8 Strategies to Get Last Minute TuitionAugust 12, 2022
You know how expensive college can be. However, you may be surprised to find out that your financial aid package may not cover the total cost of attendance. If you need to raise money for tuition and other expenses quickly, there are several options available. From emergency grants to last-minute student loans, here are seven ways to get money for college fast.
1. Submit an Appeal to the Financial Aid Office
If you completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the federal, state, and school deadlines, you might qualify for a mix of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans. Unfortunately, your financial aid package may not be enough to pay for all of your college expenses. If that’s the case, your first step should be to contact your school’s financial aid office; you may be able to appeal their decision.
Contact the financial aid office and explain that you can’t afford college with the current aid awarded to you. Explain the situation if there are special circumstances, such as a sick family member or job loss, that aren’t reflected on the FAFSA. Depending on your school, the financial aid office may be able to adjust your award package to include additional grants or loans.
If you aren’t eligible for additional aid, ask if the college has a tuition payment plan. Some schools will allow you to pay your tuition bill in monthly or quarterly installments.
2. Consider an Income-Share Agreement
If you aren’t eligible for additional federal loans or institutional aid, ask about an income-share agreement (ISA). ISAs are increasingly popular and can be a useful alternative to traditional student loans.
With an ISA, you can get financial assistance with your college expenses. In exchange, you pay back a portion of your future income for several years. Talk to your financial aid office to find out if an ISA is available at your college.
3. Raise Money Through Friends and Family
While it may not be ideal, asking for help from friends, family, and even the local community can be a great way to get the money you need to pay for your remaining college costs.
You can directly ask people for help, but you can also use crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to raise money for tuition. You can create a profile and share the link on social media, and people can contribute and share it on your behalf.
If you decide to go this route, be sure to create a compelling case for why people should donate to your cause. Be specific about how the money will be used and how it will impact your education.
4. Start a Budget and Stick to It
College is notoriously pricey, but there are ways to reduce the cost. Creating a budget and looking for ways to cut corners can make college more affordable. Some common ways to save money in college include:
- Live off campus: Dorms and other on-campus housing options are often more expensive than renting an off-campus apartment. If you can swing it, living off campus can allow you to save money during college.
- Prepare your own meals: College meal plans can be incredibly expensive; on average, they cost $18.75 per day. If the college meal plan isn’t mandatory and you have access to a kitchen, one of the best ways to save money is to cook your own meals and prepare your own snacks.
- Rent textbooks: Buying new textbooks every semester can add to your education costs. Sites like Chegg and CampusBooks allow you to rent textbooks for a fraction of the cost of purchasing your books.
- Commute to school: If you live close to campus, living with your family and commuting to your classes can save you a lot of money on housing and food costs.
5. Consider Work-Study Program or Part-Time Work
If you feel comfortable juggling your coursework with work, getting a part-time job or participating in a work-study program can help you offset the cost of tuition. You can use your income to cover some of your education expenses, reducing the need for other financial aid or student loans.
Not only will you earn money to put towards your education, but you’ll also gain valuable experience that can help you after graduation.
6. Look for Last-Minute Scholarships and Grants
Don’t overlook scholarships or grants just because the semester is about to start. There are many scholarships and grants available to help students pay for college. Scholarships and grants awarded by non-profit organizations and companies have different deadlines for applications for federal or state financial aid, so you may be able to apply even when you’re preparing for the semester to begin.
7. Make The Most of Your Tax Deduction
Make sure you’re using any available tax deductions to help add more money back into your pocket. You can get tax relief for educational costs such as tuition and claim student loan interest tax deductions. The more credits you take, the more your tax burden is reduced. These deductions can be beneficial in freeing up extra cash to put toward your education the following year.
8. Apply for Private Student Loans with ELFI
“I need help paying for college fast” is a common statement from students. If you’ve tried the other tips on this list and still need last-minute tuition help, another option is to take out private student loans to pay for your remaining expenses.
ELFI offers private student loans to undergraduate students, graduate students, and parent borrowers.* You can borrow up to the total cost of attendance, and loan repayment terms range from five to 15 years.
You can check your eligibility and view potential loan options with the Find My Rate tool.