The biggest downside about higher education is the fact that the whole institution is a con artist, finesser, and hustler. We enroll in classes and become this “broke college student”, and graduate to become a broke adult with debt. Financing college is one of the primary issues that students struggle with. I have witnessed students enroll for a couple semesters and drop out because they are unable to pay off their bill. With that said, I want to suggest a couple of finesse methods that will get you through college with none to little debt if done right.
There are 5 solid finesse methods that I have noticed that will lift the financial burden from your shoulders. All of these methods require for you to put in some form of extra work in order for them to be successful. Having that said, if you are not willing to work a little to get what you need then good luck working harder to pay off your tuition for 15 years.
As cliché as this sounds, striving for a 4.0 GPA should be the goal regardless of how high of a goal that may seem. The higher you strive the better place you will fall into if you don’t accomplish the ideal goal. With that said, without the appropriate grades you can throw a majority of these finessing methods out the window, to be honest. Getting good grades isn’t just for a pat on the back and a “good job”. Getting good grades will undoubtedly open the doors to so many opportunities for scholarships, jobs, internships, etc. I know in many cases at my school, if you have a nice looking GPA(3.0 or better) but you are in a financial hole, the bursar office may magically give you money they say that they ” don’t have”. No Joke. Rule of thumb, Grades come first.
Whether it is an athletic, academic, creative, or scholarship for minorities. Money is money. Let me rephrase that, Free money is Free money. Scholarships are the ultimate source of financially finessing through college. There are scholarships for basically any and everything like left-handed Ukrainian women whose parents are NYU Alumni. There are scholarships everywhere, you just have to look, and not be lazy. Your college website should have a scholarship database that will show all of the scholarships available. In addition, ask faculty within your academic major building, not only will they be specified for your major but you have immediate references. PLEASE DON’T TWEAK, and have the idea of just because it is a measly $200 scholarship it is not worth applying for. Scholarships add up not subtract. Lastly, put in the effort to do the essays that are required, it will be worth it in the long run.
This is the one method I value the most just because this is my main financial finesse method. Becoming a Resident Advisor (RA/CA), Residential Hall Ambassador, Graduate Advisor or whatever job that pays for your housing and/or meal plan is a finesse because you are working where you live and the burden of bills is lifted off your shoulders. With that said, it is somewhat easier because your day-to-day living interactions can contribute to your job requirements. In addition, you are in a campus leadership position where you can create an impact on the underclassmen first and second-year experiences. Everybody is not made for this job though, with that said, if you like people, mentorship, programming, building relationships and communities this is a job for you. Not to mention this is a solid resume builder.
I want to stress the importance of being financially disciplined. Summer employment can put you in a financial position where you do not have to worry about a semester bill, depending on the job. I say this because ever since my junior year of high school I was able to save at least a thousand dollars every summer for the upcoming school year. Even though a $1000 does not seem much compared to a $8,000 tuition bill, it is better to have something than nothing.
If you save at least 35% of a $500 paycheck every two weeks for 12 weeks. You will be standing at around $1050 in your savings. That is a very broad and rough estimate but imagine what you can do if you have a higher income or save more. Moral of the story, quit playing yourself and discipline yourself with your money.
Bursar/ Financial Aid/ Scholarship Office
It is real simple, you do not know what help is out there if you don’t ask for it. Build personal relationships with the people in the Bursar,Financial Aid, and Scholarship Office so they are familiar with you. If they know your parents are out of work they might just pull the racks out the safe. In addition, build personal connections with other faculty on campus. The faculty is here to help you outside of the classroom and organizational meetings, and you never know where they might have In’s around campus. In addition, filling out your FAFSA as soon as possible will guarantee you the most money you are able to receive.
I hope these were helpful tips for fine$$ing through college. If you implement them all together you should be getting a very fat and happy refund check. I would appreciate your feedback. Let me know in the comments below if this was a useful and/or if I missed any tips and methods. I would love to make a Part 2. If y’all haven’t checked out the previous College Logic Series posts then click here. Thank you for reading.
– Sir Highsmith