No Money, More Problems!

A student writes:

I am currently attending a local community college, with the hopes of moving on in the near future. The only problem I encounter when looking at universities is the financial situation. I have applied for aid and numerous scholarships, yet the result is always the same. I wish to receive any information available to increase my chances on pursuing my dreams. Thank you for your time.

Dear RWU student:

I’m not a financial aid guru, however, I did run into similar problems as they pertain to tuition problems. I will first offer you a traditional outlet to get information, then I will offer you some nontraditional outlets:

1. Traditional Sources:

Logon to our financial aid “success links.” I’m sure there has to be something that could benefit you on that page.

2. Nontraditional Sources:

I grew up dirt poor, and my mother didn’t even know how to apply for financial aid, so I had to come up with creative ways to pay for college (including graduate school). Here are some of them:

1.) Get a job working for the university or college that you’re attending (they will often times allow you take free courses — however you must register after everyone else has). The catch is that it usually must be a full-time position (it could even be as a janitor). That also means that you must go to school part time and graduate later than you expected.

2.) Get money through your local church. If you go to an elder at your local church (where you are a member), they normally have a fund set aside for students in need. They may not have a lot, but every little bit helps — don’t you agree.

3.) Tutor on the side to earn some “college fund” money. If you’re good at a subject, someone will pay you to tutor them in it. When I was student, I tutored Algebra — very hot topic, Spanish, and Statistics — very painful topic. I didn’t earn a lot, but I earned enough to pay for my books each semester.

4.) Get a short-term student loan. Most colleges have set aside money (usually no more than $300 to $400 per student per semester) for students in need. The way it works is that they loan you the money at the beginning of the semester, and you sign an agreement to pay it back at the end of the semester. Again, this isn’t a lot of money, but when I was student, it kept me from getting evicted. The key is that YOU MUST pay it back or bad things will happen…bad things man (i.e., an academic hold on your records, they won’t ever loan you money again, etc.)

5.) Do some house cleaning by selling your luxuries (i.e., CD player, CDs, sporting equipment, or whatever you’d be willing to give up to save your life). This was one of the most difficult things for me to do, but my graduation was more important than my justification for the “good” life. Hey, if I lived close enough to school and my job, I would’ve sold my car — no joke.

6.) Start a starving student foundation or fund and look for sponsors/contributors. I know this sounds outrageous, but you’d be surprise to find out how many people would be willing to donate, give, and sponsor a student who is trying to get his or her education. The key is that you must be a worthy student — i.e., show them your report card or transcripts. In exchange for their donations or contributions, be willing to share your skills with these people (family, friends, coworkers, strangers — it doesn’t matter).

For example, for exchange to donating to the Joe Martin Student Fund, I would write articles for organizational newsletters — PR was my major. It was cheaper for them to donate $50 to $100 to my college fund than pay a full-time staff to do the same job.

7.) PRAY! I must say I saved the best for last. This was my most powerful tool in battling the financial aid blues. I’m a living, breathing testimony that prayer works. When you get a chance, visit our “RWU Cafeteria” and click on “Pennies from Heaven.”

If that doesn’t give you inspiration, nothing will. While you at it, you might want to visit our “Campus Ministry” and drop in a prayer request, and let thousands of students across the country pray for you and your situation. Trust me, prayer changes things.

I hope this at least helps a little. I wish you the best of luck in your tireless pursuit of an education. Keep visiting our campus, and make sure you tell your friends about us by clicking here. Good luck and God bless. As always, live purposefully!

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