10 Ways To Pay For College Without Going Into Debt

attending college without student loans

Have you been trying to think of ways to pay for college without going into debt? The average student loan debt for the class of 2021 was $37,014. The average student loan payment is between $354 and $541 per month according to Education Initiative.

Most people think that the only way to pay for college costs is by taking out student loans. However, there are other ways to finance your education without accruing debt.

attending college without student loans

In this article, we will discuss some of these methods so that you can make the best decision for yourself. Keep in mind that each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research before making a final decision.

What Are Some Ways To Pay For College Without Going Into Debt

Going to a community college your first two years can add up to substantial savings. 41% of first-time freshman students attend a community college. According to the College Board, the average annual tuition for Community College is $3,430 compared to $9,410 for a four-year public school.

You’ve heard jokes about how smart people don’t attend a community college, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You'll take the same introductory level classes and use the same textbooks as those in a four-year school. If you attend a four-year school after community college, your degree will be from the four-year college. 

Another thing to consider is that only about 20 percent of students in the United States don't change their major at least once during their college career. The average student changes their major at least three times.  

People tell you not to worry about college debt because you need a degree to get a good job. But you also need to consider the future of your finances.  How are you going to buy a house or a car if you have the burden of school loans for the next 20 years?

1. Scholarships

There are scholarships available for a variety of qualifications, not just grades, and sports. These include cultural and community experiences, background, location, the area of study, and various accomplishments. Using a scholarship search engine is an easy way for your kids to look through thousands of scholarships and grants.

Your high school is a good place to begin your search for scholarships, but there are also additional resources online. Collegeboard.org and Fastweb.com both require you to create a profile to access scholarship information. Niche.com and Moolahspot.com are also good sites to find additional funds.

2. Local Scholarships

Many students don't realize that there are often scholarships available right in their own community. Local businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations and other groups often offer scholarships to students who live in the area or who are attending a local college or university.

These scholarships can be a great way to offset the cost of tuition, and they may be easier to obtain than some of the more competitive national scholarships. To find out if any local scholarships are available, students should start by checking with their school's financial aid office or by doing a quick online search.

By taking advantage of these local opportunities, students can save money on their education and reach their academic goals.

3. Work-Study

One of the ways to pay for college without a loan is through a work-study program. When you apply for financial aid, make sure you indicate that you are interested in the Federal Work-Study program. This program allows full or part-time students at community colleges and four-year universities to work.  Student employment offers help covering your expenses as well as job experience.

If you don't qualify for work-study, consider looking for a part-time job. You can find jobs online for college students or you can look for odd jobs like pet sitting, teaching, and dog walking, as well as work related to your studies.

4. Employer Reimbursement

Many companies offer tuition reimbursement, and some have plans to help you pay for all or most of your education.  They all have different requirements, so you need to do some research to find the best option for you.  


Starbucks has a program that covers all tuition for a four-year, online degree from Arizona State University.  The cost of tuition at this university is about $15,000 per year.

According to U.S. News & World Report, ASU is ranked number one in the nation for “the most innovative university.”  The professors who teach at the campus also teach online courses. So you can be confident that you're receiving a quality education.

Full-time and part-time employees can participate in this program. The University has six different start dates available to students. Once you get your degree, you are not obligated to continue working at Starbucks.


Chipotle offers an educational assistance program that allows employees to earn a degree with Chipotle paying up to $5250 per year. Other benefits include 401k, paid time off, a healthcare package that includes eye and dental, bonuses and free meals.

Other companies you might consider are UPS, Chrysler, Home Depot, and Verizon.

5. Grants

Grants are one of the best ways to pay for school for students who demonstrate financial need. These funds are available through federal and state government, private organizations and some universities. If your family earnings are less than $180,000, the federal government will likely cover all or part of your tuition for a community college.  To receive this benefit you have to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit on your taxes.

If your family income is under $50,000, you should qualify for a Pell grant of up to $5815. To find out if you're eligible for financial aid you must first fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.

Students who are seniors this fall will be able to apply for financial aid for college by submitting the FAFSA in October using income tax information from their parents’ tax returns. You can find more information at www.fafsa.gov.

6. Financial Aid Appeals

Many families encounter financial difficulties at some point, and these setbacks can have a major impact on a student's ability to pay for college. Fortunately, most colleges will allow families to submit a financial aid appeal in order to request additional assistance.

In order to be approved for an appeal, families typically need to provide documentation of their financial hardship, as well as evidence that they are still taking steps to responsibly manage their finances.

Appeals are usually reviewed on a case-by-case basis, so there is no guarantee that every family who applies will receive additional aid. However, the process is often worth pursuing for families who are struggling to cover the cost of college.

7. No-Loan Colleges

Amherst College and Stanford University are two well-known examples of schools that have adopted a “no-loan” policy for financial aid. This means that instead of offering loans as part of their financial aid packages, they aim to meet each student's need with scholarships, grants and work-study.

This policy is often motivated by the desire to make higher education more accessible to students from lower- or moderate-income households. As a result, these schools typically have a more socioeconomically diverse student body than their peers.

In addition to increasing access, the no-loan policy also has the potential to reduce the overall cost of attendance, as students will not have to incur the interest and fees associated with loans.

