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Ways to pay for college

Paying for college may seem like a big task, especially when you’re just getting started. Federal aid may cover the bulk of your college costs, but what about the leftover expenses? Here are some ways to help you pay for college that will reward you with life experiences, too.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This one may seem obvious, but last year, more than $2.9 billion of free federal aid was left unclaimed by high school students, simply because they didn’t fill out a FAFSA form. The FAFSA is the first step in getting financial aid for college.

Apply for scholarships

You can search for scholarships online through Tuition Funding Sources or by checking with your school or local businesses and organizations. You’d be surprised at the spectrum of scholarships available.

Turn your AP score into college credit

You probably know that great AP (Advanced Placement) scores can translate into credit for equivalent college courses, but they can also increase your scholarship eligibility. More than 30% of colleges and universities consider AP experience when deciding scholarship recipients, so your AP exams can be just as important as your SAT or ACT tests. You can search your college’s policy here.

Get a work-study job

If you checked the box on your FAFSA that says you’re interested in the federal work-study program, then your award letter will include the amount of money you are allowed to earn on the job. Federally approved work-study jobs will emphasize civic education and may even be related to your course of study.

Work in a dorm

Living in a dormitory is a great way to meet other students and adjust to college life. Most colleges offer some form of compensation—be it free or reduced housing, a stipend, meal plans, or tuition remission—for working in a dormitory as a resident assistant. It’s a 24-hour job, but you’ll gain valuable relationships and skills as you learn and grow with your residents. Check with potential colleges and universities for what they may offer.

Dana Fulton
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Dana Fulton

Social Media Content Manager at Wells Fargo
Creative professional with years of sales and marketing experience, specializing in segment-specific strategy and customer-centric communications. Skills include problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and clarifying the complex.
Dana Fulton
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