9 Creative Ways to Pay for College

college students walk on campus
simonkr / iStock.com

College is expensive — even with grants, students are often left with a hefty balance to pay. According to The College Board, the average student attending an in-state four-year institution of higher learning during the 2017-18 school year had only 58 percent of their college tuition and fees paid for by grants. Although students can opt for traditional methods to make up the difference, one way to take care of college expenses is to think outside of the box and avoid being saddled with student loan payments.

How to Afford College

College is an important investment for the future, but no one wants to be stuck paying loans if they can fund their education upfront. Check out these nine creative ways to take care of your college debt as you go.

1. Egg Donation

When grants for college aren’t enough, ladies should consider egg donation. Not only can you help a couple fulfill their dreams of starting a family, you’ll also be well compensated.

Growing Generations pays its egg donors $8,000 for their first donation and $10,000 for all subsequent donations. They also cover medical costs and any travel-related expenses, including airfare, food and lodging.

2. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be a quick and easy way to earn the money you need if your parents didn’t have a college savings plan in place. Through an online fundraising campaign, numerous contributors can make monetary donations toward a student’s college tuition, books and living expenses.

YouCaring and GoFundMe are two popular crowdfunding websites that are not only easy to use but are also designed to connect with social media. Within seconds, all of your friends and family members will be able to see your campaign and donate money toward your college savings.

Make Your Money Work for You

3. Innovative Scholarships

Although popular college scholarships are given out for sports and academic achievements, there are also a handful of lesser-known free scholarships you can apply for. One example would be Duck Tape’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, which awards a couple with the best Duck Tape-inspired prom outfits with $10,000 each.

Additionally, the Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship gives one award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000 to three students who have promoted vegetarianism within their schools and communities.

Learn About: 15 Weekend Jobs and Side Gigs to Boost Your Income

4. Cooperative Education

Cooperative education is an excellent option for students to eliminate college debt because it combines the education you receive inside a classroom with work experience. The Georgia Center for Career Discovery Tech and Development offers a five-year co-op program that alternates semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time employment. Georgia Tech reports that students can earn between $8,000 and $10,000 per work term without any tuition fees.

5. Clinical Studies

Clinical research studies can help students pay down college debt in exchange for their time. Check out ClinicalTrials.gov, a resource provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, to search for a trial by condition, location or age.

Covance also offers paid medical studies for a variety of people — healthy and not. Visit its site online to find out about current studies and compensation. In addition, colleges in your area might offer paid studies.

Find Out: How to Pay for College Without Student Loans

6. Armed Forces’ Military Tuition Assistance Program

Consider joining the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, Navy or the Reserve to take advantage of the Armed Forces’ Military Tuition Assistance Program, which covers up to 100 percent of student tuition. The Armed Forces member will have the opportunity to proudly serve his country while obtaining a degree without incurring any debt.

Make Your Money Work for You

7. Canvassing

Political organizations pay college students to walk door-to-door, hand out pamphlets and ask for support for a specific political candidate. For students who enjoy getting exercise and meeting new people, this might be the perfect opportunity to earn some college money.

Glassdoor lists the national average for canvassing as $26,950 per year. Plus, a major advantage of canvassing is that the hours are typically flexible, so that you can work around your class schedule.

8. Raffles

In July 2015, Theodore Marquis helped his friend raffle off a used truck to the tune of $30,000. The money was given to his granddaughter to pay for college. Although you might not have a vehicle for your raffle, you can contact managers of local businesses and ask them if they have anything they’d like to contribute.

Once you have a selection of donated items, sell raffle tickets to community members for those items. You can create raffle tickets if you have a decent printer, or use a website like RaffleTicket.com. Consider holding the raffle yearly until you graduate or have enough money to fund your entire education.

9. Competitive Eating

Competitive eating is another unique method of saving for college. In July 2017, Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo each won $10,000 after competing in Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Check out the latest contests on the Major League Eating website if think you can eat your way to a hefty reward. You’ll find eating events based on foods like shrimp cocktail, bacon and Buffalo wings.

Make Your Money Work for You

Up Next: 200+ Ways to Make Extra Money in Your Spare Time


See Today's Best
Banking Offers