Even if you have never been to college, you probably know college is expensive. Not only do college students pay for tuition, but they also pay for books, living expenses, food, gas, etc….etc. If students don’t have someone else (like their parents) to pay for college, students have to pay for it all out-of-pocket. So how do students survive college when the best they can do is make minimum wage? First, let’s start with FASFA.
Survive College: FASFA
Loans are tricky. They can be a pain to apply for and sometimes get accepted. If you need a student loan, first fill out the FASFA. FASFA stands for “Free Application For Student Aid”. This is a free application for various grants and scholarships. It is advised that every student should apply, no matter what level of income or GPA. Since I am not that familiar with today’s student loans, I recommend checking out these great articles on student loans and student loan forgiveness.
Survive College: Tuition
One thing that will save a lot of money is dual-enrollment. Dual-enrollment mostly refers to high school students taking classes for college credit. Nowadays, dual-enrollment programs can be found in most high schools. Not only will students get their degree faster, but they will also save on tuition costs when students go to college.
Go to an in-state university. The tuition and fees are sometimes 50% less than an out-of-state college.
Enroll in a community college first! Community college tuition is WAY cheaper than university tuition. If the student would like to still get the “college experience”, they can enroll in a community college near their desired university.
You should enroll in a community college because your credits will get transferred from your community college to your desired community college. Not all universities accept all community college classes though. Furthermore, sometimes community colleges encourage students to enroll in classes that are different from the courses the desired university requires for your degree.
And community college is usually not as difficult as a university.
Because college is expensive, make sure to enroll in a community college and then transfer your credits to a university. Here is a great website to find what college you should go to.
Survive College: Scholarships
Colleges aren’t the only places where students find scholarships. Scholarships are also given out by businesses, organizations, the government, and Individuals. Many people disregard scholarships like these because they don’t know they exist. That means the chances of being accepted are good usually. Check around your local community and reach out online to find scholarships. This is a free website that checks scholarships around you.
Survive College: Travel
Universities are known to have some of the worst parking for students. We also know how expensive gas can be. A great resource that all students should take advantage of is the university transit system. Most likely, your university offers a shuttle that takes students all over campus. And if you are a student, it’s free!
Bikes are also a great idea for students. You can ride your bike from where you live, to your class. You will save so much money from not having to use a car every day.
Chances are you will live next to university students as well. Get in cahoots with your neighbors or classmates and ask to carpool with them. This is also a great way to make friends as well!
Survive College: Food
Most universities love to do this cruel thing where: 1. Students are required to live on campus their first year. 2. Students also are required to buy a meal plan with the university. The meal plan basically means students have access to the on-campus cafeteria. Meal plans may offer other on-campus dining options as well. To say the least, university cafeterias suck. Your university may have been the rare case where the food was actually good. Consider yourself lucky.
There is not much students can do to get around living and dining on campus. Make sure to email your university for possible discounts or exceptions. And if you do have a dining plan, eat there as much as possible!
If you do not have to have a dining plan, there are so many other things to eat other than ramen and pb&js. Prepping your meals the week before will not only be healthier but save money as well. Chicken, bread, turkey, rice, pasta, certain snacks, and even fruits and veggies are all inexpensive food ideas to choose from. Check out these great ideas for cooking in college here and here.
Survive College: Books
Never, ever buy new books! New books are so expensive, especially at the university’s library. Two websites that I used myself are Chegg and this website actually compares all websites to find the best deal on textbooks.
A good tip would be to see what the book costs both to rent and buy it. A lot of times, it’s cheaper to buy the book and sell it after you are done with it. You save more money this way. That is if you have the money at the time.
Those were my tips on how to go to college on a budget. College is expensive and we need to know how to survive college cheaply.
Let me know if you guys have any more ideas down below in the comments section.
Help me out by sharing and liking my content on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. All of these can be found down below or in my sidebar to my right. Thanks everybody!