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College Planning

5 Ways to Pay for College Without Loans

It probably goes without saying that college isn’t cheap. But I guess I just said it anyway.

The good news is that you have all kinds of options when it comes to paying for school—and none of them include student loans!

Don’t believe me? Here are five sources of college funding—other than student loans—you should consider:

1. College-Specific Aid: Since many colleges withhold specific scholarships from being published, it’s up to you to seek them out from each financial aid office. Every college will award a different amount, so make sure you know what to expect from the school you choose to attend. You should immediately contact each college on your list to start pursuing any and all scholarships you might be eligible for.

Related: It’s Not Too Late for Scholarships

2. Federal Aid: The good news about federal aid is that it accounts for the largest amount of aid available. The bad news is that federal aid is largely based on financial need. So if your family’s income is above the maximum income for eligibility, don’t be discouraged. You can take advantage of several other sources of aid.

3. State Aid: This is based on a combination of financial need and achievements. From now until you head to college, you should work on your grades, test scores and extracurricular achievements to increase your eligibility for these scholarships

4. Military Aid: If you or an immediate family member have served or plan to serve in the military, then look into military aid. This is a great way to serve your country and get your college paid for!

5. Personal Funding: Let’s not forget about another source of college funding: you! This could include savings, gift money, work income or contributions from your parents. More than any other type of aid, this source of funding is 100% in your control.

Related: Make your money goals a reality with EveryDollar, the only budget tool that Rachel recommends.

Regardless of where you are right now, you can always increase your ability to fund the school that’s the best fit for you. Don’t buy into the myth that loans are your only option.


  • mamamia

    This isn’t really helpful and wishful thinking.

    • Dorothy

      Sadly, no. We are below the poverty line, and qualify for limited grants and whole lots of loans. The grants will certainly help with tuition, but we are working to find my daughter other sources that don’t mean thousands in debt or a multi-year commitment after graduation.

      • Marjie

        Have your daughter look into working at the college. Yes I said college. Get everything you can at the college level first then transfer to the university. Ok back to my original point, most of the colleges have payment matching programs. My college pays an extra $7/hour for every hour you work on campus under the student-works program up to 20 hours per week. Since the lowest paying job under this program pays $7.50/hr that equates to $14.50/hr for 20 hours/week. Also, pell grants and state grants at college level usually pay more than you need for tuition and books. Take that money and DO NOT SPEND IT – SAVE IT. Remember that universities are more expensive and see that money as an investment into furthering your education after college. Apply for scholarships at the college level and save even more pell grant money for this purpose if possible. Sadly, nobody is counseling the kids this way and they are using it for gas and food and other things that they could fund in other ways. For example, riding the bus is completely free for college students in my area. No need for a car or car insurance. And who needs a $10 lunch everyday, live on pbj and keep your eyes on the prize. There is no need to be bored or live a life without fun. The college offers free movie nights during the summer and fall. The art museum has free 1st Mondays. The park offers free movie nights during the summer. Flying a kite and riding your bike are free and the ride to the area you wish to do this is free on the bus. Many libraries have DVD’s for loan, gather your friends everyone chip in for microwave popcorn and boom movie night. Many colleges have Gamers Clubs which offer free video, computer and board game socials and access to scholarships through gaming. Once again, that means free socialization and potential school funding all in one fun package. So find a source of entertainment within your budget – free. I am LIVING this example right now. My goal is a Master’s Degree. I can enjoy meals out and pricier entertainment later. Right now, my focus needs to stay on my educational goal. There is nothing wrong with holding off on the extra stuff and meeting a goal. It shows you really want something and are willing to sacrifice to attain it.

    • Mary

      It is a generalization about welfare when it’s stated as fact that kids on welfare can go to college for free and points to a lack of understanding about how colleges handle income levels. It also shows a lack of understanding about how the welfare system works. Colleges don’t automatically hand out free rides just because kids might be in the welfare system. That is simply not true. We also are poor but not on welfare; however, even the poorest cannot get a free ride unless they do a work study program and win scholarships based on merit. Our daughter’s Pell grant only awards a certain amount each year. The maximum any student can receive based on income is $5,645 as of the 2013/14 school year. She will have to get some loans, but we’re working toward reducing that as much as possible. Grants can only award so much. State and federal money is limited but not extremely. That’s a lot of money if you multiply the $5,645 by thousands of students per year per college.

