As promised, we are going to share a series of articles to help you find alternatives to student loan debt so you can either get by without any loans or minimize them as much as possible.
We are going to share 7 Alternatives to Student Loans in this next series, starting with our first tip, “How anyone can find scholarships to pay for college.”
We want to talk about this and offer some advice because student loan debt is becoming a burden beyond what many anticipated. In fact, this article by Time Magazine on Why the Student Loan Crisis is Worse Than People Think is a helpful article to help put things in perspective.
When we do a number of calculations, or see the cold-hard facts of student loan statistics from many sites, it is often showing that the cost of the loan over the lifetime of a student and subsequent worker is not beating that of a non-college grad’s income without student loans. Rarely is it cost efficient. This can be a whole new article in and of itself, and we are merely scratching the surface with the problems with the student debt crisis. The focus of this article and series is to help you find alternatives so you can greatly reduce, even eliminate the need for student loans.
The first idea is to muster up as many scholarships as you possibly can.
Rarely does a student receive a full-ride scholarship from one source. In fact, according to this article on CBSnews, around 0.3% of students receive a full-ride.
However, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. What if you could find enough to pay for a portion? What if you could find a few, or several, and combined they were to come close to covering your costs?
It is worth every shot you have and time you put in!
We do commonly hear that athletes and honor roll students can find scholarships, but there are over $100 million in unclaimed scholarships each year from sources of all kinds from the federal and state government as well as those including private scholarship opportunities.
Don’t for one second think that you don’t have the qualifications for a scholarship because you weren’t the star quarterback. No, there are such a wide variety of scholarships, you just need to know where to look and start applying!
How to start looking for scholarships
The first thing we recommend doing is doing a Google search for scholarships on specific skills, clubs, groups, communities and even for the schools you are considering attending. These searches will very often produce a number of scholarships that will at least narrow down your search topics as you begin to find what scholarships you may apply for.
In addition, you will want to think outside of the box. There are scholarships for the everyday and odd skills.
For examples, YesCollege provides an updated list each year regarding 100 Weird and Unique College Scholarships from creating a creative PB&J from Jif to students that are extra tall.
This list of 100 ideas is merely the beginning. You can literally find anything and everything, so no matter who you are, you should find the ones you qualify for and apply!
In addition to the Google Search, there are actually a few websites and apps that will provide a plethora of scholarship opportunities to keep you busy until you enroll in school. 🙂
- FastWeb contains a database of over 1.5 million scholarships available. This is a fantastic resource to narrow down and find scholarships FAST!
- Scholarships.com also maintains a database of available scholarships. They claim their list is 3.7 million scholarships available.
- Scholly App is an app that helps you find and apply for scholarships. The cost is $2.99 and is one of the best scholarship app management tools out there.
We also love Scholly because we love the story behind it too! It was started by Christopher Gray, who applied for and was awarded $1.3 million in scholarships, finding it to be a ton of work. He developed this app and was later on Shark Tank and got a deal – one that went down in Shark Tank history!
Who can apply for scholarships and at what age can you apply?
This is the great news. You can start young! It is even recommended to begin applying for and keeping your eyes out for scholarship opportunities as early as 10 years old, but there are even some scholarships for babies. You can “bank” all of the scholarship money you have earned to cash it in when you are ready. You do not need to wait until you are a Junior or Senior in high school. Start early. The earlier you start, the more money you will have for school when you are ready.
Along with starting early, don’t forget the fact that those going back to school after years in the workforce can also apply for scholarships. There are scholarships specifically earmarked for those going back to school in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older. The sky is the limit! If you are going to school in the future, no matter your age, you can find scholarships.
Make $100 an hour!
Apply and getting scholarships is worth the time! In fact, if you spent 10 hours to secure $1,000, this is equal to $100 an hour pay! Think about that! It is a great paying side gig to add to whatever other jobs or side hustles you have. For nearly everyone wanting to go to school $100 an hour pay is crazy awesome!
Now of course this is just one example. You could work 10-hours to secure $250. But that is still $25 an hour! What about working 10-hours to secure $10,000! I don’t think there are many that would turn down $1,000 per hour pay!
Find a better way
It is not that rewarding to sacrifice your life for four years and be “education bankrupt” for the next 10 or more years. Enter school with much less stress and reap the rewards of your well-earned degree by not suffering afterwards by simply taking time to apply to scholarships of any and all kinds.
Think beyond just your tuition too. College is expensive on many fronts when you include housing, food, books and other living expenses.
We encourage you to find a better way to pay for college. Start by offsetting your college costs with scholarships!