Alternatives to Student Loans for College

Costs of college tuition have only been increasing in recent years. Most people talk to their parents about how to pay for college and then take out student loans. And generally, that process takes approximately 10 minutes.

Although student loans are beneficial, the primary thing to keep in mind about student loans is that they use potential income as leverage, unlike other debts, so they can’t be discharged into bankruptcies.

Consider these alternatives to student loans, rather than being complacent in funding your education. Here, let’s look at the most popular ways students can get financed for college, namely scholarships, work-studies, and grants.

Alternatives to Student Loans for College


Only 0.3% of students receive their university full-ride scholarships, but almost all students can earn several other scholarship funds to support college costs. Students can get money for anything and everything through scholarships.

Many universities provide their student body specific needs and merit-based scholarships. Athletes, honor students, and students involved in civic engagement should search for their university scholarship programs.

On the brighter side, students who aren’t all-star athletes or honors don’t need to despair. Private scholarships are available to everyone through civic organizations, businesses, and private individuals, charities, and government agencies.

Smaller amounts of scholarships and those requiring more tasks hold the best chance of returning on invested time, as these scholarships have smaller numbers of applicants. To cover university expenses, students as young as 13 up to those beginning their senior year of college can earn new scholarships.

Student Grants

The federal government, states, and several colleges are providing grants for those in need. A grant is financial assistance which need not be repaid.

Grants aim a wide range of students including those with financial needs, minority students, female students, students with disabilities, and students pursuing a particular field of study. Grants generally do not offset the full tuition cost, but they may be components of a complete student assistance package.

The most prevalent grant is the Federal Pell Grant, which provides up to $5,920 every student. In addition to the Pell Grant, the Department of Education is updating information on other Federally funded grants that should be considered by the students.

Students interested in non-federal grants can obtain information on State-specific grants on and can verify with their university’s financial assistance office to validate that the office has missed no grants.

Alternatives to Student Loans for College

Work-Study Programs

Federal work-study provides students with an opportunity to acquire work experience while still paying compensation. Many work-study positions are simple part-time roles like working in the dining hall or library.

Some universities make a real effort to offer job experience to students in relation to their area of study. Work-study job opportunities have other monetary advantages, in addition to work experience and a salary.

Work-study employment income is subject to federal and state tax, but this income is excluded from social security taxes. In relation, the revenue from work-study initiatives does not limit financial aid eligibility.

Doing a standard job decreases your eligibility for assistance by $0.50 for every dollar above $6,400 you receive in a year, but work-study has no impact like this.

Alternatives to Student Loans for College

Bottom Line

Student debts may seem inevitable. In reality, it may seem like the trend to take out loans with intentions to repay them after graduation. But you may be able to stop being one of the nearly 65 percent of college graduates with student loan debt with a little bit of effort and ingenuity.

Students must check out alternatives to student loans before needing to resort to borrowing. Even though the alternative methods do not cover all the costs of tuition and living expenses, they will ultimately decrease the amount you borrow.