How To Pay For College Without Loans ~ 10 Legitimate Ways

To listen to the blog post “How To Pay For College Without Loans ~ 10 Legitimate Ways” over reading it just click the play button below. 

In this post I am going to tell you how to pay for college without loans.  As someone with three degrees I know that college can be expensive and no one wants to sit around and pay for college the rest of their life. So the more than you can pay for college up front, the the less likely it is that you are going to be in mountains and mountains of debt.

For many people who want to attend college it seems so out of reach because of the money aspect, especially when you are paying for college on your own. Some colleges, especially the ones that are private or Ivy League, can be expensive.  Like legit, you can buy a house with some of the tuition rates that you pay some of these schools. So in case you are in a position where you do not want to take out a loan then I am going to tell you, 10 actual ways to pay for college without loans.

1. How To Pay For College Without Loans FASFA

The first tip on how to pay for college without loans is the fasfa. This is the number one resource that anyone should go to if they want to go to college. The FASFA is the federal source for financial aid and it is based on NEED and not off merit.  All that really means is that if you have a C average and have no money to go to college, then you would probably get more assistance than someone who has all A’s and has more money than you do. As long as you have gotten into a college the FASFA will give you money and they do not consider your grades as a means to do so.

How to pay for college without loans ~ How does the FASFA work

The FASFA has to be done each year as close to January as possible. You will need your tax information or if you are a dependent on someone (such as your parents, boyfriend, or any other person claiming you on their taxes) you have to put them on there as well. The only way that you can use your own income information on FASFA is if you provide for your lifestyle on your own and no one else is claiming you as a dependent. As a tip to get the MOST free none loan money possible.

Ideally you want to be in a position where you are not anyone’s dependent. Meaning that your parents cannot claim you on their taxes nor can anyone else.  Because if you do not make that much money, and you provide for yourself, then you are more likely to get more grants and as I said before this is need based program. And a lower income shows that you are in need. But if you have someone claiming you as a dependent and they make $100,000 a year you would not get as much as say if you were making $25,000 a year.

Ways To Pay For College Without Loans ~ Case in point How It Works:

I had a friend in college that was having trouble paying their tuition in undergrad and they did not want to take out loans.  So they actually decreased their school load to part time over full time and got a full time job making $30,000 a year. Once they got a job and started paying for their own living they did not have to report their parents income on their FASFA and all they had to report was their income and since their income was less than their parents they got more assistance.

How To Pay For College On Your Own

2. How to pay for college without loans ~ Federal aid on the  FASFA can come in several ways.

  • Grants: which is money that is given to the school on your behalf and you do not have to pay back.

There may be certain grants in your state that you qualify for or certain grants that you can get due to your situation.  This includes the Pell Grant, which you qualify for if neither of your parents graduated from college. Wisconsin has a grant that you can qualify for simply because you want to go to college.

So does Georgia called the HOPE grant that if you go to a state university and you graduated from a high school in Georgia they pretty much pay for your college, and Texas has many additional grant options as well.  These grants do vary by state but since they are all federal financial aid, all you have to do is fill out the FASFA, tell them what state you are in, where you are going to school, and they will automatically tell you what grants you qualify for in that state.  Also click here to look up state specific grants.

  • Work Study: this is when you are provided with a part time job to assist you in paying for your expenses for school.

Work-study can be beneficial because it is often in your field and can provide valuable experience as well. I also spoke about work study as a great way to get a real job after college (read my blog here) so it can have many benefits aside from the money. But to be very real with you work study is not going to pay for your entire college.

They do not offer enough money. You can use work study as apart of a bigger plan to pay for college such as combining them with grants and scholarships but it is probably not going to pay your entire way. Now, if you really impress the place that you are doing the work study and manage to land a job there then that will be different as they would pay you higher salary than work study and additional money can go toward your tuition.  But this is only contingent upon you getting a full time job, otherwise work study probably pays closer to minimum wage.

