How To Pay For College Tuition: Your College Dreams Realized Easily

notebook pens calculator tools needed to figure out how to pay for college tuition

How To Pay For College Tuition Quickly & Easily

So you have your grades nailed and accepted by some great schools.  There is only one problem, how to pay for college tuition?

With the average graduate student having $58,000 in student debt after acquiring their master’s degree, paying for college without going broke is becoming a national economic issue.

college students gathering outside a university library

As 1 in 4 college graduates owe over $100,000 in loans, we need to deal with this trillion dollar economic crisis. To avoid becoming part of these statistics, you need to know how to pay for college tuition.

Paying for college isn’t as easy as it used to be. In the 1970s, you could actually pay for college with a summer job, working about 7 weeks at minimum wage. In modern figures, you’d have to work for about 30 weeks straight to pay for a year at college.

Thankfully, there are a few tips to help you figure out how to pay for college tuition. Follow these 7 tips to lighten your tuition load.

1. Keep Your Borrowing Down

When you’re young, it can be easy to think of every extra dollar you take out in a loan as being a bonus to spend liberally. However, unlike the money that you earn, each dollar could cost you $1.20 to $1.50. That means you should keep your borrowing down to a minimum.


Watch This Short Video That Explains The Different Ways To Fund College Tuition


You know that you’ll have to pay for books, supplies, transportation, and food. Don’t use your loan money for this if you can help it. Focus your loan spending on only covering your basic tuition costs. That way, if you can focus on paying the principal down, you won’t have to regret buying a bagel or taking a cab 5 years after completing school.

2. Live Minimally

While it’s stressful, if you can adjust to living on a tighter budget, you can avoid extreme debt later. If you’re truly ready for college, you’re truly ready to focus on your studies and what really matters.

One of the biggest problems with having young people go directly from high school to college is that they haven’t lived on their own. If this is your first time living alone, you could be wasting money. Eating out, taking cabs, and not knowing how to get a good deal could impact your budget.

Many students shop at thrift stores not only because you can get cool things for a cheap price, but also because it’s practical. If you’re going to be living in a dorm or shared apartment for a year, there’s no need to spend $50 on a toaster. A $5 one from a thrift store could be just as good.

pile of pennies

Every time you need something that you don’t think you’ll be able to take with you at the end of the semester, find another option.

Your living situation is important to consider as well. Living in a shared apartment with other students is cheaper than living in a dorm where many services are provided for students. If you’re able to clean your own kitchen, change your own lightbulbs, and walk a couple of blocks to the laundromat, you should consider shared living.

3. Side Hustles Are Huge

Many writers and commentators have talked about the seeming obsession that millennials have with side hustles. Having ways to earn extra income provide a backup plan for the instability of post-graduate life or even summers off from school. Some commentators say that people do it because of an innate adventurousness of millennials.

Others look at the current state of the economy, with the gig economy growing an unstable job market. Some economists note that for many millennials, even those with a college degree, a side hustle is the only option they have.

Side hustles can be one of the ways to help you manage how to pay for college tuition.

sign reading were hiring held up in front of college students

Regardless of whether you’re getting a medical degree or a performing arts degree, having something to do on the side can make paying for college easier. If you have a talent for editing papers, you could offer your services to other students. If you know how to do basic computer repair, you could be the go-to person for solving their problems.

With gig economy jobs like dog walking and picking up restaurant shifts, you can work when you have the time without having to disrupt school. Working as a childcare provider or nanny is another option that’s great for people taking night classes.

4. Pay Interest As You Go

While you might not be able to make a dent in your principal, you should consider keeping your interest low while you study.

From the day you get your private loans, you’ll probably incur some interest on them. While federal loans won’t charge you from day one, get to know whether or not yours do. If that interest adds to a principal, you’ll pay interest on interest. Over time, your loan payments will balloon simply because of the cost of interest.

stacked coins with clock in background

Some companies don’t give you the option to pay off your interest, but many do. Call and see if you can send in payments specifically identified to keep interest down. That way you won’t be playing catchup from the time you start school until you get your dream job.

5. Supplement Credits With Community College

Not all coursework is created equal. For many degrees, the initial work that you have to do in your first year or two entails many general studies courses. Those courses will make much more sense at a local community college

If you want to understand how to pay for college tuition, you have to understand the charges. Often, you’re charged per credit hour. If your credit hours cost $1,500 at your university while running about $300 at a community college, you should consider the cheaper option.

This often takes coordinating with the administration, but it’s well worth the savings.

Carefully Planning Teaches You How To Pay For College Tuition

You’ve got a lot of talent and intelligence that’s brought you this far. If you’ve been admitted to the college of your dreams, you don’t need financial issues hampering your options after graduation. Make some smart decisions now to keep out of the poor house after graduation.

If you’ve finished college with debt, check out our guide for all the options you have for debt relief assistance.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for the awareness on the college tuition issues. It seems that most students are severely in debt and think it’s the only way to get an college education.

    This is the exact problem with today’s education system, thinking it’s okay to charge students huge amounts of money for a college degree, when in the end they will not be working in their chosen field and also deeply in debt.

    I Definitely agree that a side hustle is one positive route to take.

    • Hi Cem,

      Your comments ring true.  But if a would be student is committed to a college education and doesn’t have the financial resources, then student loan debt has to be in the mix.

      However, there are ways to keep the price tag down so one can pay for college tuition and not mortgage their future.

      Look for cheaper state sponsored schools and apply for scholarship grants whereever you can.  Consider starting out in a community college that will transfer your credits to the next level. 

      Also, learn to live minimally and find a part time job or side hustle to help pay for books and other incidentals.  If there is extra left over, pay some towards your student loans.  It will be easier to handle the lower debt when you graduate.

      All the best,

      Patrick

  2. This is excellent advice for any would be student who is struggling to find the money to pay for college tuition.

    I like the fact that you included a side hustle as a backup plan, just in case the main graduate job doesn’t work out.

    I wish I did that earlier instead of wasting my time on things that did not contribute to my financial independence after graduation.

    Thanks for an amazing article.

    Do you know a book that you could recommended that’s related to money/debt?

    • Hi Frasier,

      Happy to hear you got something from the article.

      Many people jump in to the endeavor without ever thinking through the impact of what it will take to pay for college tuition.

      Many students just take out college loans and worry about the impact after graduation.  Bad strategy!

      In today’s highly competitive world a student should thoroughly consider their career options before committing large sums of money to the effort.

       A degree program that doesn’t translate to the real world is a waste of money and will be a considerable burden after graduation.

      Definitely have a side hustle while in school and use the extra cash to pay down any student loan debt.  It makes it much easier after you graduate.

      Best of luck.

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