    • Drew Schumann

      How about kids working their way through college? How about going to a community college? How about not spending money partying? How about not going to an expensive university for a worthless degree? There are options. I’m sorry you’ve given up.

      • Eric

        Not at all Jeff, everything he said is true. Find a community college that will transfer the credits to the university you want and bingo!

      • Emilee

        I am going to a community college and when I graduate I already have a job set up which starts at 70K a year. It doesn’t matter what college you go to. I used to go to a university where I would have graduated with 25K in loans. The only real difference is cost.

      • Pwife

        I always recommend Community College first. There is a lot to be said as they are becoming feeders to larger schools without losing credits along the way. I don’t know where Jeff went to school, but Community Colleges offer valuable education that otherwise wouldn’t be attainable to some folks.

    • Nana Sid

      Very helpful and realistic thinking. There are so many REAL options beyond borrowing for school that many folks here have pointed out.

    • Agreed. I used to work in Financial Aid at an expensive private college — people do manage to go to school debt free, but this post wouldn’t have helped them at all.

  • duh

    So you can get financial aid, pay for it yourself, of have your parents pay for it. The person who wrote this just won the captain obvious D-bag financial aid package.

  • Michael Rosario

    I believe that young people do need to hear this message. My wife and I believe in financial peace. It’s taken a lot of work to pay down debt. I wish I had a time machine to tell young “Michael Rosario” to change my spending habits especially in undergraduate education.nnnI do agree that the culture modification of “debt free” college choices is hard. VERY HARD. As a working adult with a family… I have to admit paying down debt is hard too. nnnI think it’s our role as a community to help young people see the long view of decisions they make.nnnThanks for your work!

  • Zach

    Another is to seek out a job where they will offer some sort of college funding program. Our company offers to to pay for a majority of all tuition and books if your major is in what within the parameters of what we approve. Great info!

  • omega protocol

    I’d have to disagree mamamia, it’s doable, but it’s VERY difficult. If I had to do it all over again, the choice of student loans and credit card debt vs military and personal funding, I’d go the military and personal funding route. It took me 3 years to pay down my credit card debt and only starting now on my student loans. I only wish I’d have done FPU immediately after high school.

  • Mary Smith

    My granddaugher just graduated college with a nursing degree debt free. She became a certified nursing asst. Immediately out of high school, worked 12 hr. shifts, went to a local state college, used every schlorship she could find, and lived at home. Her parents helped a little. Today she started as an R.N. in the ER at a large regional hospital. Good choices and an eye on the goal equals debt free college!

    • holly

      My daughter is an RN that did the same thing. She got her nursing assistant certification in high school and started working at a nursing home. She did that all through college. When she got her RN degree they promoted her to supervisor making more than what the hospital pays. So proud of her to work and pay for school as she went. She had a partial scholarship that paid about 60% and stayed at home during school. She still lived at home for one year after graduating and saved to pay $11000 cash for a very nice used car.

    • Bobby

      Your story doesnt apply here. “Her parents helped a little” A little as in rent, utilities, internet access, food, storage. Not everyone has this luxury lady.

      • Lara K.

        “…or contributions from your parents.” That includes allowing to stay at home. Her story DOES apply here. Don’t be jealous, dude.

  • James Michael Randorff

    In addition to college-specific scholarships, there are also many scholarships and grants out there from private organizations and individuals. Like Dave says, if you take a summer and apply for 1,000 scholarships of $1,000 each, and just 5% of them come back approved, you have just funded $50,000 for college. THAT is an impressive summer job!

    • morningsdaughter

      Where are you going to find that many scholarships? It’s a nice idea, but it’s not very practical…

      • James Michael Randorff

        Morningsdaughter, that is a good question. The process is simple, but it is hardly easy. When I finished my quote by saying, “now THAT is an impressive summer job,” I was being serious. This takes effort, research, writing, etc. However, if you apply yourself to this process over a three-month summer, finding and applying for 1,000 scholarships is very reasonable. Best of luck to you!

  • student debt monkey dot com has some ideas about student debt as well.

  • TGraf

    This are some great tips for undergraduates. I was fortunate in that my parents paid for my first 4 years. For medical school, I was on my own and it was anything but cheap. I would love to see some tips about the best way to tackle those loans once you already have them!

