Everybody’s had that thought in the back of their head. Y’know, I could just quit this and take up stripping. You could, although I heard it doesn’t offer the best healthcare benefits. But the question remains, how can we pay off our hungry student loans? The ones that wait for the day you walk across that stage so they can swallow you whole? Allow these financial experts, alumni, Federal Work-Study students and part-time students to suggest some alternative ways to pay off your student loans without showing any skin.
1. Join your school’s work study program.
A work-study program allows you to work on campus and have your paycheck go directly towards your tuition, almost like a direct deposit. Here’s a little known fact: Income from the Federal Work-Study program doesn’t affect your financial aid like a regular job does. So if you land a sweet on-campus job with flexible hours (they usually are), you’ll still get your regular flow of money from FAFSA. Work-study student at the University of Maryland Liriam Quintanilla said that although she works a lot, it’s on her own terms. “It’s a big work load and it’s all my choice because I tell my boss I’ll come in on those days. It pays off, though. Literally.” Bet you didn’t know that work-study students get all the perks, like behind the scene access at sports games, not needing a car to get to work and getting closer to faculty who can help you out in the long run. It turns out your school’s work-study program is worth checking out for more reasons than one.
2. Get a job… or two… or three.
If you hold down three jobs while simultaneously taking a full schedule of classes, you win at life— but I can’t say I’d trade places with you. The struggle between scoring As and scoring a paycheck can sometimes feel out of balance, but it doesn’t have to become a nightmare. University of Maryland sophomore Alex Bryant sided with the Greek when it comes to getting a job: Know thyself . “Having a job while taking classes can be a handful at times. Really, it depends on the workload you think you can take.” Maybe you’re that over-achieving superhuman who can maintain a 4.0 and two paid gigs, but no one’s expecting you to keep up that act. You might consider the reverse alternative: getting a job and going to school part time. The choice is yours.
3. Get creative with online money-makers.
Univeristy of Tampa alumni Ryan Haynes said an article on Facebook led him to an easy way to pay off his debt. I knew surfing Facebook on a 24/7 basis would pay off eventually. Through mindless News Feed scrolling, Haynes found his way to thepennyhoarder.com, one of the many websites that will help you make money and not spend it on beer (if you’re smart). “I started with a few websites, mostly the ones you can make money for doing surveys on. When I make around $100, I can cash out, and the money is sent to my PayPal account.” This time it definitely pays to be a millennial, with our tech-savvy abilities and social media awareness.
4. Sell yourself—Just kidding, sell your abilities.
This requires some self-evaluation. What can you do? What are you good at? Hopefully your answers are lucrative, and you can become the next Mark Zuckerberg. Maybe sewing is your passion, and you need a little push to get that scarf business off the ground. Maybe you’re like Aliyah Crooks, student and business owner at the University of Maryland, who began Rebellious Hylights Boutique while in college. According to Crooks, all great businesses start with a thought. “I began my business with just a thought of how successful I could become in this fast-paced world. I looked everywhere for a job; I prayed day and night, and I was told I was to be a business owner at the young age of 17. I did my research and began my boutique.” Whatever your talent, you can always make money from it and use that to pay off that annoying college debt. She continued, “If there is something you’re good at… take that and run with it. Start a team or a league. There are so many opportunities out here for everyone to take advantage of. Don’t take this time for granted; pursue school and follow your dreams.”
5. Get rid of the stuff you aren’t using.
It’s springtime and it turns out that outfit actually doesn’t fit you any more. Neither does that one. Actually, none of this fits. What are you going to do? Selling your stuff provides a simple and easy way to make money, we’ve all known this since the dawn of time. But what about bigger items? Junior Jennifer Rowley at New York University said that selling her car was one of the best choices she’s ever made. “It came to the point where I realized: I’ve been going to NYU and living in New York where cars are super unnecessary. I’ve got these ridiculous loans to deal with, and here’s this gas guzzling car just making things worse.” Evaluate some of those high-cost items in your life that fuel your debt and see if you can trim the fat a little. You’ll thank me in the end.