3 Tips to Afford College in the 21st Century

Affording College

(Photo Credit: Iowa Lakes Community College)

It’s expensive to attend college in the 21st century.  The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public university was $8,893 for the 2013-14 academic year, according to the College Board. Average private school tuition was $30,094, while out-of-state tuition at public schools averaged just over $22,000.  None of these figures include room and board.  Unless you’re a great athlete, a 4.0 student with a near-perfect SAT or ACT score or independently wealthy, you’re going to need to find funding sources beyond Pell grants.  In this piece, you’re offered ways to help you to afford college that you may not have considered.

Participate in Medical Studies

Research for new drugs, psychological treatments and other medical procedures are mostly performed on university campuses.  University of Nebraska journalism student Elias Youngquist told Al Jazeera America he needs money for college expenses and to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring.  He discovered that Celerion, a clinical research firm in Lincoln, Nebraska was in Phase 1 testing of a new anti-depressant and needed human subjects for the trials.

Youngquist spent a few hours at the company’s laboratories for two weekends, despite being warned of side effects ranging from psychosis to suicide.  He ended up earning more than $1,000 for a few hours of time and a little discomfort.  Tommy Dornish, another University of Nebraska student, said he’s earned $20,000 in four years being a guinea pig for Celerion.

Check with your university hospital for upcoming paid research trials on campus.  You can also inquire with the psychology, chemistry and biology departments.  Just Another Lab Rat and ClinicalTrials.gov can help you find paid trials in your area.

Become an Egg or Sperm Donor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12% of married couples have fertility issues in one form or another.  Groups such as Single Mothers By Choice advocate passionately for sperm and eggs from donors.

Sperm donors can earn as much as $1,000 per month by simply donating three times per week at places like Northwest Cryobank in Spokane, Washington and Missoula, Montana.  Generally, the only requirements are that you’re STD-free, above a certain height (generally 5’10 or above) and drug-free.

Due to the fact a vast majority of recipients are white couples, most donors must also be white.  The largest sperm bank in the world, Cryos International, is even more picky.  It stopped accepting sperm from redheads in 2011, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Egg donors can earn significantly more.  The Center For Human Reproduction in New York has a total compensation package of $8,000.  The process takes about one month and can produce anywhere from five to 35 total eggs.

Bootstrapping

This term, bootstrapping, is generally applied to entrepreneurs exhausting every avenue to come up with startup capital for their new business.  College is a de-facto business investment, and students can use many of the same methods entrepreneurs do.

Use websites like Scholarships.com and Fast Web to search for demographic and major-specific scholarships you may qualify for.  Students who inherited annuities from their grandparents may be able to sell their future payments to J.G. Wentworth or a similar company.  You can even create a campaign on crowdfunding sites like Campus Slice and see what happens.

College is getting more expensive with each passing year.  By thinking creatively, you can experience greater success in reaching your financial goals.  This will require you to think beyond the traditional funding sources, however.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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