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Other Ways Besides Student Loans To Fund College

So, you’ve gotten into the college of your dreams, but now you have to figure out how to pay for it. Student loans can keep you in debt for decades after you graduate. Here are several alternatives to financing college without relying on student loans.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

This is a type of private loan taking place between two individuals, or peers. P2P lending is basically one friend loaning some other friend money. There are no credit checks and no bank or government involvement in the loan. These loans are conducted as a private business in which loans are offered at a set interest rate by private lenders. Prosper and Lending Club are the largest lending platforms in the US to look for Peer-to-Peer Lending.

Work Study Programs

If you currently have a part-time job, you may be eligible for the Federal Work Study (FWS) Program. This fund is maintained by the government and helps students who go to school full time while working part time. You can submit an application for the FWS Program through the program’s website or through your university’s Student Office.

Tuition Reimbursement

The company you are currently employed at may offer a tuition reimbursement program. Companies that promote from within are typically the ones most likely to offer this kind of program. A tuition reimbursement program pays a student back part of their school tuition, excluding textbook costs and fees. Ask your employer if they offer anything like a tuition reimbursement program before you decide to go to college.


Scholarships are totally free money and are worth making the effort to apply to. You don’t always need to be an amazing athlete or have incredible grades to qualify for a scholarship. There are thousands of scholarships out there for all different sorts of students. Schools, companies, clubs, churches, and organizations are some of the types of organizations that award scholarships. These can amount to $10,000 or more. You can find local scholarships through churches, community organizations, and private businesses. Ask your parents to check with their employer, a lot of businesses offer scholarships to children of employees. Both international and national scholarships can be located online or by asking a high school or college adviser for help.


Grants are generally based on need and are offered by the Federal Government. Grants can be applied for directly by visiting the student aid website of the United States Government. Some grants are available at the state level as well. Grants never have to be repaid and you can apply for them typically once a year, or sometimes during each semester or quarter.

The Military

Every United States Military branch offers scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities for active and former military in addition to the families of the enlisted. It’s worth considering postponing college a bit and enlisting in the military to get a free degree. Additionally, you’ll get tons of hands on experience and a history of military service which makes a great impression of potential employers.


The United States Federal Government runs the AmeriCorps program. Its mission is to get people involved with community centered organizations, schools, and non-profit charities throughout the United States. You could teach children how to read, work with at risk teens or the homeless, or several other public service options. If you work for AmeriCorps for a year you get a living allowance, housing aid, and education credits to apply to tuition as well as other education costs.

Requesting Donations

Here’s a fun way to pay for college that most people don’t consider. How about making a web page and asking for donations in order to fund your college education? In 2005, Alex Tew did just that by selling ad space online on his Million Dollar Homepage for $1 per pixel to pay for his university education. It worked, in 2006, Alex Tex grossed just over one million dollars.

Win the Lottery or Ask Rich Relatives

Having rich relatives is nice, but not exactly a practical option. As far as winning the lottery, well you can try, it pans out for some people!