How to Pay for College Without Parents

by Contributor
Seek tuition aid in a variety of ways.

Paying for college is a reality for many students, because of a lack of family funds or the absence of parents. Tuition assistance is available in many forms, including grants and other programs. Research and apply for assistance and you will be on your way to gaining a college degree.

Choose or switch to a cheaper college. For example, start your college career at a community college, where tuition will be less than at a private or state-run university. Gather brochures from nearby community colleges to determine whether they offer the degree you are interested in. Compare the costs among the public colleges and decide what one fits your educational and financial needs.

Apply for federal and state grants to help pay for college. Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which can be found online, at college financial aid offices or at high school guidance offices. Grants are determined based on the previous year's tax return for you or your family. Federal Pell Grants, for example, are offered in every state. Money is dispersed to colleges per semester to help pay for college tuition.

Talk to financial aid personnel at the college or in your high school guidance office to find scholarships. Expect to have decent high school or current college grades when applying for scholarships. Ask for a scholarship packet that generally contains the requirements for applying for each individual one. Read over the requirements carefully and follow the instructions when applying.

Apply for a federal Stafford loan to pay for college, the amount of which can be determined after you complete the FAFSA. Expect to sign a mastery promissory note before funds will be sent to your school.

Get a part-time job or sign up for a work-study program at college. Having a part-time job will ease the burden of being strapped for money while in school. Unexpected costs can occur, and having a part-time job can help in those situations. Work-study programs allow students to hold campus jobs, with the used to help pay tuition.

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