8 Ways to Afford Private College

One of the top concerns students have when choosing a college is cost. Of all the items students want in a college, price is often the factor that feels inflexible. This is especially true for private colleges that offer students a more personalized college experience, but often at a higher cost. However, you may be surprised by how many options exist to make college more affordable. With a little creativity and work, you won’t have to give up all your other wants due to the price tag!

To provide you with a helpful list of your options, we met with Multnomah University’s Director of Financial Aid, Stephen Buckland. Stephen offered us insight into eight ways to afford private college.

1. Fill Out the FAFSA

To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While most students qualify for some form of financial aid by filling out the FAFSA, only 61% of students complete the form. Not only is the application free to submit, but by not completing the FAFSA, you may leave thousands of dollars in student aid on the table! A little-known secret is that the earlier you apply, the more aid you are likely to receive. So, be sure to fill out your FAFSA as soon as it opens on October 1st each year!

“It is ok to feel a little intimidated by the FAFSA. The Multnomah Financial Aid Department is happy to help its accepted students fill out the form.”

2. Search for Private Scholarship Opportunities

There are countless private scholarships across the country offered for everything from your GPA to your hobbies! You can use online search engines to find scholarship opportunities outside your college like Scholarships.com. High school guidance counselors and local county organizations can also help students find scholarship opportunities right in their community.

3. Get a Work-Study Job.

Filling out the FAFSA will let you know if you are eligible for work-study. Additionally, schools will often have student employment programs you can apply to even if you don’t qualify for work-study. You can also search for jobs within the local community. On-campus positions can occasionally be limited regarding the hours available to work. However, student worker jobs often allow flexibility around your class schedule and help you get plugged into your college community.

“Multnomah’s Financial Aid Department can help students choose the right job for them. You can also meet with our Career Services team for similar help!”

4. Explore Cost-Effective Living Options Like Becoming a RA.

Living on-campus can have a significant impact on your college experience. It is a time to make life-long friends and get plugged into your community. However, it can also be pricy. Often, blogs will recommend options like living at home or off-campus as a cost-effective solution. While this is the best option for some, we believe dorm life is crucial to the college experience. That is why it is worth taking the time to meet with your financial aid office to find ways to make on-campus living more affordable. Becoming a Resident Assistant (RA) not only provides great leadership experience, but colleges often offer their RAs discounted cost of living.

5. Start a Side Business.

The phrase side hustle has lost some of its glamor over the years, but college can still be a great time to apply what you are learning toward your passions. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique talent like baking, crafting, or photography, college can be the ideal space to launch your dream small business! As an added bonus, you may be able to help pay for college while you are at it!

6. Create a Financial Plan

Having a plan can be half the battle of financial worries. While planning can’t solve everything, when you have a good understanding of the out-of-pocket cost of college early on, creating a financial plan allows for more educated decisions. If nothing else, having a financial plan can save you from a lot of the stress and anxiety that comes from an unforeseen bill.

“The earlier you apply, the earlier you determine the out-of-pocket cost of attending a college. From there, your school’s financial aid department can start helping you plan and find resources to help make college more affordable.”

7. Apply for Loans

While taking out student loans is not the ideal first choice to afford college, it may be necessary. Your school’s financial aid department can help you navigate the pros and cons of a federal loan versus a private loan to make the best choice for you.

8. Meet With Your School’s Financial Aid Department

By now, it should be clear that your school’s Financial Aid department is a crucial resource for finding ways to make private college more affordable. At Multnomah University, our Financial Aid team is ready to help its students when they first apply to Multnomah and throughout their entire time as students. You can learn more about our Financial Aid options at multnomah.edu/tuition-financial-aid.

“Once you are accepted to a college, you can continue to apply for scholarships within the university! Our Financial Aid department offers accepted students several options to explore.”

You can call or text our Financial Aid department anytime at (503) 251-5335. However, the best way to learn more about affording the outstanding private Christian education Multnomah has to offer is to come and meet with our Financial Aid staff in person. Sign up to visit Multnomah today at multnomah.edu/visit.

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Apply your federal and institutional aid to any of the Multnomah University approved study abroad programs.

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All incoming undergrad students receive institutional aid

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MU funds over $3,000,000 in student aid every year.

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Nearly every student at MU receives financial aid