How to Pay for College Without Student Loans

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Call me silly but I am of the opinion that debt often spells financial death for a lot of families. Because of that belief, I don’t think that young people (oh my…I sound like my Dad now) should start their adult lives off with mounds of debt from student loans that they “think” they need to take to pay for college. Taking student loans that early in life does nothing but saddles them for years with debt that they may not be able to pay back. While I’m not a huge fan of using credit, these days, a good credit score is a must have for anyone, especially those who are just starting out. Often you’ll find that you can’t rent a home without a good credit score. Some employers use credit score as an employment criteria. Because of that, teenagers and young adults should do everything they can to pay for college without taking on debt that could ruin their chances of having a good credit score.

How to Pay for College without Going into Debt - College is super expensive and it isn't getting any cheaper. There's no need to take thousands of dollars in student loans though! These 7 ways to pay for college without student loans will help you pay for your own (or your kids') education out of pocket without going broke!


My daughter might only be eleven, but college and how to pay for it is already on our minds. College is a huge burden to even begin thinking about for most families because even those college can be the gateway to a better lifestyle for most kids, paying for it can be a completely different story. A good four year college will easily run hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a bachelors degree and adding a Masters degree onto it just makes the costs pile up even more. Honestly the costs for getting a better education are ridiculous in this country. I’m not going to go any farther than that simple statement because I keep politics (and my opinions) away from this blog, but the hard, simple truth is that if you’re going to go to college or if your kids are, you will pay much more than you should have to. Despite opinions, I think we could all agree that paying thousands each quarter for tuition and paying hundreds for a single book is more than ridiculous.

Pay for College Without Student Loans

That high cost is what makes student loans so appealing. They pay all of those high costs in one swoop and can be paid back with “convenient” payments. There is a better way though and if you can pay for college out of pocket you’ll be much better off in the long run than if you take the “easy” way out. Obviously its best if parents start saving for college early on in a child’s life, but if you weren’t able to do that, no worries. If you have a young child though, consider starting a 529 savings plan for them so that you can help them pay for college in cash when it is time for them to go.

Paying for college without student loans is hard. I’m not in any way saying it will be easy.

Pay for college by getting creative –  If you need to pay out of pocket for your tuition, fight hard for every discount that you can find because every penny saved matters. Don’t settle for that final bill without finding discounts, scholarships, and grants that can help you pay for it.  Even something like earning a couple of hundred dollars extra each month can be a huge help when you need it. It can take a bit of time to find these things, but in the end, they’re totally worth the time spent. Be determined to pay less and you’ll have better luck. You can add to your college savings by selling items that you no longer need to earn even more extra cash. It sounds crazy but most of us have hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of “stuff” just lying around that we no longer even look at let alone need. Another option is to earn extra funds to save for your college expenses is to find a legitimate survey company or a media company that you can earn from. I use these companies in my own life to help boost funds for things that we are saving for.

Finally, coupons can save you a ton of money on the stuff you’re already buying so be sure that you’re using any printable coupons that you can. Transfer your coupon savings to your savings account and use that money to help pay for your college expenses. It might not seem like a ton of money but coming from someone who has couponed since 2004? It can truly add up to thousands if your careful.

Pay for college by working for a company that will reimburse your college tuition: If you’re going through college, paying out of pocket, why not let someone else pay for it if possible? There are a lot of companies that will reimburse you for your college tuition if you go back to get a degree in a field that will help the company. It might seem hard to find them, but they do exist! Just keep in mind that usually when a company puts you through college, they do expect that you will stay employed with them for a specific amount of years and may even require a contract that shows you agree to do just that.

Pay for college without student loans by using community college to your advantage – The vast majority of college majors require certain prerequisite classes that are usually the same for any major in the math, science and other fields. Save yourself a little bit of money by completing these core classes at your local community college first and then transferring to your four year university when you’re ready to begin specific classes for your chosen major. Just remember to check that the community college classes are transferable credit first and that they will apply to your major.

Pay for college by working your way through –  One of the best ways to pay for college without taking loans is to work your way through college. Most colleges have work study programs, but if not, any job will do. Even if you’re only working at McDonald’s, it will help give you the cash that you need to pay for your expenses without loans. There may be some long and tiring nights, but being able to pay cash for what others are going into debt for will make it all totally worth it. Another option is to start a money making blog and blog about your college days or any other topic that you’re passionate about.

Pay for college by working for the college – Don’t confuse this with a work study program where you work for a different employer than the college. There are some colleges that will give a major discounts on tuition for actual employees of the college, not student employees. If your parents work for a college, it may be worth it to enroll in that specific college as well to get any discounts that are available to you. You don’t need to be a professor to cash in on these savings. Even jobs like security or janitorial will qualify for their discounts so it is definitely worth checking out.

Pay for college without loans by taking longer to graduate – Sure, it’s really nice to graduate college in 4 years, but for some people, that just isn’t a reality.  If you’re paying out of pocket for college and working your way through, you might want to consider taking a few extra years to graduate. This means you can take a couple of classes at a time, pay for them out of pocket, and leave college without any debt. Sure, you’ll likely twice a long to get your degree but the truth its, it might be the only option for some people to go to college without taking loans.

Pay for college without student loans by putting it off until you have enough saved up: As a young kid, it can be hard to pay for college right then and there even if you have help from your parents. While it isn’t the absolute greatest option, if you’re absolutely determined for pay for college with cash, putting it off a couple of years while you save can be a good way to do it. This can work very well with the option to take longer to graduate since you can save for a class or two while you’re taking one or two.




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