8. Early College

Early college programs are a great way for high school students to get a head start on their college education. These programs allow students to take college courses at participating institutions, often for free or at a reduced cost. This can be a great way to earn college credit while still in high school.

Dual enrollment programs can also help students transition from high school to college, as they can get a taste of what college life is like. If you're considering early college, be sure to check with your high school guidance counselor or your local community college to see if there are any programs available in your area.



The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a military training program that helps prepare college students for leadership roles in the armed forces.

One of the benefits of the program is that it offers scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, fees and books, or room and board. The scholarship program is open to both full-time and part-time students, and it can be used at any ROTC-affiliated school.

In order to be eligible, students must meet certain academic and physical requirements. For example, they must maintain a minimum GPA and participate in monthly physical fitness training. In addition, they must complete a summer training program between their sophomore and junior years of college.

Students who complete the ROTC program are typically commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army, Air Force or Marine Corps. The ROTC scholarship program is an excellent way to help pay for college while also preparing for a career in the military.

10. Education Without A Degree

These days, it's easier than ever to gain new skills and knowledge. If you're interested in learning more about a particular subject, but you don't want to commit to a formal education program, there are plenty of free online courses available. Many of these courses are offered by world-renowned universities, and they cover a wide range of topics.

Whether you're looking to brush up on your grammar skills or learn about quantum physics, there's sure to be a course that's right for you. Best of all, you can complete these courses at your own pace, and you'll have access to them for as long as you need.

So if you're ready to start learning, there's no excuse not to take advantage of the wealth of free online courses that are available.


edX is one of the most popular online learning platforms, offering courses from top universities around the world. If you're looking for a serious and legitimate online education, edX is a great option.

The courses are well-designed and taught by top instructors from reputable institutions. In addition, edX offers a wide range of courses, so you're sure to find one that meets your needs. Whether you're looking to improve your job prospects or simply learn something new, edX is a great choice.


Coursera offers free online courses from top universities. Coursera works with the top universities and tech companies like:

  • Stanford
  • Duke
  • Penn
  • University of Michigan
  • Imperial College London
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Google
  • IBM

You can access the courses from your computer or mobile device. The courses are self-paced and you can start and stop whenever you want. You can also audit the courses for free. If you want to earn a certificate, you can pay a fee.

The courses are flexible and you can complete them at your own pace. You can also choose to receive feedback from your instructors. Coursera offers a variety of courses that are interesting and informative. You can learn about different subjects and topics. Coursera is a great resource for learning.

YouTube has free lectures from all the major universities as well as TED Talks and information from the Smithsonian Institute.

student loans for financial need
10 Ways To Pay For College Without Going Into Debt 4

What Is The Most Common Way To Pay For College

For most students, the costs of attending college go far beyond tuition and fees. There are also the costs of room and board, textbooks, and other necessary supplies. As a result, many students rely on financial aid to help cover the cost of attendance.

The most common type of financial aid is student loans. Federal student loans are available to all eligible students and typically have lower interest rates than private loans. In addition, federal student loans offer various repayment options, which can help make the loan more affordable.

Private student loans are another option for financing college, but they typically have higher interest rates and fewer repayment options. As a result, federal student loans are the most common way to pay for college.

Federal Student Loans

Federal loans are a type of financial aid available to help students pay for their education. The federal government makes the loans, and they have fixed interest rates. There are two types of federal loans: Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Direct Subsidized Loans are need-based loans, which means that the government will pay the interest on the loan while you're in school.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based, which means that you will be responsible for paying the interest on the loan while you're in school. You can choose to defer your payments until after you graduate, but your interest will accrue and be added to your principal balance if you do this.

Federal student aid offers many benefits, such as fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. If you're considering taking out a federal student loan, talk to your financial aid advisor to see if it's the right option for you to pay for college.

Private Student Loans

For many students, private loans are essential to financing their education. Private student loans are typically used to supplement federal loans, which have more lenient eligibility requirements and lower interest rates.

Private student loans can be used for educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, and supplies. Some private lenders also offer loan forgiveness programs, which can help borrowers manage their debt after graduation.

When considering a private student loan, it is important to compare interest rates and terms from multiple lenders. Be sure to review the repayment options and deferment policies before making a final decision. Taking the time to carefully research your options can help you find the best possible deal on a private student loan.

How Do I Pay For College If I Have No Money

It's no secret that college is expensive. But what do you do if you have no money to pay for college costs? Here are a few options to consider.

  • First, try to find schools that are either tuition-free or have very low tuition rates. Several schools across the country fit these criteria, including many community colleges.
  • Second, fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see if you qualify for any grants or scholarships. These forms are available online and at most financial aid offices.
  • Third, look into merit-based scholarships. Many schools offer these scholarships to students with high GPAs or test scores.
  • Fourth, don't be afraid to ask for help from family or friends. They may be able to contribute to your college costs.
  • Another option is ROTC, which can provide you with money for school and a job after graduation.
  • Finally, try to trim your academic expenses by taking classes online or choosing a less expensive school. You may also get employer reimbursement for some of your education costs.


So, there you have it. A list of ways to pay for college without student loans. Of course, there are other ways to pay for school, but these methods are a great place to start.

And remember, if you do end up taking out student loans, make sure you only borrow what you need and try to find the best interest rates possible. With a little bit of planning and some hard work, you can graduate from college without any student loan debt hanging over your head. Good luck!