Getting that degree may cost a lot more than it used to, but it isn't all bad news for students. Thanks to innovative solutions churned out by bright minds which probably have their own college funding tale to tell, you now have a lot more options when it comes to funding that college degree.
Education has always been seen as a personal investment, but a new generation of investment platforms championed by companies like Lumni are throwing a different spin on college funding by encouraging private investors to finance your education in exchange for a small cut of your future earnings.
Crowdfunding portals like Upstart use a similar principle and can be purposed for educational investment in much the same way that they are used for startup investment.
In the past decade, we've seen the previously taboo act of begging for money become widely acceptable thanks to social media and trendy begging platforms like Cyberbeg.com and eBeggars.
Although begging might not be the best way to start your adult life, there's absolutely nothing wrong with encouraging people to sponsor your college education and that is the specialty of web platforms like GoFundMe.com which let you set fundraising goals and allow sponsors to track your progress.
If milking all the available cash cows still leaves your college-fund bucket empty, you might have to get more creative. There are pretty wild ways to pay for your education and come out without a trace of debt, but not everyone has the charisma or the nerve to pull these off.
If you are desperate for ideas, check out our pick of awesome and terrible ways to get an education without a student loan:
Sue Your Parents
We definitely can't say we recommend funding your college education in this drastic way, but there have been several cases of students who have tried it, with different results.
It's generally understood that parents will try to help their kids get an education that will help them land a job and be off to a good start in life. But some people consider it a right, and it seems to work for them, at least where college is concerned.
Take Caitlyn Ricci of Camden, New Jersey for example. The 21 year old successfully sued her parents for not paying for her out-of-state education, and won! After a long and much publicized court case, the judge ruled that Caitlyn's parents must cover the $16,000 she spent on an education at Temple University. Even better, she got her grandparents to foot the bill for the law suite.
High school senior Rachel Canning tried to pull off the same stunt, but her story ended on a happier note for all parties involved. After failing to sue her parents for not covering the costs of her education unconditionally, Canning received a $56,000 scholarship and eventually moved back in with her parents.
Before trying this, either make sure you are OK with severing all ties with your family, or make 100% sure that your family knows you love them and are only suing them for publicity that may lead to a scholarship.
2. Get Saturday Night Fever
Many people are willing to pay for a laugh, and if you don't mind being the object of their laughter or curiosity, you can make decent money during off-campus hours.
College students miming on city street corners is not altogether uncommon, but if you want to make enough to put you through college, you're going to have to get more creative. That's what Chicago grad student Jason Hopkins did after picking up some disco moves from Saturday Night Fever. His disco routine hit a nerve with passers by and helped him earn around $10,000 towards his education.
3. Be A Brand Ambassador
If you have a good mind for marketing, why not go after corporate sponsors and become a brand ambassador. Hundreds of corporations want to get their brands in the faces of the next generation of consumers, and if you have perseverance and creative ideas, you can use this to your advantage. Chris Barrett and Luke McCabe were some of the first to exploit this idea outright, and successfully hooked First USA bank as their college sponsor.
4. Become A Human Billboard
Photograph by Scott Hornby. Courtesy of The Sun.
Anyone who was alive when sandwich boys first roamed the streets is probably cringing at the memory. But if you are willing to scale up a bit, a billboard can make a powerful advertising tool. 24-year-old Adam Pacitti spent the last money he had on a billboard ad in an effort to find work. The ad went viral with positive results, and if you are willing to put your face out there, setting up a billboard requesting college sponsorship isn't as crazy as it may seem. Engineering student Dave Lions took the whole billboard thing a bit further by gluing himself to a book advertising billboard on a busy London street and remaining there a full day to earn money towards his education.
5. Go Vegan
There are some pretty far out scholarships out there, and if you are willing to make a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can become eligible for scholarships like the $5,000 - $10,000 scholarships offered by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG). If you can't give up meat, there is a $750 scholarship (plus $1,000 prize and tour of the US) given to the winner of the National Beef Ambassador Program.
Other peculiar scholarships that you may just be eligible (or make yourself eligible) to apply for include the $1,000 scholarship from Tall Clubs International (you'll have to be at least 5 foot 10") and the $2,000 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship doled out by Unigo.