    • TGraf


    • Drell

      Lots of extra work and the debt snowball allowed me to pay off over $300k of student loans (MD for me and MA for my wife with the awful compounded and capitalized interest to boot!)

  • Patricia B

    My daughter just received her BA in English without incurring any debt. Between grant and scholarship monies and getting her AA at the local community college, her out-of-pocket was under 8K. She also graduated summa cum laude 🙂

    • Lin Scho

      Good to know! One blessing we do have is all of our kids managed to get their Associates in high school (Advance Placement courses).

  • Tim

    I agree that if you can do it it is great, however it is not for everyone, and some of us just can’t do it completely debt-free even with Scholarships and grants. I got several scholarships and Grants in addition to working, however thanks to our president this last year (my senior year) I am only allowed to work 29.99 hours/week and my employer cut it to 20 to avoid me going over it is impossible to pay a $25,000 school bill with scholarships, grants, and only working 20 hours/ week

    • lozaka3

      Tim – can you explain the 29.99 hour thing, my son’s PELL grant was cut this year – a lot, and I can’t figure out why. He did make double the money this year than the previous, but heck it still barely pays all his bills. It is a shame that the government/schools won’t consider someone who works almost 40 hours a week and goes to school full time an independent student.

    • Drew Schumann

      Why in God’s name do you have a $25,000 school bill? Are you telling me it’s the cheapest possible option? Seriously, you’d make more money working if you’d mow lawns than working for “an employer”.

  • thinkingabovemypaygrade

    A friend’s good idea…Send her daughter to beauty school (one year…local) so she could pay her way…making better money than the average college student…(Similar to Mary Smith’s granddaughter below). I suggested this idea to another person who turned up her nose at the sensible suggestion. Also…think of local colleges…and living at home, if possible.

    • Dorothy

      Beauty school costs between $10,000 and $15,000, and frequently the only financial help they offer is student loans. In my area, beauty school is twice as much as community college, and then once you graduate you must pay for chair space and supplies. Most hair stylists don’t start to make a profit for 3 to 5 years.

  • Melissa

    I get scholarships from the government, and my school and my state. My parents contribute nothing, because they have nothing. And I work a full time job, and I still need loans to help pay for the cost of living because I am on my own. I love Dave Ramsey’s teachings on debt and keeping it at a minimum and all that. However, this I can’t agree on, because like many students out there, my parents don’t help me at all, even when they do come into money.

    • Drew Schumann

      You are going to the cheapest possible University option, and you are being incredibly cheap in your living? You never go out to eat? You never party? Something tells me you are not telling us “the rest of the story”.

      • Beau Alan Hoffman

        “If it’s an accredited school” would be the key words that you failed to include in your first post. There are many universities that will be accredited for certain majors and not others. Finding one accredited in your major and looking at their employment placement percentages are important.

        • Drew Schumann

          Meh – pole vaulting over mouseturds. Except for very technical degrees, my original statement still stands. One problems with so-called “diploma mills” is that are often more expensive.

  • Machelle

    I have one child with an associate’s degree and no debt. He had a small scholarship from my husband’s company. The rest he paid for as he worked. My second oldest is currently a senior at Texas State. She will graduate next year with a Bachelor’s Degree and no debt! She has worked and paid for it herself. My third is going to Bible/Mission school and has paid for it with a combination of personal money through jobs and raising funds for the missions part of the school. Again – no debt. My fourth we will likely do CLEP tests and distance learning – again working and paying for it himself with no debt. It is possible. It can be done. It is so worth it!nKingdom Life & Blessings

  • JEM

    I work for a university and get to take classes, basically for free. (I do pay some lab fees and certain other fees, but most times it is less than $100.) People forget that universities need janitors and food service people. It might take a bit longer but you can do it.

  • Charles Bias

    This can be problematic for older students, unfortunately. My wife and I both returned to school after the financial crisis cost us both our jobs. She graduates in May with her Bachelors, and I receive my Masters at the same time. Our graduation present? a combined $120,000 in school debt PAST grants and scholarships. Most universities limit scholarships to older learners, reserving them for students coming directly from high school.

    • Drew Schumann

      Adults who go back to school when they lose their jobs, especially when both do it simultaneously, are idiots. If you truly are “adult”, find jobs without going back to school (which is most often a cop out) or take turns working. Just because you did something stupid doesn’t mean everyone does.

