There is no one way to pay the big price tag of a college education. And there's nothing wrong with the piecemeal approach. In fact, of the 14 current college and graduate school students that ValuePenguin polled, many are combining multiple avenues of funding: loans, grants, scholarships, part-time work and good old-fashioned help from parents. Read on to learn more about specific strategies that may come in handy for you.
1. University of North Carolina at Charlotte Architecture - Noushin Radnia
"I have my parent’s financial support. I also have a partial assistantship from school that helps as well. I would say the school is the best resource. Because financial aid might vary by major, gender and sometimes race."
2. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Information Technology - Sam Goerke
"I started saving for college when I got my first job at 11 years old. I have always had at least one job from when I started working until now. Unlike many of my high school peers, I saved most of my money because I had a goal of being able to finance college. My personal savings partnered with both local scholarships and a UW-Milwaukee Academic Leadership Scholarship combined to make my goal of financing college a reality.
"As far as online tools… There is no magic website that will give you scholarship money for clicking a button. If you are serious about it, spend the time doing the research. For each college you are applying to, check out their financial aid website. Do they offer scholarships? Does the department you are applying to have any? What are the due dates? Do I need special documents or letters for the applications? These questions take time. There is absolutely money available, but no one is going to get it for you. You have to put in the time and you have to put in the effort."
3. University of Utah Communication - Francisco Samienga
"Without grants or scholarships, I would not have been able to afford school. University resources were extremely helpful to identify necessary grant resources."
4. Huston-Tillotson University Biology - Aeris Broussard
"I am part of the W.E.B Du Bois Honors program at Huston-Tillotson University which rewards me full tuition for four years. Since I live on campus, I managed to pay this amount through different scholarships and jobs. I was a residence assistant for one year, for which I received free room and board. This past year, I was Miss United Negro College Fund which rewarded me free room and board during my reign. Then I received an $18,000 scholarship for the course of two years from the Hatton Sumners Foundation. I am also a recipient of an $8,000 scholarship that was rewarded over the course of four years from Texas Rodeo Austin Foundation. Huston-Tillotson University is an HBCU is which has access to UNCF scholarships."
5. University of Arizona Architecture - Caitlin Kessler
"A college education is expensive no matter what. To help alleviate these expenses, I apply for many scholarships each year, using Scholarship Universe as the main resource. I also work multiple jobs through the year, saving money to help afford materials and living. The jobs I work are either campus jobs (they understand the schedules of students) or summer internships. It’s all about balance, but school always comes first."
6. Tuskegee University Architecture - Allison Merritt
"I was very fortunate to have most of my education financed by a scholarship from Tuskegee. To cover the remaining amount, I have used loans. I am not familiar with any specific online resources, but I would recommend talking to the financial aid office at your college. They would be able to tell you about how to find scholarships, or even help you to see if you qualify for any scholarships from your school."
7. University of Oregon Architecture - Andrew Loia
"I’m financing my education with student loans and a small scholarship. Through my research position at the school I was also able to reduce my tuition and offset some daily living expenses. It may be to my detriment, but at the moment I’m not taking advantage of any online financial tools outside of my banking and student loan websites."
8. Mount Ida College Dental Hygiene - Nicole Cantello
"On top of federal loans, I also had to take out private loans. For anyone in Massachusetts, I would highly recommend looing into MEFA loans. They provide a very low fixed interest rate that is very comparable to federal lones."
9. University of Minnesota Crookston Business Management - Delaney Kohorst
"I am financing my education through financial aid and whatever funds I can generate through working during the summer. Last school year, I was an RA on campus which helped immensely with the cost of school. I was fortunate enough to receive academic scholarships as well through UMC. My advice would be to apply for as many scholarships as possible both locally and nationally."
10. Purdue University Communications - Paige Pope
"I am financing my education with loans and scholarships. Scholarships have proven to be an extremely effective and shockingly little used resource for me as a college student. Most students apply to scholarships their senior year of high school and maybe freshman year of college, but then sort of forget about them. The Brian Lamb School of Communication, College of Liberal Arts, and Purdue University all offer many different scholarships and the pool of candidates is generally pretty small. It just takes a little extra work for major financial payoff that I am so grateful for."
11. Washington State University Communications - Kyla Emme
"I’ve paid for school with a mixture of the Post-911 G.I. Bill, scholarship, a college fund and personal income. The VA Department here at WSU was very helpful and quick to respond to any questions I had concerning my benefits earned through my parent’s service in the military. The Murrow College was the same in that they were continuously in contact with me in order to ensure that my scholarship was received and I understood how to maintain it. My go-to resource for any financial questions is (surprise surprise) the WSU Financial Services; they are willing to answer questions and assist you as much as they can."
12. University of Kentucky Civil Engineering - Macy Purcell
"I was awarded a full tuition scholarship based on my high school GPA, my ACT scores, and participation in Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program. I also had several other lesser scholarships, some from the College of Engineering, some from other organizations. In graduate school, I am a Teaching Assistant and a Research Assistant, so that pays for my tuition. My summer internships have also helped fund my education."
13. University of Michigan Business - Ovijit Datta
"My father invested in the Michigan Education Trust, a prepaid tuition program that would cover my in-state undergraduate tuition regardless of any tuition increases. Honestly, it’s best to just Google search scholarships that fit your strengths and qualifications; for instance, I spent lots of time searching for music scholarships to take advantage of my guitar skills."
14. Wesleyan College Biology - Sunada Khadka
"At Wesleyan, I was a Munroe Scholar so my tuition was fully covered. I was able to finance my living and any other cost associated to my education through on campus jobs as a tutor, teaching assistant, resident adviser and a library assistant."