Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in tuition and a decline in financial aid. Unfortunately, this is going to continue.
When looking at your financial aid package this summer, you may see that the dollar amount of scholarships and grants that you usually receive has decreased, or your aid is just not stretching as far as it used to. But, loan options will never be missing.
“Take out loans” is a common phrase that students hear when talking to their financial advisors. But, loans should not be a first resort because there are other ways to pay for your tuition.
Working on campus or in the community to offset your expenses is one way. It’s not ideal, but if you’re really serious about graduating with as little debt as possible, you will do whatever you need to do to make it happen.
Donations are another way to fund your education. There are many websites dedicated to this, and setting up an account is relatively easy. Family and friends are usually willing to help in anyway they can.
The scholarship search shouldn’t stop once you get to college. There are scholarship search engine websites such as fastweb.com and scholarships.com that are extremely helpful. It’s as simple as filling out an online profile with your academic history, demographics and other miscellaneous information. Then the site matches you with several scholarships that fit your description.
Google is another way to find grants and scholarships in the community, as well as checking on our university website. Several organizations may also be giving out some free money.
If you never ask, the answer will always be no.
If you want to get through your undergraduate degree with the least amount of debt, creativity and persistence can make that happen.
Taylor Duckett is a sophomore majoring in economics.