College is tough enough. But trying to scrape
through when you don’t have enough money makes it twice as hard. So when get your financial
aid award letter, compare the award amount with your costs for that period. Don’t leave
anything out. If you’re short, you’ve got to figure out how to make up the deficit.
You can either: get more money, make more money, or spend less. Here are some ideas for how: Reduce expenses. That’s an obvious place to
start, and you can start by watching the video here called Budgeting. It is full of step-by-step
information on how to reduce spending by creating a budget. Then, you’ll want to commit to living
within that budget. Also, check out the video on money tips. It has a ton of great ideas
to save you money. Get a job. Maybe you didn’t think you’d have
to do this, but sometimes situations make it necessary. The key is to find something
you would like to do, and don’t overdo it. Ten to 15 hours a week may be enough. Sign up for the AmeriCorps program. You can
earn up to $4,275 for a year of full-time or part-time work providing valuable services
to the community. Learn more at www.americorps.gov. Sign up for the Reserve Officer Training Corps
(ROTC). The ROTC can provide you with generous education benefits and prepare you for military
service. Check out your school’s ROTC program to see if this would work for you. Find a job with employee education benefits.
You’d be surprised to find out how many employers offer tuition reimbursement to their employees.
Try exploring the Internet for free, commercial job search services and use “tuition benefits”
as one of your search criteria. File a financial aid appeal if your situation
has changed. Sometimes family and personal finances will dictate how much you qualify
for. Filing an appeal could make you eligible for an increase in your award. Apply for more scholarships. Contact your
financial aid office to see if there are additional awards you may be eligible for. Go online
and search for free scholarship databases. Talk to your parents. Have a conversation
with them about your situation. They may be able to provide you with more support, or
even get a loan to help you. Take out a private loan. Now, proceed with
caution if you go this route. Read all the fine print, and make sure you’re comfortable
with the terms, especially the interest rate, the length, and the consequences of default. If you don’t have enough money, the stress
of that can easily compete with the normal stress of attending college. Don t let it
take over your life. Consider ways you can spend less and earn and save more, so you
can focus on the important things—like studying.