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How to enter college in the USA without money

The process of obtaining higher education in the United States is usually associated with significant financial costs. But with the right approach, you can enroll in the desired college without serious cash outlay.

Photo: Shutterstock

How to do it, said the publication WikiHow.

Getting the necessary financial support

1. Evaluate your financial needs. If you think your family will not be able to pay for college, it is quite possible that some colleges will agree to do so. Financial assistance is the calculation of data that is contained in the FAFSA (Federal Financial Assistance Ordinance). It takes into account the income of your family, the number of children, especially those who are eligible for college, the contributions or property of your parents. These factors are taken into account to determine your expected family contribution (EFC), that is, the amount that your family can pay for college.

Using a calculator FAFSA4caster, you can calculate the rate of this contribution.

2. Fill out the form on the FAFSA website. This is an application for federal student assistance. Fill out this form and send it to each educational institution on time.

This does not mean that you chose this particular college and agree with everything. You only show interest and learn the cost of training. This is quite a standard procedure.

3. Provide tax and other documentation. Each school has its own application review process, so specify what documents are needed to review your application and when they need to be submitted at each specific college.

Most educational institutions require copies of tax accounting documents, but they may also ask for other papers.

The process for reviewing applications for financial assistance may be different for transferred or international students.

4. Think over all the suggestions and make a choice. If you are accepted to several colleges, they will most likely send you different offers of financial support. Do not immediately rush to large sums. Better match their sentences with the cost of training. Many educational institutions are ready to match the proposals of their competitors, so talk with the staff of the college to try to get a better offer.

5. While studying, keep your right to a scholarship. Submit updated FAFSA applications and tax forms annually. Make sure the financial aid department at the college is aware of the changes in your financial situation, and be careful with the deadlines.

An educational institution may even offer you more money if you get good grades and show your potential. Sometimes there are "remnants" of scholarships that you can get if you demonstrate good performance.

Search for a cheaper alternative

1. Municipal colleges. For many, college admission is associated with admission to a public or private university. In fact, there are many more options, for example, the municipal college. It is worth noting that the cost of training at the municipal college is several times cheaper.

2. Vocational schools. At present, the presence of a bachelor's degree in a particular field is no longer of great importance. Many college graduates go into the catering industry. You do not have to study at a good university to get an education and earn good money; vocational schools are also suitable for this.

3. Think about distance learning. You are not required to devote all your time and money to full-time study. Choose only a few activities that you can afford, and devote the rest of the time to work. Each school provides a different degree of home study. You can attend part of the class or choose only one. You decide.

Learn about classes that are part-time teachers. Part-time teachers are paid less, and therefore attending their classes also costs less.

4. Onlinetraining. Although most online schools are rather ridiculous, there are quite serious institutions. They cost less, and also allow to save on the move. Moreover, you can attend classes at any time, so you can easily combine them with work. After such training, you can easily go to full-time study at a regular college, since most of the assessments can be transferred.

5. Learn all about MOOK. MOOK, a massive open online course, is gaining increasing popularity in technology and education. In some of them you can go on credit and certificate, but not all. This is a course that was recorded on video or audio at a university and posted online.

For example, take a look at the sites of Harvard or MIT. You can view their courses and run the one that interests you.

There are also sites such as Coursera, which collaborate with dozens of educational institutions and provide a diverse and coherent curriculum.

6. Cooperative Education Program. With this training method, you spend one semester on full-time study, and the second - working full-time. This program is not based on financial assistance and is offered only in some institutions. If such a program is offered in the college of interest to you, you should try it. It will also allow you to gain experience in the chosen field. You simultaneously earn and replenish your resume.

7. Auditory lessons. Find local universities or community colleges and see their policy on attending the course as a free student. Some institutions allow you to attend classrooms for everyone, while in other institutions only for full-time students. Find an educational institution that will allow you to attend classroom sessions. On this issue, you will need to consult with the secretary or other officials of the educational institution.

Cost coverage

1. Live at home. Living at home can easily save hundreds of dollars. Also do not forget about the money saved on food. Accommodation in hostels is expensive and can lead to a deterioration in grades.

2. Buy used textbooks online. You should not take new textbooks in bookstores, better buy supported on the Internet. They are much cheaper and not inferior to anything new.

Now textbooks can even be rented. A quick inquiry on the Internet will lead you to dozens of sites where you can find everything you need for a very competitive price.

3. Apply for a grant or loan. In addition to scholarships and the necessary financial assistance, you can also apply for grants or loans.

You do not need to return money for grants. They are issued for training, research and other needs.

Loans will have to return. If you match the criteria, your school will indicate this recommendation on the FAFSA form.

4. CLEP and PEP programs. View your school's policies regarding the study abroad program (Advanced Placement Program or APP), the college examination program (College-Level Examination Program or CLEP) and the revival examination program (Provenience Examination Program or PEP).

Each educational institution has its own policy regarding these programs. Talk to your research advisor about your perspectives. How will this help you? The fact that you will be able to complete the training semester earlier, which will save you a lot of money.

5. "Learn and work" program... Once you become a student, you will be able to apply for the Study and Work program, where some students are offered jobs at the university. If you qualify for this program, you will be notified. You will then be sent a link where you can view all vacancies and apply. Quite often the competition here is much less than among vacancies outside the university.

6. Think about joining the army. You will have to pass the ASVAB test, a single set of requirements for general development and training for entering the military service. This test is passed before enrolling in the troops. Most often, it is held by high school students, but in general it can be passed by anyone. Different types of troops require different test results. Generally, GED holders (a diploma equivalent to a high school diploma) are required to score higher than school certificate holders. Then you can contact the recruiter and enroll in the army.

Why is this appropriate here? Soldiers rely on financial assistance for training in the amount of about $ 4,5 thousand, while military universities and online universities offer online training programs adapted to their work schedule. Moreover, after graduation you can go to college for free. According to the current Law on the Rights of Military Personnel, 100% of the cost of education at a public college and $ 19198 at a private college are covered by the state.


1. Apply for a scholarship. Colleges usually offer grants or incomplete scholarships. Look for programs or scholarships in other sources that will help with the remaining amount. So you can cover the remaining cost of training. Apply for all scholarships to reduce your training costs.

2. Get a sports scholarship. Sports scholarships are highly competitive, and they are awarded only to the best athletes in a region or state. If you are not the best player in your team, it will be quite difficult for you to get a sports scholarship. Train and work hard to achieve success in sports.

Although a sports scholarship will help you get the best education for free, you still have to pay a price. You will have to spend more than 20 hours a week doing sports, which can keep you from studying. These scholarships are distributed every year. You can be deprived of it if the coach decides that you are not needed by the team and do not deserve funding.

3. ROTC Scholarship (non-military training of reserve officers). ROTC provides a scholarship for those who wish to join the army. In most non-military training programs for reserve officers, you will need to do military service for 4 years, and after that you will be in the first-order volunteer reserve for the 4 year, from which you can be summoned again. In certain cases, this commitment may be longer or shorter.

The ROTC program operates in more than 1000 colleges and universities throughout the country. Choose an educational institution, apply and wait for an invitation.

4. Apply for other unique scholarships. Do you have an unusual hobby? Or are you from any minority or have a military background? Maybe you are a first generation college student? What are your talents and interests? Write about everything that comes to mind, and tick what can help you get a scholarship. There are many scholarships for which you can qualify.

Use reputable sites like, FastWeb, or to find information about available scholarships. Find all that concerns such scholarships, and see which of them you can apply for, or consider those that fit your data and interests.

Read also on ForumDaily:

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