A degree costs thousands of dollars and takes graduates years to pay back. Student loans still loom on the horizon even after a decade (or more) post getting a diploma – a real headache you wish you could wash down easily with painkillers.
The good news is that there are ways to get a degree without paying tuition fees. Yes, you read that right. While you may still have to shell out some money, the payables won’t cost you an arm and a leg, which is the case when paying your way through university studies.
Pick Tuition-Free Colleges
The College of the Ozarks is one example. The students enrolled in this institution typically work 15 hours per week. However, there will be 2 40-hour weeks along the way, though.
Berea College is another option, where students work about 10 hours per week and earn about $4-$7 an hour, which can help pay for your incidentals (books, board, etc). Webb Institute, Curtis Institute of Music, US Naval/Air Force/Coast Guard/Military Academy, Alice Lloyd College, and Deep Springs College are also worth considering. You’ll need to qualify for the free tuition privilege in some of the said institutions, though, and pass the admission requirements. In some cases, your eligibility could depend on your income background.
With today’s ultra-wired world, it’s now possible to get a degree from the comfort of your own room. There are institutions offering a number of degrees for free online, with some even making available college classes online through massive open online courses (MOOCs). You can find some of those MOOCs on Coursera and edX, which offers credit-eligible introductory online courses from some of the top universities in America, such as MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley. Harvard’s Extension School also offers a number of courses for free online.
Get a Scholarship
Many colleges, and even Ivy League schools, offer scholarships for talented or promising individuals, as well as those coming from low-income backgrounds. While this may be a tough option, it’s one of your best bets for getting a college degree for free. If you’re very keen on getting that diploma, you’ll do your share of the hard work in order to cinch it on the strength of your academic performance or ability. Check out scholarship eligibility requirements and details even before you finish secondary school so you can work on qualifying for a scholarship ahead of time.
You can also opt to have local philanthropists or charities back your college education by sending them a letter of intent and your credentials. You can get help from a writer-friend or someone who’s got a knack for drawing up convincing and effective proposals or business pitches.
Some aspiring college degree holders turn to the Internet for help, setting up campaigns on Indiegogo, Hubbub, and GoFundMe to raise funds for their university education. This is a surprisingly feasible option as some have been able to raise money for their tuition through crowdfunding. You’ll have to be creative about coming up with ways to return the goodness of the people who pitched into your project, though.