Saving money for college is about balance. You want to make sure that you have enough to get through classes comfortably, and have some spending money, too. It’s not always easy balancing tuition with lifestyle, especially when starting the college admissions process.
Learning how to budget and save money is a massive part of the college experience, though. Not to mention, it will be a valuable skill for you moving forward. This article will walk you through the best ways to get college funding and start saving for the lifestyle you want.
College funding options
The biggest expense you’ll have when saving for college is tuition. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you’ve exhausted every college funding option before you call it a day. Most schools offer financial aid, but it’s also worth exploring other sources to help you when saving for college. There are a surprising number of organizations offering funding for student tuition, so make the most of it!
The first step in seeking college funding is to start with your college financial aid options. Whether you plan to attend a public or private college, filling out the FAFSA is crucial, as schools use that to determine financial aid packages. For private schools, you may have to fill out a CSS Profile. Either way, you should also reach out to relevant departments for your major, they may have exclusive bursaries and scholarships that aren’t available to the wider student body.
If you receive a more competitive financial aid package from another school, notify other colleges you’re accepted to see if they can match. If you’re not sure where to start with the college admissions process and navigating financial assistance, don’t worry – Empowerly offers services to help you every step of the way during the admissions and financial aid process.
Grants and scholarships
Grants and scholarships are slightly more confusing to navigate because each requires a separate application. But, they are are one of the best ways to save for college, because both grants and scholarships offer free money you can use for college. Some may have more in-depth application requirements, but don’t let that deter you from applying!
Your school and department should be the first stop to investigate, but don’t forget to check other sources. Local charities, organizations, and other bodies or brands may offer grants and scholarships. The eligibility re quirements depend on your major, college, and academic performance. As a final tip, check alumni associations for schools you’re interested in to see if they know of any grants or scholarships you can apply for.
Saving money for college
Even if you get tuition funding, you’ll still need some money for living expenses in college. There are a few ways you can save money for the fateful day you set out on your own:
Summer jobs and internships
If you’re unsure how to budget and save money, start with getting a summer job or paid internship while in high school. Doing so helps you gain valuable experience while also helping put money aside from college.
A summer job or internship can also add a lot to your college application. You can see how you measure against other students applying to the same colleges based on extracurriculars like summer jobs and achievements by taking the Empowerly Quiz to get your Empowerly Score® and improve your college application.
Using (and sticking) to a budgeting app
Once you have some college funding saved up, think about establishing a budget and using a budgeting app to track it. You can also create a spreadsheet on your computer, or a paper folder for now; whatever helps you most.
While your budget may change depending on your lifestyle and college, having a figure in mind makes it easier to save up. And once you start classes, you can track your budget and see how to improve based on your experience.
College campus jobs
Another way to earn money during the semester is to get a part-time job on your college campus once you arrive. It’s one of the best ways to save as a student without incurring debt. A part-time job on campus gives you a chance to explore hobbies and interests and gain work experience alongside. Some college jobs are connected to federal grant programs like Work-Study and may be part of your financial aid package.
If you’d like to learn more about education, the college admissions process, and how to save money for college, Empowerly hosts a wide range of events to help you throughout the process.s We partner with local businesses, schools, and the wider community to make resources accessible for students and parents.
Saving money for college isn’t always easy, but think of it as the right step for future you. Having a bit of money stashed away makes the college experience exponentially less stressful and ensures that you can focus on academics. If you’re interested in learning more about college options and what might be the right path for you, schedule a free consultation today with our Enrollment Specialists to learn more!