There are lots of ways to pay for college, but one of the most important is to finish on time. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education estimates that every additional year that students spend in college costs them at least $50,000 in tuition, fees, and lost wages.
If you are a full-time student, make sure you are earning 30 credit hours per year to stay on pace to earn a college degree in four years.
- Working, especially in a campus job, can provide some extra cash as well as connections for the future. Make sure to keep your hours to no more than 15 hours or so per week during the semester so that you can keep your grades up.
- Don’t ignore small scholarships, or those that seem like a lot of work because they require an essay. The website Raise.me partners with colleges to offer high school students “micro-scholarships” for accomplishments like grades and participation in extracurricular activities just by registering and “following” colleges. Bigger scholarships might require an essay but writing the first essay is the hardest—after that, you have a template to write and apply for more. You can find tips for scholarship essays at fastweb.com.
- Use the financial aid you receive to pay for needed school expenses—tuition, books, housing—and avoid, at all costs, needless spending.
- Use meal plans or shop at the grocery store and cook. Save going out to eat with friends for special occasions.
- Live without a car and save on gas and parking expenses. Use public transportation, walk
- or bike.
- Limit those vices that aren’t good for you anyway, like smoking, vaping and drinking.