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5 Ways to Pay Off Your College Tuition and Save Money

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Written by CB Community

Are you heading off to college soon? College is a separate world from high school, and you have a lot of things to prepare before you enter the school campus. When you get there, you’ll see that it won’t be a comfortable life for everybody.

Out of the estimated 19.9 million students attending college in autumn this year, not everybody can afford the bills. For those who can afford it, paying off tuition isn’t a problem. But how about those students who don’t have enough money for college?

Out of 1,000 Americans, 62% think that students in college can’t afford public education. The question now is, how can students afford to pay their way through graduation? Fortunately, there are several ways to survive in college, financially speaking. Learn more about how you, as a college student, can pay off your tuition and other fees.

1. Request financial assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Before you apply for FAFSA, make sure that you have real financial needs and you’re not just trying to save up on money. You also have to be a US Citizen, have a Social Security number, and registered with Selective Service (for male applicants).

You should be a student, or else an applicant with an accepted application to any degree or certificate program. You must be able to keep an excellent record when it comes to grades and behavior while you’re studying. You also have to submit and sign the certification statement. This certification states that you don’t have other federal loans and you have the loan for educational purposes only.

When it comes to federal aid, there are three types available. You can avail of a grant or money that you don’t have to pay back. You can also get a loan which is an amount of money that you have to pay back. There’s also work-study, which means that you work while you study to help you earn cash for tuition.

2. Get a personal loan

If you’re confident that you can afford to pay off a personal loan after your studies, then you can go with this option. It sounds easy enough, but understanding personal debt takes time and research so you should be aware of your options and choose which one is best for you.

It’s usual for students to avail of student loans. However, make sure to borrow enough for your needs per semester and don’t exceed your budget limit. Set an amount that you’ll spend on things like tuition, books, school things, and rent. Limit your social activities, so you won’t end up spending money on unnecessary things.

3. Get your education online

While it’s nice to experience the traditional university life, it’s not a bad option to try online school. Taking online classes can help you learn in a comfortable way because it’s more convenient than the usual courses. Online courses also cost less than the general fees that you have to pay for universities.

Some universities which offer online degree courses are:

  • The George Washington University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Texas A & M University-College Station
  • The University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  • The University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign

If you’re looking for schools that cost less in terms of tuition, here are some of them.

  • California Coast University
  • Columbia Southern University
  • Iowa Central Community College
  • Park University
  • Southern New Hampshire University Online
  • Waldorf University
  • Western Governors University

4. Choose where to live

When it comes to money, you’ll save a lot if you don’t pay much for rent. You can live in the dorm within the campus if you want. Some people will find this more convenient because your fees will cover for a lot of things, maybe even including the internet fees.

Think of the extra costs aside from the rent if you choose an apartment outside the university. You have to commute daily and plan your meals. Dorm fees might include food plans, so ask ahead if you’re planning to stay on campus.

It’s up to you whether you’re more comfortable living on-campus or off-campus. However, choose the option where you’ll spend less money, so you don’t end up spending a lot, mainly if you’re using money from a student loan. You have to pay that in the future, so be wise financially.

5. Work your way through college

It’ll be hard studying and working at the same time, but you have to make do if you want to achieve a college degree. It’s up to you if you’re going to work during the summer and study full-time during the semester or have a part-time job during school days. All it takes is time management and being responsible for both aspects of your life.

If there are jobs around you that suit your interests or in line with your studies, try applying for those jobs first. However, don’t limit yourself to those jobs. You can try a lot of other tasks which don’t require a lot of time or effort from you. You need to be persistent in looking for jobs. Just don’t overload your schedule.

Manage your time wisely and set a plan for jobs and your studies. Don’t sacrifice one for the other. Find a balance in your priorities, so you can still have fun while studying at the university.


College won’t be easy, and neither is paying off your tuition fees. Whether you are looking for big ways to save money like decisions on rent, or just smaller decisions like cutting back on things like Netflix to save money with your television, there are various ways to help you save money while you’re studying.

You can get financial aid from a lot of sources, get a loan, or work while you study. You can even try online courses. You can survive college if you’re creative enough to look for solutions to your problems and always maintain a positive attitude throughout your journey.

For more great college advice, check out the other blog topics on College Basics!

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.