      • Sympathetic

        You are absolutely right! I publicly apologize to everyone on here as well as Drew. It’s really beneath any of us to be critical of anyone else since most people are here seeking help! Sincerest apologies. Good luck folks and keep your head up!

    • You are so right!!! The older students are hugely discriminated against…blatently!

  • Kelly

    When you’re a 35 year old stay-at-home-mom, finally going to college there really isn’t any help out there especially like the things listed in this article.

    • Anna

      There are private and school based scholarships! You just have to ask and ask and network to find them

    • Shari

      FAFSA is also available to you. Fill it out whether you think your income qualifies or not. I’m a 43 year old SAHM. I’m working on the last two years of my bachelor’s and have received federal, state and school- specific aid. I’m also applying for every private scholarship I can find. They are available for those of us who are non-traditional students but you have to look for them and be willing to jump through their hoops.

  • Josh

    This is so stupid. There is no possible way that the aid factors here can combine to cover college costs. Students can’t make enough to cover even small, public school tuition, let alone a more expensive private school. That means loans.nnNo more of this “kids need to hear this” BS. Most jobs are minimum wage. Most jobs give 20-25 hours a week. This means maybe $800/mo, all told. Over a semester? That’s only $4,000. There is no school that can be afforded with that, even with the assistance suggested. With the cheapest schools running around $16,000 per semester for a full-time student (which is CHEAP), you’d have to get $12,000 in assistance to help out.nn”But why not get another job?” And what, sacrifice what little time there is? If a student is doing 18-unit semesters to get into block tuition and get the most out of it, they are going to be putting in another 60 hours of work a week to keep themselves afloat in class (on top of the 18 hours that they’re in class). A week has 168 hours in it. With just school, that’s down to 90, and with their first job, it’s down to 65 hours a week. Factor in 8 hours of sleep a night (56 hours a week – to maintain health, leaves 9 hours), and an hour a day for eating (another 7), and a “successful” college student is down to two hours a week that are unspent. TWO HOURS. There is no time for fun. There is no time to relax. There is no time for family. There is no time to LIVE. And you think they can get a second job? No, they cannot.nnIf a student wants to go to a college that is worth their time, then they are going to be in debt. There is NO way around it, and anyone who says otherwise needs to seriously get with the times. This isn’t 1980 anymore. Life kinda sucks for college students, and they are invariably, unless their parents can somehow cover them, going to wind up graduating with substantial debt.nnThere isn’t any college student who wants it. There just isn’t any other choice.

    • Anna

      I did it. I’m sorry. You are wrong. I was not given ANY state or government assistance. I worked evenings and because of that I took no more than 15 credits a semester. It took me 5 years to graduate, and I just made enough each semester to cover living expenses and tuition and books. nI was a returning adult student, so a lot of scholarship options weren’t available to me. I choose to go to state school so it would be financially possible. I also worked extremely hard to get good enough grades to get a part tuition academic scholarship.nI ended up graduating as the valedictorian of my class, and even better, I was debt free.

      • Josh

        Well good for you, but not everyone is going to be able to do that. It is really hard to find a job right now. Even part-time, entry-level work as a fry cook at McDonald’s is highly competitive. But even more, state school tuition has climbed a lot in recent years.nnThe point is that young people may not have any other choice, and just because YOU accomplished it doesn’t give you any right to judge them for being unable for circumstances beyond their control.nnThese numbers do not lie.

        • Anna

          The whole point of making a budget and making your money work for you is how people take control of their financial lives. nnI did it because of the choices I made. I made those choices because being out of debt is a priority for me. If it is not a priority for you, then that is ok too. At the end of the day, the only choices I have to lice with are my own. I choose to graduate debt free, and I was determined enough to find a way to do it.nI now try to help others do the same. I am also working on getting my master’s degree, at the end of which I will still be debt free.

          • Anna

            *live *chose

        • Drew Schumann

          No, but you are a lazy whiner.

    • Drew Schumann

      Josh, you are a whining fool who lacks imagination and ambition. Want to earn more than minimum wage? Mow lawns. You can make a crapload more money doing that than working at a “job”. The average student loan almost exactly matches the average amount an average student spends partying. I was married with kids and earned an Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree without debt. My two daughters are both Seniors in college and they did it without debt. Of course, if you are bound and determined to lose at life, more power to you.

