Whether you're a first-time college student straight out of high school or an adult returning to get your degree, paying your bills while in college isn't easy. Your bills aren't going to stop coming in every month just because you're a student, and many college students find they have to work full-time while attending college just to get by. There are things you can do to alleviate some of the financial pressure while getting an education.
Assess your personal financial situation. Sit down and make a list of all bills you have to pay each month, including the amount. Tally the totals to determine how much money you need to come up with each month to keep from falling behind on your payments.
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Attend a state university in your home state. Traveling outside your state to go to college is more expensive than the cost for resident students, so you can cut costs by going to a state university in the state where you reside. State universities also tend to be cheaper than local colleges, as they are funded by the government.
Get a job if you don't already have one. In order to pay your bills, you need to ensure you have regular income each month to maintain all your expenses. Visit the campus registrar's office for information about on-campus part-time work. Students who work on campus often have extra time to devote to their classwork, while still earning money to pay bills. If you can't find an on-campus job, try to find a flexible job that will work around your college schedule.
Apply for grants and scholarships. Grants and scholarships help offset the cost of your education, reducing and sometimes eliminating the need for student loans. Depending on your educational focus, income bracket and social situation there are thousands of grants available in the United States for students of all ages. Research grants and scholarships online through the Student Gateway to the U.S. Government (link in Resources.)
Apply for federal and private student loans. Many people are not keen on the idea of accumulating more debt while in college, but student loans can help alleviate the cost of college, providing you with leftover funding to buy books, supplies and even pay your bills. When filling out federal aid forms on the official FAFSA website, they may also search for federal grants you qualify for.
Apply for a student-specific credit card. Many large credit card companies have credit accounts specifically designed for college students. A credit card, when used responsibly, can help cover your financial bases on months when your cash flow is a little thin. Do not rely on credit cards to pay your bills every month, as a credit card is a bill as well and you will only accumulate more debt when you depend solely on your credit cards.
Live within your means while going to college. There are always going to be extras you want, but sacrificing the payment of your regular bills to satisfy impulse urges will come back to haunt you financially.