When staring down the entire cost of college before you even begin, it can bring stress levels to a new high. However, there are many ways to bring in funds before, during and after you sign up for all those classes that will bring you closer to the completion of your degree. If you find a benefactor or other private donor, that can extend your financial freedom as you gain ground in getting to graduation.

Find a Benefactor

After you have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as all the scholarships you can Google, there is still another road to finding funds to complete your education. Private donors for college students can include clergy, local franchise owners, regional manufacturers and investment firms. Look for those in your area who invest in their community. If you plan to enter the legal field, consider approaching law firms that are expanding and offering scholarships. For those planning on a hospitality degree, consider talking to restaurant owners or local food and drink manufacturers. They may find sponsoring local talent headed off to college to be a good investment in the future of your city. Small amounts can add up.

Charities as Benefactors

Help with school fees from charities can come in a few forms. If you’ve been volunteering with a charity throughout your high school career, they may take an interest in assisting you into your college years. They may require some service in return, which would fall in line with what you had been doing with your free time to build this relationship. Charities can offer to pay for books, certain classes or other small aspects of your schooling so don’t worry if they can’t pony up for the bulk of your college costs. In your request letter to this charitable benefactor, include the benefits to them in offering you funds, such as your continued loyalty and time, as well as a possible tax write-off.

Business Model for Benefactors

There are a surprising number of companies that invest in the education of those who show they are ambitious, disciplined, creative and studious. They understand that a good student will make a better business world tomorrow. By investing in you, they can be competitive in the future marketplace. Follow Fortune 500 companies on Twitter and Instagram. Find those that are within your specified major or interests and keep track of what they are focused on. These can include industry firms, food brands, drink companies, technology firms or brands and financial, accounting and investment firms. Major corporate sponsors that provide free college funds include Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, The Coca-Cola Company, Google and Dell. Spread the net wide and don’t be afraid to try smaller startup companies on their way to becoming major players in your chosen field.

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