      • Josh

        I’m sorry you feel that way, Drew. There is no need to insult me just because I have made points that you disagree with, and I’m admittedly hurt that you think of me in so low a light.nnFor the record, though, I have worked several jobs above the minimum wage line, and count myself incredibly lucky for that. I am currently full-time employed as a graphic designer making a handsome salary with benefits, and have been there for three years.nnBut I realize how lucky I am. I see hard-working friends who are more diligent than I am, who studied harder than me and who got much better grades than me still struggling to get a job that pays more than $9/hr. I see strong people breaking because they have no way to get a foothold in any kind of career path, and who, despite their best efforts, cannot make it.nnSo I’m really sorry if you see me as lazy or incompetent or a fool. I am simply saying how pointless this advice is for the bulk of the population, and how so many people I know, who sought out these opportunities, STILL had to go into debt for an education that is leaving them high and dry.nnAnd for the record, my degree is a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from a WASC-accredited college. No one at my school partied, and we all were (generally) very focused on our studies. Please try to cut back on hurtful generalizations, assumptions, and accusations. 🙂

    • Madisen Crapo

      I attend USU and tuition is 3,500 a semester. I have three part time jobs so 60 hours a week. My husband and I both attend debt free. So it is possible.

  • Beau Alan Hoffman

    I would like to hear how law school could be possible (excluding veterans) unless you take out loans.

    • Drew Schumann

      Law school? Mow a lot of lawns. Scoop snow. Work for UPS throwing boxes. Or forget about Law school. It’s not like we need more lawyers.

      • Heckofaheckler

        But we definitely need more hecklers, right Drew!?! Definitely working hard at heckling everyone….nothing better to do Drew? Hard working Drew has nothing better to do than heckle? Really? Getting paid for that? Then maybe it’s just wasting your time and ours since you have nothing remotely constructive to say!

      • Beau Alan Hoffman

        If you attend law school full time, it is impossible to work enough hours (literally restricted by the ABA) to pay for law school. And, although I agree with your comment about not “need[ing]” more lawyers, I do think we are in desperate need of ethical and moral lawyers who will never compromise their convictions. I’m in my third year of law school and came here straight from undergrad. I question whether this pertains to law school because my wife is working full time and, even with that, we couldn’t pay for my school without loans.nnI even worked part time this last year, making $10 an hour and our income couldn’t scratch the surface of the costs for my education.

  • Teresa Thompson

    Want to say a few things, so bare with me because it might help some of y’all. #1 Tell your students (or yourself) to take the SAT or ACT more then once, practice test are available online and free. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Our youngest son got all out of state fees waved at his college of choice, Louisiana Tech because he took the ACT test three times and ended up making a 1600. #2 If your child is in band in high school, contrary to popular belief, you can get a music scholarship even if you are not a music major. Both our sons have many friends who are in bands in college and are not studying music. Our oldest will graduate in May with a BS in Music Ed. He has no student debt because of band scholarships and out of state wavers, with our help. Our children are at a D1, Tier 1 school. #3 No offense, but don’t rely on guidance councilors at the high schools. I don’t know about the ones in other states, but the ones in Texas have their hands full with standardize test and don’t have time to guide the students as to the monies available for schools. #4 When your child is a Sr. have them go and bug the dog mess out of the school councilors to see if there are any local scholarships available. Not all cities have them but a lot do. Stay on your kids about filling out forms. Both our boys got a number of small amounts which helped a great deal their first yr. #5. Fill out the FAFSA in January of their senior year. If you are not planning to have them as a dependent once they got to college, then your income will not be factored into their loan/grant amount. Many students can get grants that do not have to be paid back. #6 When they fill out the FAFSA, remind them to check that they do want work study. That is a job on campus, many of the jobs are only during school hours and the kids are allowed to study while at work, some are not. It really just depends on which job they get, but the earlier the form is filled out the better chance you have of getting one. #7 If you do plan to have your child as a dependent on your taxes, take advantage of the Hope Tax Credit or Education Tax Credit. You can get up to $3000 a year back from money you have spent on tuition and books. That is how we have been able to pay cash for much of our children’s tuition. We get our taxes back right before the spring quarter begins and although we usually don’t have any money left from our tax refund, at least we don’t have loans looming over our heads. You may not agree with anything that GW did when he was in office, but that has saved millions of Americans thousands of dollars since that law was signed. #8 I just yesterday I read an article in the Dallas Morning news that Texas has a pilot program where there are schools offering a BS in a few select majors at the total cost of $10,000. This does not include room and board, but y’all should check it out. The only school I remember them mentioning is A&M Commerce but there were others. We have been very blessed as our kids have gone off to school that they received scholarships. We have also been blessed that my husband has been able to work and pay for their schooling without them or us going into debt. I can tell you it has not been easy for any of us, but it will be well worth it when you are finished. Good luck to all y’all. This is all on top of all the great advice given in the article. I just though what we have experienced might help also.

