How can college help you save? Find out here!

As prices of tuition, books, and other academic fees skyrocket, saving money may seem impossible.  The stress that comes from spending and saving money is immense, but luckily many colleges are making it easier to spend less money on your education, giving students a way to start saving.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is a great way to try and save money when attending college.  Federal Student Aid provides financial assistance to those eligible who are seeking to further their education beyond high school.  Between grants and loans, Federal Student Aid gives those who cannot afford further education a means of going to college, as long as the student meets all qualifications.  Receiving financial aid is a privilege and should be taken seriously by applicants, because when it comes to loans, you have to start paying back the loan as soon as you finish school.  Financial aid is a process that may take a while, but should be looked into if paying for college in full is not a possibility for yourself or your family.

Scholarships

Before applying to colleges, researching different available scholarships is very important when it comes to wanting to save money.  Scholarships can come from organizations, the college you intend on going to, your high school, or from your state and federal government.  You may feel as if, you’ll never receive a scholarship because there are so many other applicants but with the many different scholarship opportunities, obtaining a scholarship may not be as improbable as you think.  All scholarship providers have different qualifications, so it’s important to play up your strengths.  Academic scholarships are a great option for those with an excellent GPAs and good scores on their SAT and/or ACT, in addition to all extracurricular activities that help a student stand out.  Even if academics is not your greatest strength, there are scholarships for everyone, you just have to research and see what best fits you.  For instance, for those who excel in sports, there is the ability to receive a scholarship from the school they plan to attend. Just remember, all scholarships have different deadlines, so it’s a good idea to apply for scholarships and for school as early as September of your senior year of high school.

On-Campus Jobs

• FWS and SA programs: There are numerous ways to make extra money on campus; at Montclair State University in New Jersey, the Federal Work Study Employment program (FWS) and Student Assistant Employment program (SA) are available.  FWS is available to those students who receive financial aid, as long as Federal Work Study is listed as one of their loans, and if it is, you are then able to apply to FWS jobs.  The main idea of this program is that the hourly pay goes toward educational expenses.  The SA program is available to every student looking for an on-campus job.  In both programs, the position you receive is based on skills on a four level scale; jobs vary from a receptionist job (Level 1), a residence life desk assistant (Level 2), a research assistant (Level 3) to a residence program supervisor (Level 4).  Paid compensation is hourly and differs depending on what skill level you have and what year of college you are in. 

• Cooperative Education (co-op): There is also an academic work-study program known as Cooperative Education at Montclair State University, which assists students with finding work that is connected to what they are studying.  These work-study programs exist around the country at many colleges so students can learn about the relationships between what is learned in the classroom, and what is learned in a working environment.  Co-op jobs can be full-time or part-time and paid or unpaid, however there is also a compensation of receiving course credit in your main area of study.  If paid, it’s clear how this could help your savings account, but, even if unpaid, you will develop skills in an area, and it’s possible to be hired after graduation, because you already have had a working experience with the job you receive.  It also will help you with your interview skills, because just like anyone you have to apply for a job; in the end the company makes the decision on whether you would be a good fit or not, not the school.  Montclair State University only gives co-op students the means of finding the businesses and organizations in which they are partnered with.

Paying for college and trying to save money as well is an extremely difficult job, and seems almost impossible.  However, knowing your options and how you can have some extra cash in your savings account will really make a difference.  Lastly, acknowledging that many students receive financial aid, have scholarships or work on and off campus may help you realize that it is within your capabilities to save yourself some money, as long as you work hard.
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