8 Strategies to Pay for College Without Support From Your Parents

By Chika


Last Updated: January 27, 2022


Though it may seem impossible, if not herculean, to pay for college without the help of your parents, it is feasible if you put in the work.

Examining the tuition and financial aid available to you at the colleges and universities you are interested in attending might help you make education more affordable without the help of your parents before you even choose an institution.

Choosing the appropriate institution for you might go a long way toward lowering your educational costs.

Other options for making education more inexpensive include applying for scholarships and working while in school. Each student's financial situation is different, so you could discover that a combination of these ideas might help you pay for college.

Students who receive parental support could employ these tactics as well.


8 Strategies to Help Pay for College Without Parental Support

Finding the financial resources to pay for college can be difficult, and if you're going it alone, it can be stressful. These tactics and ideas could be able to assist you in creating a strategy to pay for education. Depending on your financial position, a combination of these suggestions may be required.


1. Choose the Right College

Finding the college that best suits your aspirations entails finding a balance between a school that offers courses you need to achieve your career goals and the ones you can afford.

Factors that would shape your decision-making process include proximity, living arrangement, career prospects in the state, etc. Since education is an investment, you have to tread a thin line between affordability and academic excellence.

You must not go out of your way to go to the most prestigious school, but also do not undermine the quality of education for financial reasons.


2. Live at Home

This is certainly the most cost-effective option if you can live near the college for free or at a modest cost.

Perhaps you have family members who, although not being able to aid you financially, will let you live with them while you finish your studies. Perhaps you might rent a cheap apartment near a community college or another institution where freshmen are not required to live in dorms.


3. Consider Public Colleges

In general, public colleges are less expensive than private colleges.

According to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees at four-year private universities was $38,070USD in the 2021-2022 school year, compared to $27,560USD for out-of-state students attending a state school.

In-state tuition and fees are much more affordable if you attend school in your home state; the average cost of in-state tuition and fees was $10,740USD.

In general, in-state universities are less expensive than out-of-state universities. However, the difference between out-of-state and in-state students can be significant, so confirm with your colleges of choice. Consider the expense of travel for out-of-state options, as well as online college programs.

However, the difference between out-of-state and in-state students can be significant, so confirm with your colleges of choice. Consider the expense of travel for out-of-state possibilities, as well as online college programs that allow you to take classes from anywhere.


4. Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships are a wonderful tool for helping you afford your college education because they are usually not reimbursed.

If you're going to graduate from high school, talk to your guidance counselor about your options. You can typically apply for local scholarships offered by businesses and civic organizations.

You may also locate a lot of scholarship options online these days. There are frequently major-specific possibilities as well as more general ones available. It's worth devoting some time to scholarship research and application – a couple of hours could be well spent once the scholarship offers start flooding in.

When looking for scholarships, make sure to look for high-quality options and avoid scammers. Don't be afraid to apply for minor scholarships.

While it would be ideal to receive a single major grant to cover your education expenses, smaller scholarships might pile up over time, gradually reducing the amount you need to pay for college. 


5. Obtain Grants 

Governments, nonprofit groups, corporations, and more offer grants.

And, like scholarships, this is money that you don't have to repay. The federal government is the largest source of college grant financing, with the Pell Grant being one of the most well-known.

However, obtaining federal grant financing without the assistance of your parents can be difficult. Because most federal awards require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be considered incomplete without parental information if you are a dependent student.

You'll need to contact your college's financial aid office and present acceptable paperwork if your parents are unable to complete their component of the FAFSA.


6. Apply for Student Loans

As mentioned, students that fund their college educations without assistance from their parents often need to craft a financial aid plan that consists of funding from multiple sources.

In certain circumstances, students may have found funding from both the federal government and private lenders.


7. Cut Costs While in College

When it comes to paying for college, smart planning and judicious spending can help you stay within your means.

If you can cut costs wherever you can, you may be able to save or put more money toward college tuition.

If you're renting a room in a house near your institution of choice, for example, you can decorate it in creative, eclectic ways with beautiful and economical purchases from thrift stores and garage sales. With plenty of instructions available online, you can even build your own loft bed and other furnishings if you're handy.

Food quickly becomes too pricey. If you're going to college, pick a meal plan that doesn't involve waste. Plan frugal meals in advance and shop in bulk if you live somewhere where you can cook your own food. Look for a slow cooker at rummage sales, and you'll be able to make a variety of excellent soups and other dishes.

Textbooks are another significant cost. Do your homework and look around to see if there are any used options available at a reduced price. If the book you're buying is directly linked to your academic major and you want to save it for future reference, it can be worthwhile to acquire it.

If it's a textbook for an elective subject, it might be cheaper to rent rather than buying.


8. Work While Attending School

Your FAFSA may also qualify you for federal work-study programs in addition to helping you apply for financial aid.

Finding part-time employment that isn't related to work-study is, of course, a possibility.

You'll need to figure out how many hours you can work per week while still doing well in school. You'll also need to find a job that will allow you to maintain your work-school balance. It's critical, for example, to pick a company that allows for scheduling flexibility for midterms and final exams.


The Final Word

Students who intend to pay for college without the assistance of their parents should begin by selecting an affordable college, applying for scholarships, working part-time, and applying for federal student aid.

Applying for federal aid as a dependent student might be difficult without your parents' help, because the FAFSA may be judged incomplete without their information.

However, be wary that a loan will be a hindrance to financial independence in the long term if mismanaged. The rise in student loans has forced many people to postpone the achievement of life milestones. 

The key is planning early on how you intend to achieve this goal and working towards it judiciously.

It may be a challenging process, but the learning points from this would be invaluable. Not to mention the respect you would get from your parents if you can pull it off. 

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash


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