Don't Pay More for College Than You Have To: Find Ways to Pay for School

About this article
The average college student graduates with over$20,000 in student debt. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are a number of different ways to finance a college education without taking out a pricey student loan. This article offers tips and resources to avoid paying top dollar.
View available schools

save

College Scholarships

Scholarships are the ultimate way to pay for school and avoid student debt. Like loans, scholarships are available from a variety of sources. Unlike loans, they don't have to be paid back. College scholarships are available from federal, local and state governments. Other scholarship sources include professional associations, community organizations and individual companies or benefactors. A number of colleges and universities also offer their own scholarship programs.

Search Sites for College Scholarships

  • FastWeb - This site is the Internet's largest source of local, national and college-specific scholarships. You can search FastWeb's database after registering for a free account.
  • Scholarships.com - This free site has been helping students find scholarships since 1998. Scholarship.com's searchable database contains more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants.
  • CollegeBoard's Scholarship Search - CollegeBoard's free scholarship search engine contains more than 3,000 scholarship opportunities. The information you can find in this database is always up-to-date.
  • Sallie Mae Scholarship Search - Students can gain access to information on nearly 3 million scholarships when they use Sallie Mae's free scholarship search. Students can also create a search profile to stay current on the latest scholarship opportunities.
  • U. S. Dept. of Education Scholarship Search - A free scholarship search from the U.S. Department of Education. The majority of the scholarships in this database are school-based.

College Grants

College grants are another great way to pay for school. Like scholarships, grants don't need to be repaid. Another advantage to grants is that they are often need-based.

College grants are most often awarded through federal, state and local governments. Other grant sources include colleges, universities, public organizations, private organizations and individual benefactors.

Where to Locate College Grants

  • Students.gov - Th U.S. Department of Education site offers information on some of the federal grants available to college students.
  • CalGrants - This California Financial Aid Commission website offers information on grants that can be used at California colleges, universities, career schools and technical schools.
  • IEFA Scholarship Search - IEFA's mission is to provide financial aid and scholarship information to international students who want to study abroad. This site also provides grant listings.

State and Federal Aid

State and federal governments make aid available to college students each year. Billions of dollars are available to students who apply for it. State and federal aid includes grants, scholarships, low-cost loans and work study programs. Nearly every college student qualifies for some type of state or federal aid.

Where to Find State and Federal Aid

  • Federal Student Aid - This site is the official student gateway to apply for federal financial aid. Students can find information on applying for federal aid, scholarships and grants.
  • Federal Work Study - The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is for low-income undergraduate and graduate students who want to earn money to pay for college.
  • State Higher Education Agencies - Your State Higher Education Agency is a great place to find information about the financial aid programs available in your state.

Other Sources of Aid

Scholarships, grants and government aid aren't your only options. There are many other programs out there designed to help students keep debt to a minimum.

Where to Find Other Financial Aid Options

  • CLEP College Search - There are nearly 3,000 colleges and universities that award course credits to students who perform well on CLEP exams. Fewer required courses equal a smaller tuition bill. You can use this search engine from the College Board to find colleges and universities that grant credit for CLEP accomplishments.
  • GreenNote - This social networking site provides an alternative to high-cost student loans. Every student is eligible for a GreenNote loan regardless of credit history or citizenship status.
  • Tuition Reimbursement - More than 50 percent of major employers offer some form of tuition reimbursement or assistance. This article explains how you can get your employer to pay for your college education.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
      • Master of Project Management
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Master - Human Resource Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Computer Science
      • BS - Human Services
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Marketing
      • BS - Finance
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
      • Graduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Computer Programming
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Web Application Development
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Middle Grades Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Secondary Education (Online)
      • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Doctor of Business Administration: International Business
    Master's
      • MA: Communication
      • MED: Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education
      • MA: Professional Counseling
      • Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Developmental Psychology
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Industrial Organizational Psychology
    Bachelor's
      • BS: Psychology
      • BS: Psychology - Christian Counseling
      • BS: Interdisciplinary Studies
      • BS: Business Administration
      • BS: Business Administration: Communications
      • BS: Early Childhood Education in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Associate's
      • AA: Military History
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
    Bachelor's
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • B.S. Applied Psychology: Biblical Studies
      • B.S. Applied Psychology: Criminal Justice
      • B.S. Accountancy
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
      • Human Resource Management, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Performance Psychology
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
    Master's
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (ITL)
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (NITL)
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in STEM (ITL)
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor: Business Admin
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Independence University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Information Systems (MS)
      • Nursing Administration (MS)
      • Nursing Education (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Accounting (BS)
      • Business Administration (BS)
      • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Marketing Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)
      • Health Services Management (BS)
    Associate's
      • Medical Assisting (AOS)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Columbia Southern University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Administration
    Master's
      • MBA - Finance
      • MBA - General
      • MBA - Health Care Management
      • MBA - Human Resource Management
      • MBA - Marketing
      • MBA - Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Psychology
      • BS - Business Administration
      • BS - Criminal Justice Admin.
      • BS - Criminal Justice Admin./Arson Investigation
      • BS - Health Care Administration
      • BS - Health Care Administration/Emer Med Service
    Associate's
      • AS - Business
      • AS - Criminal Justice
      • AA - General Studies
      • AS - Health Information Science
      • AS - Fire Science
      • AS - Occupational Safety and Health
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Finance
      • Graduate Certificate - Health Care Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Marketing
      • Graduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Public Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Policing
    Master's
      • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Criminal Justice
      • Master of Legal Studies
      • MPA - Criminal Justice

Featured Schools

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • BS - Computer Science
  • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Liberty University

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
  • MA: Communication
  • BS: Psychology
  • AA: Military History

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Psychology, B.S.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Independence University

  • Information Systems (MS)
  • Accounting (BS)
  • Medical Assisting (AOS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Columbia Southern University

  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • MBA - Finance
  • BS - Psychology
  • AS - Business
  • Graduate Certificate - Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?