Unusual Ways to Help Pay for College
With rising tuition costs, many families grow concerned with how to finance a postsecondary education. In addition to the traditional advice of working during school and applying for grants and scholarships, there are other paths less traveled for students to consider. Check out some of these more unusual ways available for paying for school to see if any may be right for you.
Consider a Tuition-Free College. There are in fact schools out there that don’t charge tuition. Instead, students must work 10-15 hours a week on campus in jobs that are typically related to their majors. Example of tuition-free colleges include The Cooper Union in New York, N.Y.; Webb Institute in Glen Cove, N.Y.; Berea College in Berea, Ky.; College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.; and Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky.
Spend Time in Service or Volunteering. There are many organizations that will offer educational awards or tuition assistance in exchange for service, along with payment or a living stipend during service. Some such organization include: Americorps, Peace Corps, National Health Services Corps and ROTC programs. Some colleges and universities offer additional scholarships to Americorps alums. In Iowa, Central College, Saint Ambrose University, Simpson College and Wartburg College offer partial matches to the education awards earned by Americorps alumni.
Utilize Counselors and Other Experts. Consult local experts and your high school counselors. They may know of local programs specific to your interests, talents or backgrounds that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Also, their advice is free!
Tax Benefits. Tax credits and deductions are available to eligible tax payers who have paid eligible higher education-related expenses during the tax year. The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit reduce the amount of income tax owed while the tuitions and fees deduction reduces the amount of a taxpayer’s taxable income. Consult your tax advisor to determine eligibility.
Research all your options while searching for ways to pay for college and make sure to not overlook conventional methods as well!