College Expenses

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

College is Expensive So Cut Costs and Save More

College Expenses

(Photo Credit: Original People)

Nearly 20 million Americans attend college each year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Of that number, 60% borrow money to cover the costs.  Footing the bill for a higher education can be daunting, and the last thing you need to be worrying about while blazing your career path is how to fund the next four years.  This piece offers some fairly painless ways you can cut costs and earn extra money while remaining on top of your already overflowing to-do list.

Start a Business

Starting your own business can help you manage costs while you’re in school and if done well, could even become your full-time career.  A funding site like Kickstarter can help generate interest and funding for your product without having to go door to door peddling your wares.  To date, the site has helped fund 55,000 creative projects with $950 million in pledges.  Therefore, depending on your craft, you can obtain substantial support to finance your venture while keeping ownership over your creativity.

You can also secure funding for your business through other means.  Look for assets you can liquidate. For example, if you receive regular structured settlement payments, you may be able to sell your future payments for a lump sum of cash now.  You could then use the money to build capital toward your enterprise.  You can learn more about selling your future payments at J.G. Wentworth’s Facebook page.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

CNN reported in June of 2013 that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, but financial analysts recommend everyone build a six-month cushion of savings.  A budget will aid you in saving for your future.

Start by calculating all your expenditures for a month.  Once you’re aware of what you spend, you can resolve where you can cut costs.  For example, instead of indulging in eating dinner at restaurants every Friday, consider having more candlelight dinners at home with tasty appetizers.  Use a budgeting app like Mint.com to help you track your spending.

Cut Costs

  • Instead of purchasing brand new textbooks, take advantage of used bookstores and e-books. Sell your books once the semester is finished.

  • For transportation, carpool, take the bus or subway or check out whether Zipcar services are available in your area.  Check if the Student Services office offers students who commute any options to reduce their gas bill.

  • Food costs can be tackled by thinking ahead.  Clip coupons, make shopping lists and stick to them—this way you won’t impulsively buy food you don’t need when you get to the store and blow your budget.  Thinking ahead will also help when you are deep in the throes of a cramming session the night before an exam and hunger rears its ugly head.  Instead of ordering takeout, you can rely on your well-stocked refrigerator for a perfect snack.

Begin to transform your spending habits to save money and become the fiscally conscious citizen you aspire to be.  In time, you will be able to spend more extravagantly, knowing you have a thriving savings to see you through the tougher times.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison