College is an experience that makes us the person we are supposed to become. This is why we often associate college with freedom, new experiences, and most importantly, success.
As soon as we enter school, parents are already thinking about sending us to college, and many even start saving up for our higher education. Since the funding required for college is spent on many different aspects, such as tuition, textbooks, food and lodging, among other things, getting a degree can turn out to be a costly affair.
Sometimes due to one reason or another, it is not possible for parents to sponsor their child’s education, fully or partially. I have come across quite a few students who express their desire to pay for college on their own due to various reasons. But whatever the reason, it is certainly a task that necessitates a lot of responsibility and maturity.
To help all those students who wish to fund their own college education, I have compiled a few ways that can come in handy.
1. Apply For a Number of Scholarships
This seems like quite an obvious solution to problems related to funding education. But believe me, most students are not even aware of scholarship programs that they can apply for. Even if they have information on a particular scholarship, students make the mistake of applying to only one scholarship program.
Don’t assume you won’t get selected and thus shouldn’t apply. Applying to more than one scholarship automatically means a higher chance of getting selected for one, and better chances of financially securing your college education. This is especially true for overseas colleges, who offer plenty of scholarships to students (ranging from 10-15% to sometimes even 100%).
So, I suggest you cast your net as wide as you can when it comes to your scholarship applications.
2. Look for Paid Integrated Programs
Following the concept of foreign universities, some Indian Universities too have come up with programs that pay a stipend to students on a monthly basis. This stipend is generally to take care of the living expenses. Some colleges also provide waivers on tuition fee based on merit. Hence you should target such universities and colleges and apply to more than 2 universities at the very least.
For example, programs such as B.Stat Hons. and B.Maths Hons. at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata offer a stipend of INR 3,000/- per month to students. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology (Multiple Locations) offer stipends up to INR 12,000/- to students enrolled in their M.Tech. courses. Such are the programs you can search for.
3. Get a Part-Time Job
Part-Time Jobs are a great way to pay for college for many reasons. First, they help you get real-world experience of working and earning in a proper organization. Second, they help you mature and take responsibility in your early years. Third, obviously, they help you self-finance your education.
Part Time may not help you pay for all your tuition money, but it will help you take care of your living expenses and personal expenses, which accounts for a large chunk of college expenses.
Part-time jobs don’t always have to be in office. You can look for online freelancing jobs where you work on a project-by-project basis. Don’t want to directly look for a job? Gain some experience first by applying for a paid, work-from-home internship instead. The work roles will be similar, but the type of responsibilities will be lighter and they are much easier to find as a student with limited experience.
You should be careful while choosing a part-time for yourself. A job that helps you build your profile, and lets you learn and earn at the same time is the one you should pick. For example, you may look at jobs such as Content Writing, Blogging, Assistant Lab Helper/Assistant to a Researcher, Online Tutoring, Data Entry Jobs/Book-Keeping, etc. to pay your bills.
4. Apply for a Student Education Loan
Education loans are one of the best tools that help students avail quality education. The loans cover the costs of tuition and any other fee that the institution may charge a student. Whether a student wishes to study in India or abroad, the Indian Government has taken many initiatives to lower rates for student loans in collaboration with the RBI and Indian Banks.
Most banks offer student loans at about 9-11% interest rate, which is lower than interest rates for personal loans.
The Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development has also launched an e-portal called Vidya Lakshmi. This Portal allows students to access information on various bank loan schemes and apply for multiple schemes as well. Before applying to any loan read its terms and agreements as well as benefits carefully.
5. Start Saving Early On
Many of us are aware of our career goals from an early age. And even if we are not, at least we know that we will grow up to go to college and get a job. This is why you should start saving up for your education from a young age. And I am not talking Piggy Banks; I am talking about a legit savings bank account.
Your saving does not have to be a huge amount, even little chunks of money that you put in every month or quarterly can take a huge load off your shoulder. You can even start a SIP (Systematic Investments Plan), which will really help you invest a small sum of money each month towards your future. These kinds of plans will help you gain interest on your savings, thereby growing your college fund over time.
And when the time comes to go to college, you will be proud and relieved at the same time.
Our college years are an investment, and students themselves can contribute in a big way towards them. Whether it is paying for your own education, or doing well in your academics, your parents will be proud to see you make any efforts you can to make your future brighter. We hope this article will help students who wish to make this effort in the right direction.
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