  • Loans: So I know this is ways to pay for college without loans but I do want to educate you that FASFA will give you a way to pay for college as in they will cover your entire tuition cost.

AND for a lot of people that includes loans. Which is money that is given to the school on your behalf that you will have to pay back. Typically, you start paying back the loan when you graduate or stop taking classes.

The benefit of taking out a loan through FASFA is that since they are federal they tend to have a lower interest rate. Plus you don’t have to take out the entire loan amount. Meaning that if you can manage to get 75% of your tuition through the other avenues I mentioned that means you will only have to take out 25% of the loans instead of 100% of the loans.

3.  How to pay for college without loans ~ Scholarships

  • A Scholarship is money that is given to you, that you do not have to pay back. Scholarships can be as low as a couple of hundred bucks or high as paying for your whole college education; and can come in several different ways.

4. How To Pay For College Without Loans ~ Scholarships from School 

When you apply to a school, they may grant you a full or partial scholarship.  These scholarships can be given to you based on need and/or on merit.  Some schools provide scholarships for your entire education and some just for a semester or a year.  Some schools also have personal scholarships that you can apply for in addition to applying to the college or university.

So you want to make sure that whatever school you are going to, to look at their website to see if there are any scholarships that you can apply for that pertain to you. The scholarships can include one by your major, being a minority, low income, or being a woman. There are too many to even try to take a stab in the wind, so it is just best for you to check your individual school to see what your options are.

There are times in which the school will just grant you a scholarship without you having to do anything extra but apply to the school.  If you have a really high GPA or stand out in some way over the other applications, the school will offer you a scholarship. Normally this comes with your acceptance letter.

There are also athletic scholarships or scholarships that one receives from the school with the understanding that the student will participate in a certain school activity. This can include sports, band, or some other extra curricular activity. If this interest you then you should check directly with the school to see if they offer it for an activity that you specialize in. And I think that this goes without saying that in order to get an activity based scholarship you would really need to be exceptional at that specific activity.

5. Ways to Pay For College Without Loans ~ Private Scholarships 

There are an abundance of  these and they are pretty much everywhere. These scholarships are typically scholarships that you have to apply for and meet certain criteria. They too can range from a hundred dollars to your entire tuition. To make the most out of scholarships you want to apply for as many as you possibly can.

And to increase the chances of it covering your entire tuition ideally you want to go for scholarships that are in the thousands, full scholarships, or are annual scholarships.

6. How To Pay For College Without Loans ~ Places to look.

An Agency specific to you: A fashion company may offer scholarships to those who are majoring in fashion design or an agency may offer scholarships to low income people. the United Negro College Fund has scholarships for black people.

If you are a woman, are a minority, low income, first generation college student, or have a certain major then I can pretty much guarantee that there are specialized scholarships out there for you.  Other places you can look are a church, any organizations you volunteer for, or have even worked for.  It can be easier to get a scholarships from an organization if you have a personal relationship already.

As an FYI: It is very rare to find a scholarship program that is going to fund your entire full four-year education.  They do exist but they are rare and they are competitive, since many are based off merit. Meaning that you need to have the highest grades and your application really needs to stand out.

For this reason when you apply to scholarships that are private you should apply for as many as possible.  In addition, apply every year that you are in school, so you can try to fund as much of your education as possible. If you don’t know where to start you can use website like Fast Web to search for scholarships. 

7. How To Pay For College Without Loans Is Good Ole Fashion Work

Working to pay for college can be hard but it can be done as plenty of people do it all the time.  I am going to list some of the major options on how to work and pay for college below. But first I also want you to know that you may have to be open to being flexible.  For example, if you choose to work a full time job and choose to go to school part time then this is ALOT easier to pay for.

Part time tuition is cheaper and with you having more time to work you will be making more money which can go toward your tuition. My point is that when you are using your own income to pay for college depending on how much you make you may have to do some calculations on how this method can best work for you. Especially if you are not trying to take out any loans. Also consider checking out my video on how to find a good paying job even with no education or experiance.  And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel by clicking here. 

