Working Student? We’ve got Your Back!

Lexa Pennington's picture

Many consider a college education as an investment that they are willing to do whatever it takes just to finish it...even though they are financially challenged. That is why in order to afford the cost of living a college student needs, some students work on the side to earn money. But because they are studying, they cannot work full time, and their earnings and benefits are lower than regular workers. Likewise, they cannot study full time, which poses a risk of flunking their subjects, because they are working. There are many resources online to learn about this.  If you are aiming to finish college and, like most of us, cannot pay for it outright, this article about paying for college is intended for you. Here's how to fund your college education:

Apply for Scholarship and Grants

The most enjoyable college education experience is when it is free or at least you do not need to pay much. This happens when you are fortunate enough to find scholarships. There are a many private organizations and state-sponsored entities that offer scholarships. To access these, a student must apply, comply with the requirements, and perhaps pass qualifying exams. If admitted, you can enjoy all the privileges that accompany such a scholarship, including tuition, miscellaneous, board and lodging, and even the day-to-day transactions. But not all scholarships offer the same privileges...some are one time funding opportunities, while others are annual and need to be renewed. Check Fastweb for appropriate scholarship opportunities. Nevertheless, being qualified for any scholarship is like winning a lottery prize that ensures your college education. But you need to study hard, because these scholarship offers require that you maintain a certain grade point average in the course of your study. If you fail, according to their criteria, you lose the scholarship. However, if you lose the scholarship, you can still study... but at your own expense. 

Aside from scholarships, there are organizations that offer grants. Grants are funding awarded to students with valuable research proposals that may offer new knowledge to the scientific community and may benefit the society at large. You can apply for them in preparation for your college application. 

Apply for Work-Study Job

If you are hard working and you are willing to do anything, as long as it is legal, then you can work. Working while studying is a wonderful experience, because you get a taste of both worlds: academia and 'real life'. This combination provides you with the opportunity to apply what you learn in school to your job and use also your work experience in studying. There you can bridge the gap between theories and applications. In other words, your learning is well-rounded.

However, the downside of work and study combination is when your work does not fit in your free schedule or vice versa. In addition, there is a tendency that when students start earning money, they begin to lose interest in studying and stop. Moreover, it is easy to get overwhelmed with work and find it difficult to catch up with their studies. Unfortunately, can cause a lot of stress, leading to damaged physical and mental health.

Student Loans

There is always the possibility for student loans. These are federally-sponsored loans which are offered to students depending on their situation. First, there is a direct subsidized loan which is for students who are pre-qualified due to their financial status. The interest on their loan will only be imposed when they have the capacity to pay. Second is the unsubsidized loan, which is for all students, regardless of their financial capacity. The interest of this loan is already imposed, but people can start paying it when they are ready. Then, there is a PLUS one, which is for parents who take out loans for their children. Unfortunately, since these are loans, once imposed, if you are unable to pay, it can hurt your credit score a lot. To overcome these barriers, you as a student must be able to save and spend less on unnecessary things. It's good practice for the rest of your life!

There are many ways to pay for college. You just need to be resourceful enough to be able to do so, whether it is researching scholarships and grants, maintaining your grade point average, or working while in college. But the most important thing to remember is that your own personal development, through education, whether formal or informal, is your key to success.