4 Great Ways to Raise Money for College

Two plates of assorted cupcakes and cookies.

Flickr user Percy

Far too many college financial advice programs talk about going into debt while neglecting to mention you cannot discharge federally backed student loans in bankruptcy and the high-interest rates you may pay. Nor do they discuss how to lower the cost of college beyond generic advice to apply for many scholarships, regardless of the time required. Here are four original ways on how to raise money for college that won’t put you in debt.

Bake Sales

Many school administrators organize a bake sale to raise money for after-school programs or clubs. You can consider running a bake sale to pay for your tuition or when you are hit with a surprise fee at the last minute. One of the benefits of bake sales is flexibility; you can make your own items cheaply, enlist friends and family to make and sell items with you, or buy pre-wrapped items from the store and sell them. You’re also relying on a tried and true model. If they don’t sell, you can donate the items to various social groups or a food bank. You can use custom boards and flyers to advertise your bake sale, and also create a Facebook event so you can notify all your friends.

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You could also consider crowdfunding your college education. Sites like Gofundme allow you to collect donations from members while crowdfunding sites allow you to borrow from a dozen or thousand independent lenders the money you need at a lower interest rate than you’d pay on a credit card or regular loan.

Ask for Help

It cannot hurt to ask for assistance from family. Even a small loan can make the difference between meeting enrollment deadlines or not, a full course load or a half load, making ends meet, or going into debt. And they don’t have to pay you directly to help you. If family members like grandparents pay the educational institution directly, there is no gift tax to you and no inheritance tax, either. Ask about any savings bonds or savings accounts set aside for your education, too, which can be cashed out and used to pay the bills.

You should also talk to the school financial aid department. They may be able to assist you with meeting short term financial needs such as giving you extra time to pay, give you a work-study position or direct you to charities to help someone in your situation.

Cut the Costs Every Way You Can

Since you’re reading this to learn how to save money on college costs, we’ll assume you have already selected a school and enrolled. If you have the option, quit the dorm and go live at home. Paying room and board is not an essential part of the college experience, and paying extra for that privilege leaves the risk you won’t be able to finish your degree due to lack of money.

With the rising cost of tuition, finding the funds necessary to attend college without plunging in debt can be a difficult task. But if you follow some of the tips in this article, you should be able to alleviate some of the financial weight off your shoulders.

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