In these shifting economic times, college bound students now have many options when it comes to paying for college. Beyond federal and merit based aid, many students now have to come up with extra cash to cover the difference at more expensive schools and programs. When students turn to your financial aid department for guidance, here are four creative suggestions for how they can pay for college.
Peer to Peer Lending
In addition to private loans, students can make up the difference in Federal and School Aid by applying for low-interest loans on peer lending sites. In fact, there are numerous platforms that cater to lending specifically for educational purposes, such as Common Bond and Upstart. With student loan interest rates on the rise, many investors cash in on the student loan market, while students benefit from competitive interest rates. Many peer loans also offer the same standard benefits as federal loans, such as deferment on interest while in school.
If businesses and creative projects can be crowd funded, why can’t student loans? Imagine if everyone in a student’s life kicked in a little bit. Would they have $1000? $2000? A little bit can go a long way, and students can get creative with how they reach out for funds. Many often ask for college crowdfunding money in lieu of standard cash for graduation. If students have a talent or skill, they can offer incentives for those who donate, such as babysitting services or prints of artwork.
Search for Lesser Known Scholarships
Most students will receive a total financial aid packet after filling out their FAFSA, which includes federal aid and scholarships from the school. In addition to searching for private loans, students should also exhaustively search for scholarships, and look beyond merit and faith-based scholarships to get creative! They can enter in a creative project, search for local scholarships, or sharpen up those essay-writing skills for the chance to earn prizes that can go toward paying for school. It may take a lot of man hours, but the payoff could yield big rewards.
Pay as You Go
This isn’t the most glamorous option, but paying as they go allows for students to take on significantly less debt, while better controlling what courses they take so they can spend time honing in on what they’d really like to study. It may take longer than the traditional four-year degree, but it’s better than not finishing school due to lack of funding.
As higher education changes, so too will the ways prospective students choose to finance their educations. With much controversy surrounding higher education costs, students today are more fiscally conscious than generations past. With this is mind, it helps to have an arsenal of creative suggestions to aid them in financing their dreams.
Allen Kors is the founder and CEO of Achieve Lending, the first ever search engine for private student loans. With Achieve Lending students can shop, compare, and choose between lenders and interest rates, often in as little as thirty seconds. Kors aims to build the ‘Kayak’ for education loans. See the tool in action here.