    • Maggie

      Thank you for the tips about tax credits! I’ve missed out on them on previous years, but I’ll be talking to our tax people next week when we do our taxes! For the most part I’ve gone through school on grants and scholarships and the extra was saved in case not as much in grants was awarded in later semesters (which was thankfully, a very wise move on my part). I may be able to get tax credits now for the bit paid out of pocket. I love going to school debt free! I’m spreading the word of the tax credits on to my parents as my youngest sister’s starting college this year so that it’ll help them out as well! Thanks again!

      • Teresa Thompson

        Ck with your tax professional, you might be able to do revised taxes for past years. You will need to ask your school for the 1098’s for the years you want to revise. Good luck with you and your sister.

  • Jean Hall

    Don’t overlook the great cost-cutting technique of testing out of college courses. Check your college’s CLEP/AP/Dantes policy and do your research about what tests they accept at what score. Tests run about $100 (or free if you’re military) and can earn you 3-8 credit hours each. My son tested out of a semester of college, saving big on tuition, books, and living expenses, not to mention getting back months of his life. He’ll be graduating with his bachelors after 3.5 years, debt free. We didn’t pay any of his costs. He lived at home, chose a reasonably priced state school, found scholarships due to his community service, and worked part-time.

  • John

    I think the first thing you have to change is your mindset. You have to be absolutely determined not to take out loans. They can’t be an option in your head. Once they aren’t an option you are more willing to look at creative solutions to paying for college. Some that I have heard of are: Private scholarships, summer jobs in Alaska, creative jobs(sub teaching, school bus driving, tutoring..) cleping out of classes… It is possible, but it can only be possible once you decide that you are willing to live like no one else so later you won’t have student loans 🙂

  • SueBee

    6. Apply at College of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri and pay NO tuition; rather, you work 15 hours a week on campus plus two 40 work weeks a year. Students who qualify are eligible to work the summer work program, which covers the cost of room and board the following year. Graduate debt free and have great work experience, too!

    • Former Bobcat

      Funny because I know Rachel spoke there before, while I had friends who went there. CofO isn’t for everyone though – if you can keep your head down and follow the rules you’ll do okay, but a lot of people get kicked out. I graduated from there and honestly, were I able to do it again, I think I might have tried getting a lot of scholarships and gone elsewhere. And I’m naturally one of those “good kids” anyway. Also, that should be “graduate debt free*” – (*assuming you can afford your books, pay your room and board in the event you don’t get into the summer work program, and afford your own expenses which is especially difficult as a freshman when your car is locked up all week in the freshman parking lot. Also assumes you’re okay with essentially becoming an indentured servant). nnnI did get some valuable work experience at CofO – which almost immediately became entirely irrelevant when I went into an entirely different field. But hey, I learned a couple cool crafts.

  • Joe

    If you have the luck of having a regional campus of your State U in your town, live at home and go there the first two years, then transfer. Or, go there the whole four years. Go visit your friends at State U or Private U on weekends and you have the best of both worlds. Living at home obviously saves big bucks on room and board, and a regional campus usually has a cheaper tuition than the main campus. You still get a diploma from State U even though you graduated from the regional/extension campus. Or, be born into a well-to-do family. 🙂

  • Aaron Blount

    I will be graduating in 2015 with no debt. My wife graduated this spring of 2013 debt free as well. And it has a lot to do with what we learned in Financial Peace University.

  • Lynn

    Any suggestions for paying for grad school? My daughter will graduate in 1.5 yrs and is going to veterinary school… Suggestions other than student loans? Thanks!

    • Shari

      Search online for scholarsips from professional associations in her chosen field. In my searches, I’ve seen several for graduate studies.

  • C Will

    Are you able to apply for scholarships as a junior, or you just mean search them out and then apply as a senior?

  • Drew Schumann

    Oh quit whining. I earned an Associates, Bachelors and Master’s while working full time with a family. It’s called having a work ethic. If you really cannot work and go to school, take time off from school and save your pennies. Otherwise, college is not for you.

