about how to come up and implement a new affordable/cost effective educational system ... like taking individual class courses by (Accredited CD Course Purchases) .... Study at Home by CD ... Tests given on CD ... And then when ready .... take a State Exam showing you've passed each Course to acquire the Degree you wish to acquire that is Cost Effective for everybody.  Not by expensive on- line Courses which are way too expensive for to days Students & Economy.  Student Loans today are ridiculously way out of line and expensive not only for the Students but for Parents too.  One should not have to forfit your mortgage or one's life to get an education! 




Apr 26, 2011 9:24PM
One more thing. Lets not confuse work with studying. Two different animals.
Apr 26, 2011 9:09PM
Why would anyone suggest that a young adult sell their soul to get money ... selling sperm or eggs??  Prositution? Murdering the weak, infirm or elderly    as sDin PDH suggests? Moral depravity is what you try to sell to our young adults? Tell them it is ok or normal and hope that they have not been taught better.
Apr 26, 2011 9:18PM
I am a military vet with 10 years leadership experience and I have yet to meet 1 person with a college degree who had any leadership qualities when arriving new on the job. A degree might mean something to those who are hiring. The question is why? I will take experience over a degree every time. I am sure there are those with degrees who will not agree. You will say things like "I worked hard for my degree". I will say I worked hard so you can think you worked hard.
Apr 27, 2011 3:30AM

When I saw the title of this article I thought what a great idea to forward to my son UNTIL I read it! Be a guinea pig, help others reproduce with your sperm, Beg? Are you out of your minds? Do you actually think this information is wise to offer to the average college student? How much blood would they have to give to even begin to save and giving sperm is advice to pay back loans? Begging on-line and risking insane people to attack a student who might be offguard is advice? Why not ask them to go trick or treating and save the change next? Or opening a business online? Do you realize how hard it is to find a niche where selling is that profitable plus when would the student study? Just because one person was able to do it does not mean it's the answer for most students. Selling is extremely time consuming and serious students study all the time and have tons of projects. If all of us knew how to save to pay back $50 gran per year on our own then we would jump at the chance and our nation wouldn't be in the mess we are in. Maybe you can find the answer to our failing economy and run for President too in your next article. Be REALISTIC.

Apr 27, 2011 1:57AM
$200,000 tuition? Well, if you're absolutely certain you know your major and that particular school is the best place for you, go for it. Otherwise, stick to a small college until you get your Associates and then decide if a move to a bigger school is right for you. So many students change their major two or three times in their school career anyway, so jumping right into a big, expensive school could be a waste.

For kids currently in high school, get searching for scholarships. Even if you won't start school for another 3 years, you can still apply for scholarships now. Look everywhere, even your credit union/bank, local supermarket, etc. There is tons of scholarship money out there that never gets used because no one knows about them or bothers to apply. Many of them are small, a few hundred bucks or so, but every little bit helps and if you apply to enough of them, you could have all of your tuition paid for plus extra for a car to get around in or even an apartment off-campus.

Nov 23, 2013 3:08AM
College costs are on par with charges for hospitalization.  The only difference is that the majority of Americans have a 3-party payer such as medical insurance, usually through their employer, coverage from the feds (Medicare), or state (Medicaid). I had a major hospitalization in 2012 that cost $263,000.  Fortunately, my insurance paid all but a $100 co pay.  Yet students hoping to enter an upper crust 4-year university are expected to fork over a similar amount, if not even more.  I entered college life in 1971.  Tuition at my university was a little over one percent of what's being charged now, just 42 years later. Why are colleges and universities charging so much? For the exact same reason lawyers charge so much. BECAUSE THEY CAN!  Where else are you going to go?
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