Running out of money in the middle of the semester sounds like a nightmare, right?
In a shocking report, Edvisors found that 64 percent of students surveyed went broke before the end of a semester at some point during their college careers.
More than half of respondents cited unanticipated expenses as their main source of trouble, and 42 percent said their financial circumstances changed.
Whatever the reason, you’ll need to act fast in this situation. If you suddenly can’t pay for college, these five steps could help you get back on your feet.
1. Speak with your financial aid office
If you can’t pay for college or living costs mid-semester, head straight to your financial aid office.
“The college’s financial aid administrator can help you identify additional sources of funding,” said Mark Kantrowitz, vice president of strategy at Cappex. “Some colleges even have emergency loan funds to help students who run into unanticipated problems.”
Plus, you might be able to negotiate for more financial aid. “If you have special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for college, appeal to the college financial aid office for a professional judgment review,” said Kantrowitz. “Provide documentation of changes in your financial circumstances.”
Even if it’s too late to adjust your financial aid package, the financial aid office can give you tips for filing next year’s FAFSA. By including the right information on your FAFSA, you could qualify for more federal grants or work-study funds.
At the very least, a financial aid officer can point you in the right direction for scholarships or job opportunities.
2. Find a high-paying part-time job
If your bank account is running low, your next step is to search for a part-time job. Although some jobs pay next to nothing, it’s possible to find high-paying, part-time jobs for college students. These positions probably won’t make much of a dent in tuition, but they could help cover your living expenses or pay for books.
Academic tutors, for instance, can make upwards of $17 per hour. If you cover material for an admissions test like the SAT, you could make $20 or more per hour.
Anyone with computer programming skills can find an online job to offset the costs of college. Think about your skill set and look for work with a paycheck that’s worth your while.
Though earning money is important, make sure you can balance work with studying.
“I got a position on campus where the workload was light and I could study while I worked,” said Phil Risher, founder of the Young Adult Survival Guide. “I would recommend setting up a spending budget for each week or month so you don’t run out again.”
Once you get a job, create a spending plan so you can track your expenses and stay out of the red.
3. Apply to outside scholarships
It’s not too late to apply for scholarships if you’re already in college.
Student Loan Hero, for instance, awards $1,000 scholarships every semester to students 18 years and older. This semester, applicants submitted essays about financial challenges they’ve experienced, their plans for the scholarship money, and how they’d manage money in the future.
It’s easy to locate opportunities across the country with scholarship search engines. You can also speak with your financial aid office about local opportunities.
Some scholarships require an essay or recommendation, while others let you apply with just a few pieces of basic information. By casting a wide net, you could earn free money that helps you pay for college.
4. Sell back your textbooks (and whatever else)
Need money now? Consider selling some of your stuff online. Although you might not have a ton of things to sell, you could at least get some money back on your old textbooks.
If your financial situation has hit rock bottom, selling things online is an easy way to make fast cash.
5. Consider taking out a private student loan
If you have big college expenses you can’t afford, consider taking out a private student loan. You might need a co-signer if you don’t have your own income or credit history. With a co-signer, you could take out what you need to cover the remaining costs.
Borrow only what you need and no more. If you take on too much debt, you could be paying off your student loans for years to come. Plus, you’ll end up paying a lot more than you borrow thanks to compound interest.
Although a private student loan is necessary in some cases, proceed with caution. Private student loans can come with high interest rates, and you might not have the same flexible repayment options as you would with federal student loans. Private lenders, for instance, rarely offer income-driven repayment plans.
Before signing on the dotted line, read over the terms of the loan so you understand what you’re getting into.
If you can’t pay for college, take control of your personal finances
As the study from Edvisors revealed, a majority of students ran into financial hardship due to “unanticipated expenses.” To protect your budget, identify all the costs of college, including tuition, books, food, housing, and social activities. Then, use a spreadsheet or budgeting app to track your spending.
Instead of being caught unawares, figure out exactly how much money you’ll need to get through the semester. And if your financial circumstances change, take one or more of these steps to get back on your feet.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 2/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.23% – 13.23%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.20% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 10.11%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|