  • tbuck

    When our son was in 7th grade, we told him we’d buy him a used car for his Senior year if he finished 11th grade with a 4.0 or higher (AP courses). This motivated him and he managed to accomplish a 4.2. We bought him a quality used car and he is now at the U.S. Naval Academy and will graduate with no loans for him (or us!).

  • Karoo1968

    Hi I’m from Canada and here we have another option called Apprenticeship program. It’s often better than Scholarship money. Well full scholarship is the best… Does such programs exist in the US? This gives students the ability here in Canada, to apply for a specific trade where a licensed tradesman/owner/employer accepts the responsibility of paying for the education, and… during off season program periods (out of class scheduling), you accumulate hands on training with that employer (whether it be 1 yr or a 4 yr program or longer) depending on trade…with pay. As they get through their years, their pay increases until they are fully licensed to get full trade pay. While these students are on the apprenticeship program, they can also apply for Employment Insurance and collect during the time they are in class, providing they have accumulated employment hours to qualify for the insurance.

  • Cari

    Sure wish there were more merit based scholarships. Seems like if we rewarded hard work and good grades there might be more incentive to do well in school.

    • Stacy

      In order to get merit aid you need to look at colleges where the student would be a top student of all the admits. You are not going to get much if any merit aid from a school where the student is just like everyone else. Basically you need to attend a school “below” your academic abilities to get significant merit aid from them. nnAnother option if your student works hard enough in high school and is lucky enough – there are a few schools that promise to meet need without loans. They are very selective. My oldest is attending one and I have only given the school $300 for room & board and paid for her books this year. EVERYTHING else has been covered by school grants.

  • Bar Salinas

    I made my baby go to community college her first two years of gen. ed. and she got an associates…then I paid for her big time big college last two years out of my deferred compensation with a loan…I am paying myself the interest to repay the loan…fine with me!!! And in two months she’ll have a bachelor’s degree with a minor in Strategic Intelligence!!!! A first for our small family!

  • Luke

    I’m currently in college right now and I will graduate with a BS Degree in May of 2015 with no debt, a guaranteed career, thousands left in the bank, a brand new truck, and a year early. (I even have a retirement fund going and I’m 20 years old.) I have literally worked my tail off over my youth. I’m currently taking 18 hours a semester and working at least a 40 hour work week making more than minimum wage. I don’t get help from my parents paying for college. I received enough scholarships to fund about 2/3 of my college career.nnI believe my generation is lazy and unwilling to work. We all want the high end jobs but, we don’t want to work for it. You start at the bottom of the food chain and work yourself up. It’s about time we step it up.

    • H Conn

      Great job, Luke!

  • Tess

    I am about to graduate from a private college (a year early) with absolutely no debt. I applied for many different scholarships during my senior year of high school and my school offered me a large scholarship for my high grades and ACT score (a 29). I have had a full scholarship after that was done and even got money back for books. I never even had to have a job. Also, tuition, room and board for this year is $27,000 + You just have to work at it and find the right school. It is possible!

  • momacita

    DanitanCall your congressman make an appointment to talk to him or one of the staff. They do help. And they do research to help. Good luck.

  • Emilee

    There are outside scholarships too. I have a full ride to my college with a photography scholarship. I also have scholarships from local hospitals since I am majoring in radiology. I get paid to go to school!

  • Stacy

    The University of Alabama has guaranteed scholarships for tuition. If a student has above a 3.5 GPA, scores a 32+ on the ACT or 1400+ SAT (CR&M only), and applies before Dec 1st they automatically get a full tuition scholarship. That still leaves about $15,000 per year for room & board.

  • I used to work in Financial Aid, and there typically were only two kinds of people who managed to go to school debt free on grants — athletes and the smartest of the smart. Even among the really smart kids, it was only the top few students of each class who was awarded top scholarships (and that actually only covered tuition, so they needed other scholarships to cover the gap).nnnOne thing that this doesn’t mention is working. I worked three jobs while in college and worked every summer. Never in my life did I have as much free time as I did while in college, so working part or full time was very doable.

