College is expensive. As of 2018, the average cost of tuition for a year at a four-year public university is approaching $10,000. Four-year private colleges are even more expensive, with tuition for just one year topping $35,000 on average. But what if you want to go to school but have no money? Good news: Plenty of people who don’t have inherited wealth figure out ways to pay for college without student loans. Other ways to pay for college include grants, scholarships and work-study jobs.

Planning Ways to Pay for College

If you want to go to college but have no money, you need to start planning early for ways to make ends meet. Since college is so expensive, you will need to plan for one or more ways to pay for it. Don’t plan on relying on student loans. Interest for those can add up quickly. Instead, starting in your junior year of high school, begin researching grants and scholarships that you may qualify for.

Surprising Ways to Pay for College

You may be surprised that there is a scholarship for almost anything. You can find scholarships for your nationality or ethnic heritage, uncommon illnesses you may have or attributes like being left-handed or being a twin. Many companies also offer scholarships for the children of their employees. Ask your parent or guardian to check out their employer’s website for more information.

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How to Find Free Grants for College

You can find the best free grants for college by looking online. Websites like Fast Web and Scholarships.com allow you to search for scholarships and free grants for college depending on your location, school and keywords. Don’t discount smaller scholarships as those may have fewer applicants, and it might be easier for you to win them. Those small scholarships and grants will add up to help you pay for school.

I Want to Go to School But Have No Money

What if you’re already a senior in high school but you still don’t have enough money to pay for college? Don’t panic! If you’ve already gotten the college, the financial office at your institution may be able to help. Believe it or not, they really do want you to go to their school. So if money is standing in the way, they will help you figure out ways to get it. Most schools offer their own scholarships. The financial aid officers there will tell you how to apply for them. There will also be a variety of work-study jobs available on campus. If all else fails, they may also be able to help you get a job off-campus as well.

About the Author

Rebecca Renner is a writer and editor out of South Florida. Her essays have been featured in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, and Glamour. She is working on a novel.