8. How To Pay For College Without Loans ~ Your Job Pays for School

  • Tuition assistance: Often times when a job pays for all or part of your school, you have to major in something that the company specializes in. 

For example, if you are working as a secretary for a law firm, they may pay for you to major in criminal justice or paralegal studies.  Because your schoolwork will help further your knowledge in your current position and they can use you for the future in the company.

They may not pay for you to become a wedding planner if you are working in a law firm since it has nothing to do with your current position. Also going about it this way can put you on the radar for a promotion once you finish school. I spoke about this topic in my how to get promoted blog.  The best way that you can get your job to pay for your school is that you really need to work for a large organization. Working for a small mom and pop shop is nice but they probably do not offer tuition assistance.  Bigger companies do and the tend to have more money to actually give you for tuition.

  • Work for a university: In undergrad, I used to work security for my University as a part time job I did not get any sort of assistance because I was only part time BUT  those who had full times jobs at the university were able to go to school for free for up to 6 credit hours. 

Sure, that is only part time school, but in the end it is free school. And if by chance you want to go full time let the university pay for 6 credits and you can also come up the rest to pay for the remaining classes on your own. The amount would not be as high since your job is literally paying for half.

  • Military or public service positions: If you join the military your entire college will be paid for with the GI Bill. Which is free money the military gives you to go to college.

PLUS, in the military as apart of your regular training they send you to specialized schools in which you can get additional certification (such as leadership school or military tactical training) and once again they flip the bill.  You can also consider jobs like being a firefighter, police officer, and some other public service job.

They may not pay for all of your college but they probably offer some type of assistance. And also like the military they send you to specialized schools as apart of your training that you can get certifications in. Since they are sending you there then they pay for it of course.

9. How to pay for college without loans ~ Community College and Technical College 

How To Pay For College On Your Own

Four-year universities can be expensive. If you are on a budget then it is better to go to a community college first or just stick to a community college for you entire education.  Community colleges are cheaper to attend and plus they often have all of the above financial aid options that I just mentioned.

It is much easier to fund an education via grants and scholarships with a community or even a technical college over a larger university. Technical colleges are very affordable, but they often offer certifications over degrees.  Like a cosmetology license or a mechanic certification.  If you want to take up a trade then a technical college may better for you over getting an entire bachelors or master degree that you are not going to use.

When looking at how to pay for college without loans community college is a great option. Your options for community college are up to you and many community colleges offer four years degrees, which would save you a lot of money as oppose to transferring to a four year university.  You can also get an associate’s degree in community college that may be all you need.

This is also a good option for single mothers (Click my blog here for single mom going back to school) who have limited income for school. But if you have dreams of attending a bigger university then you can get your associate degree from a community college and then transfer to a four-year university if you want.

Ideally you would have saved up some money over the years that you attended community college and you would have more money to spend on a four year college. Or your grades could have been so amazing in community college that now you  may qualify from some of those merit scholarships we spoke about earlier.

10. Ways to pay for college through monthly payments. 

There are some payment options for college.  Some colleges may require that you pay the entire semester or year before you start school. Meaning that if you want to pay without loans then that is MORE money you have to come up with. But many colleges do accept monthly payments.  Which means that you do not have to pay thousands of dollars in one shot but may only have to pay some hundred or a thousand dollars per month which is a lot more manageable. And if you can manage to get other financial aid opportunities, then the cost that you have to pay per month goes down.

So that is about it, that is just about every way that you can pay for school without taking out loans.  I mean unless you just want to sneak in the class for free and learn. At which case you cannot get a degree like that. Either way, I am sure you can see that it is VERY hard work but it is still possible.  If you know someone who may need to read this post then go ahead and share it with them.


  1. Great tips! Moving forward I think a lot more people will look at community colleges and technical schools to help save costs!

  2. Love the inspirations you’re sharing on this blog. Would you be interested in sharing some of your posts with our community on We have a lot of young writers and readers there who I think would get a lot out of what you’re sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.