  • H Conn

    Would you elaborate in finding extra scholarships? I troll the internet but am looking for additional avenues. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  • Carrie

    Unfortunately all these grants thenGov offers are unreliable. I’m a single parent of two working and going to college. Of coarse I get fafsa which isn’t enough and is based on how many classes you take. I applied for the TEOG grant for Texas students and got it once. I applied for many scholarships at my community college and didn’t get it since there are sooo many other students applying and only so much money. I’m to the point of getting student loans so I can pay my bills or quitting school and working full time instead of part time. If all this money was reliable I could work less and go to school full time again. But it’s not. Student loans are. And I can see why people resort to them.

  • Claudia

    How about kids with relatively no support system to guide them on to what options they have when they go to college. Not all schools prepare kids with needed information to seek higher education. And the ones that are graduating with a large amount of debt. What are their choices? Why isn’t there articles on this? There are people that need the information!

  • Pwife

    If you become a teacher and teach in a high poverty school, you can have your loans forgiven.

  • Pwife

    There is not any mention of employer funding?? My associates degree was paid in full by my employer. We relocated, my husband graduated and we took on the college on the payment plan method. We sign up and pay it off by the end of the semester to the college. $500 a month hurt at the time, but after 2 years in college I had a job and was DEBT free!

  • Lisa Woods

    Look into College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri (near Branson).

  • Roland_the_Gunslinger

    Excuse me but it sounds to me like she IS taking care of her kids. At least she isn’t taking taxpayer money in the form of WELFARE to care for them.

  • Madisen Crapo

    I am graduating in May with no debt thanks to grants and applying for hundreds of scholarships. I received one worth 16000$ so apply for as many as you can. I go to a very affordable school and my husband is two years in with no debt yet as well. My scholarship pays for some of him but we also have been contributing to an IDA that will pay for his school for the next three semesters. I encourage anyone to look into it. Essentially they are encouraging people to save. You save 1500 over a two year period and then you can cash out 6000 for school or down payment on a house. Our parents don’t contribute anything and we wouldn’t expect them to.

  • carlsadouche

    Suck a fucking dick

  • Guest

    My son went to a community college his first two years, transferred to a university for his BS then took a 5th year at a university, sat for and passed his CPA exam the first time. He has been the President, CEO and Chairman of a major company for several years. A community college is a great transition from high school to university.

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  • Jasmine

    This is downright one of the most hateful things I’ve ever read. Who are you to tell someone they shouldn’t have kids because they simply can’t afford them?!?! That’s her business. Not yours.

  • catbird10

    You might need to read Stepmom’s comment again. She said that IN HER PROFESSIONS she’s unemployable beyond the company she’s with now without a degree. You don’t even know what profession she’s in and you obviously “lack imagination” to understand that some people want to continue to pursue a field they enjoy, not start over in some field they may not like.

  • Todd Bright

    From the comments, it’s easy to see who the optimistic opportunists are an who the pessimistic victims are. Keep up the good work Rachel. You’re right on the money!

  • Alex

    All great suggestions, Doing a combination of these ( except gift money) I am able to pay for my college out of pocket every semester and will graduate with out any debt or ever having taken a loan.

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  • Loren & Christina Killgore

    Know that I celebrate with all you who are posting the success stories/comments. But I’m hoping there’s someone out there in the big wide world that’ll truly hear the weight of my question (and respond with an equally good-weighted answer! The internet can be a sorry place to find answers, but I’m hopeful that this place is an exception.)

    What do you all recommend for a husband and family that has to start all the way back at square one? Since high school, I wanted to be that success story: right out of college, land that job, get married and be a one-income household. I made plenty of thoughtful goals & plans to make that happen.

    Well guess what: sometimes our goals just don’t pan out. (That’s the one point of difficulty I have with budgeting; especially on a lower income!) Even King Solomon observed that the race is not always to the swift, nor riches to those with knowledge, etc. (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)

    My wife and I are now 33, one toddler at home, number 2 expected in October. Aside from the house, we are debt free. But we’re still both having to work to make ends meet. 10 years after I graduated with a master’s degree, I find myself making $15/hour and going back to school, due to a lot of other crap that’s happened in those 10 years.

    The little bit of funding I do have is under threat of being cut, because “I found a job in the academic field I’m pursuing.” So, according to them, the goal has been met. Well, no it hasn’t. I’m still making a high-school income, which is not enough to sustain a family!!!! I need the right piece of paper to get the income I desire.

    Where do you all recommend I look for debt-free funding? I will not go back into debt for school. Biggest waste of money I ever did.