On-Campus Financial Aid and Its Benefits

by Connor Brunson
(Columbia, SC, USA)

Many times, the struggle to pay for a college education seems like a tremendous war against the system, as if every factor of university life is working tirelessly to put innocent, hardworking students out on the street. Tuition is constantly rising, textbooks are forever more expensive, and the often sub-par cafeteria food seems to fancy itself a gourmet meal. In short, it is growing easier and easier for students to burn themselves out while avoiding the far-reaching grasp of college costs. However, what many fail to consider is the possibility of working within the system. That, instead of flailing against the stubborn walls of bureaucracy, they can utilize the momentum already provided to them from within the school’s structure. At the end of the day, colleges are institutions of higher education, whose ultimate purpose is the betterment of the community, and most universities have financial aid options within their own halls.


One such option is the Resident Advisor (or RA) position. Most, if not all residence halls have several RAs living in the building to mentor and direct students in their college years, which are notoriously fraught with indecision. They maintain safety by patrol hallways and foster community through floor events. Typically, Resident Advisors receive at least 50% off of their housing bill, and some universities will even offer free room and board, along with the potential for additional pay from working at the front desk. In addition, the RA position looks great on a resume and is a phenomenal way to boost leadership and extracurricular skills. Acceptance to the position can be competitive and it is certainly a time commitment, but, ultimately, it worth the time and energy invested.

Another, equally profitable option is work study programs, which are usually the most popular form of on-campus, work-based financial aid. College bookstores, libraries and even some research labs need large amounts of employees to function, and campuses are excellent sources of labor. Usually, the work-week is incredibly flexible and schools are willing to mold hours around the student’s schedule. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to rise above the fiscal limitation of minimum wage, but those who are willing to work will receive notable compensation.

Similar to the Resident Advisor position, some colleges offer a stipend for Student Government Executives, which include, but are not limited to, Treasurer, President, Vice President, and Secretary. Again, the benefits of these positions are not restricted to simple financial gain. Not only do they provide the student with invaluable leadership skills, they show dedication and commitment, which can only help in the job market to come.

In short, while looking off campus is certainly a profitable venture, the solutions to college payment woes can be found just down the street from Residence Halls and cafeterias. It does not take massive amounts of searching to discover the opportunities, only the work ethic and dedication needed to follow through and commit to a solution. Any student that remains open to these options and truly attempts their completion will certainly find themselves in a much better situation, no longer fighting the system, but working with it, for the mutual benefit of all involved.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Connor for reminding us there other ways to help pay for a college education besides scholarships and loans. Working on campus as a Resident Advisor (RA) or through a work-study program are some great ways to keep college costs down. Students should also mark on their FAFSA Application that they are interested in work-study. If they qualify, that will make it easier to get those student jobs on campus. Best of luck to you.


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Earn Money for College

by Theresa Dominguez

It is hard for teenagers to get employed today, so these are ideas of what they could do in order to earn money for their college.

What could we do legitimately to earn money to pay for college? Start with creating a contest for family members to play, charging an entrance fee to play. Individuals love football pots, so have a football pot where the winners get money, but part of the pot goes towards your college for point spread predictions. Each participant in the football pot must be aware of how the proceeds will be distributed.

Another idea is to go to a senior housing community, and ask if they need any errands like purchasing their groceries with them, so that you carry in all the bags, and you drive them either to their doctor visits, etc.

Another creative idea is to shampoo dogs for the neighbors, spread flea killing products in the yards for the neighbors. Put up flyers in the neighborhoods offering dog sitting, car washing, carpooling children to their sport events, or dance programs or with the scare of children abduction they could offer to walk kids to the school buses or pick them up from the school bus or walk them to school or walk them home from school.

Another creative idea is to go to garage sales, flea markets, Craigslist, etc., and find items that have value and purchase them cheaply, so that they can be sold on E-Bay as a bidding price. Another creative idea is tutoring elementary kids because who may better understand how to get a kid through elementary than a high school student.

A teenager could go to churches, and ask what they could possibly do for them where they could possibly earn some money like cleaning because churches do pay for individuals to clean the grounds or inside the church like removing gum from underneath pews, chairs or tables. Have you ever thought about growing vegetables in order to sell around the neighborhood because there are a lot of individuals who want to purchase organic vegetables or have chickens and sell the eggs?

I hope these ideas are something you can put to use because I know that we all need help earning money, so that we are not strapped with student loan debts.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Theresa for sharing some creative ways to earn money for college. A positive attitude and willingness to work goes a long way. Also check out our ideas for Student Jobs and Student Summer Jobs. Good luck to you in college.



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Money Smart

by Jessica Venable
(Maryville, Tennessee)

There is one major action that young high schoolers can do to provide a little bit of cushion transitioning from high school to college. That cushion is experience. Experience out in the real world.

Job experience is something that every young teen needs to get involved in as soon as he or she is old enough. Most schools will encourage you to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Although that is extremely important, saving money for college is very helpful in the long run.

My one piece of advice to high school students is to open up a savings account, and save, save, save! Once college rolls around, buying dorm essentials will take a major toll on your wallet. Overall, students spend around $1,000 dollars before they even pay for classes or books.

Luckily, I started saving when I was an upcoming junior in high school. I knew that college was not going to be easy for my family financially, so I began putting 1/3 of my check that I received weekly into my savings account. After a couple of years, I was amazed at how much it grew! For this reason, I am very thankful that I was able to put away a certain amount of money weekly.

Having a job has provided me with a cushion. I was about to get all of my college supplies without my single mother having to struggle to provide me with the college essentials. Having a savings account is a nice cushion if anything happens to fall through.

Advice for future college freshman, always be money smart! College spending does not have to be stressful as long as you come prepared.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thanks Jessica for your advice to get job experience. Check out our lists of Student Jobs and Student Summer Jobs . It’s great to bring home that paycheck and save a chunk of it too. I like your money smart advice. Best of luck to you.


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