You did everything you were supposed to do when figuring out how to pay for college tuition: Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), apply for college grants and scholarships, and save money by working part-time. Despite all of your efforts, you still might have a financial gap and need some extra money to pay for school.
While getting an on-campus job or taking up a traditional side hustle such as tutoring are good options, they also take up a lot of time. Here are some unusual — but creative — ways to pay for college while you’re still in school.
1. Donate blood or reproductive cells
Don’t worry, we’re not saying you should sell your kidney on the black market just to afford college tuition. What you can do is legally sell other things your body produces to make some extra cash.
One of the easiest options is to sell your blood plasma. The process is similar to giving blood but can take up to an hour to complete because of additional steps, like returning the processed blood to your body. For your efforts, you could be compensated up to $400 a month, according to major donation center CSL Plasma.
The only requirements are that you’re at least 18 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and pass a medical screening.
Other body part options include selling your sex cells. For men, this means donating sperm, which can earn you between $35 and $50 per donation. Sperm donors must be at least 18 years old, healthy, have no family history of genetic diseases, and cannot be adopted.
Women, on the other hand, can make thousands of dollars by donating their eggs, if you meet specific requirements and are willing to go through a more involved process. Over the course of about four weeks, you’ll go through a series of appointments to prepare your body for producing a lot of eggs. Once your eggs are retrieved in a medical procedure, you’ll require at least one day of downtime to recover. For your commitment, however, you can receive $10,000 in compensation.
But the payoff is not without risks. Some women experience mild side effects with the hormone treatments, such as “minor bruising at the injection site,” to rare but serious risks — including infection — according to Weill Cornell Medicine. Due to the invasive nature of this process, it’s important to understand what you’ll be putting your body through (and whether it’s personally the right decision for you), before moving forward.
2. Participate in a research study
If you’re not into the idea of giving up your plasma or cells as a way to figure out how to pay for college with no money, then consider participating in a study. Organizations across the country are looking for participants to test everything from new medical products to the effects on an astronaut’s body.
The National Institute for Health has a database, ClincalTrials.gov, where you can search for human clinical studies around the world. The compensation varies depending on the time commitment required.
For example, one Virginia college student reportedly made between $300 to $750 a session for participating in sleep and medical trials. A list of New York University research studies reveals you can make $5 for a 30-minute speech study or $40 for a 90-minute communications research project.
3. Set up a crowdfunding website
Wondering how to pay for college without your parents’ help? Ask strangers (or other friends and family) for donations. There are some crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe, ScholarMatch, and YouCaring that let you tell your story, explain your struggle, and ask generous people to donate money to your cause.
Boston University student Alexis-Brianna Felix was able to raise over $9,000 from 225 people to help her stay in school when she was struggling financially. The only time commitment is that you have to set up a fundraising page and then market it across your social media accounts.
Although it’s free cash without very little work, it’s important to note these websites charge various fees to set up a page and might take a portion of your donations. Make sure to read the fine print before deciding on which one to use.
4. Canvas for a political organization
The political climate is particularly hot right now, and more organizations are looking to have their voices heard. One of the great ways to pay for college is to become a canvasser, going door-to-door spreading the word for smaller interest groups, non-profits, or governmental candidates.
According to Glassdoor, you could make anywhere from $10 an hour to over $25,000 a year, depending on how much time you are willing to invest. Some organizations even offer benefits, and many have flexible hours so that you can fit it in between classes. If you are particularly passionate about a cause, this might not even feel like work for you.
To find gigs in your area, simply head to a job search website such as Indeed and look up “canvasser,” or research an organization you’re interested in and see if they have any canvassing opportunities available.
5. Buy liquor
This may be one of the most creatives ways to pay for college if you’re 21 or older. No, you’re not doing beer runs for frat parties. Instead, companies such as Sinclair and The Source hire people to buy booze at liquor stores to see if the cashier asks for an I.D.
After an incognito liquor run, you’ll fill out an evaluation of your experience and get paid. It’s that simple.
If booze isn’t your thing, these companies also offer other mystery shopper gigs. Opportunities include: Checking the quality of produce in a grocery store, ensuring customer service is top-notch, and making sure products are priced competitively.
All of these gigs pay differently depending on the company. Some are hourly, and others are per assignment, but according to Glassdoor, you can make about $15 to $20 an hour.
Depending on your flexibility and whether you’re willing to participate in some of these uncommon side income ideas, you could earn a significant amount of cash without having to ditch class.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.56% – 7.30%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.68% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.61% – 7.35%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|