You’ve probably heard your parents and teachers say that college is expensive. They’re not kidding. A single year at a public university costs nearly $10,000, on average. If you choose a private school, your bill could be much higher.
With the high cost of an education, your parents might not be able to afford to help you pay for it. You might have to pay for some or all of it on your own. In a survey, the College Savings Foundation found that 71% of parents expect their children to contribute to college expenses.
Being expected to foot the bill can be overwhelming and scary, but it’s doable. Here are seven things you can do while in high school to pay for college.
1. Boost your grades
Many colleges and universities offer merit scholarships for academics. If you have good grades or above average scores on standardized tests, you could qualify for a scholarship that covers some or all of your tuition, fees, and school supplies.
You can increase your chances of securing a scholarship by working hard to boost your grades. Putting in the extra time to study for a biology exam might sound boring, but it could help you save thousands later on.
2. Participate in extracurriculars
When awarding scholarships, many schools look beyond grades. They like to find students who would be beneficial to the campus and will be active in the school community. If you can keep up your grades, it can be helpful to sign up for a few extracurricular activities, such as student council, sports, or the school newspaper.
3. Apply for a part-time job
The jobs you can get while in high school might not be glamorous, but they can go a long way in helping you pay for school. By taking on a part-time job, you could save thousands for your education.
Let’s say you got a job at the mall and work 10 hours a week making $7.25 per hour, the national minimum wage. If you’re a high school sophomore and work year-round for three years, you could save up to $11,310 by the time you start college. That amount doesn’t account for taxes. But even saving up a few thousand dollars can reduce how much you need to borrow for school.
4. Research scholarships and grants
Although your college might offer scholarships and grants, it’s not the only available source of financial aid. You can win scholarships from a wide range of organizations, including private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and even individuals.
Some award scholarships are based on academics, but there are plenty of other reasons you could earn a scholarship. For example, there are scholarships for talented duck-callers and bowlers.
You don’t have to be in college or even be a high school senior to qualify. There are scholarships available to high schoolers of all ages. Use these nine scholarship search tools to get started.
5. Sell stuff you don’t use
Another way to save for college is to sell stuff you don’t use anymore. If you have books, clothes, old cell phones, or electronics lying around, you could turn that clutter into cash. Sell those items and set aside your earnings for your college fund.
Check out these tips to help you sell stuff online.
6. Take Advanced Placement (AP) courses
According to the College Board, taking AP courses now can help you graduate from college on time and reduce your education expenses.
When you earn a qualifying score on an AP exam, you earn college credit for the class. That can save you from having to take some classes in college, potentially helping you graduate early or fulfill requirements ahead of time.
Depending on the AP courses you take and where you go to college, challenging yourself in high school could help you save thousands.
7. Open a bank account
One of the best ways to prepare for college financially is to open a dedicated bank account in your own name. In fact, you can even earn money for doing so. Some banks offer cash bonuses for opening new accounts, giving you a head start on saving for college.
Once you open a bank account, you can direct a percentage of your earnings from your part-time job and any gifts to a college savings fund.
Planning for college
Figuring out how to pay for college can be overwhelming. But by taking action while in high school, you can reduce your college expenses and save money.
If you followed the above tips and still need help paying for school, be sure to research federal and private student loan options.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 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.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 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) or Turnstile Capital Management, LLC (TCM), which are not affiliated entities. Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. 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. All loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Other terms and conditions apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of 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.
* 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 PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 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. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 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.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.69% – 10.94%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CollegeAve|
|3.97% – 12.97%3||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Ascent|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Discover|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SallieMae|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit PNC|
|4.00% – 13.00%6||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SunTrust|
|4.72% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit LendKey|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CommonBond|
|4.19% – 12.06%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit Citizens|