When you’re getting ready to head off to college, the feedback that floods in is consistent. Parents, older siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends all tell you, get ready for the best four years of your life. But what they don’t emphasize, is the price tag that’s associated with school.
Tuition can be expensive, and when you include experiences such as studying abroad, collegiate athletics and other extracurricular activities, the already hefty cost continues to increase. For some students that means relying on student loans to make ends meet as you make your way through school.
You wouldn’t want to trade your college experience for anything. Chances are that you’d be happy to say adios to your student loans (See, that semester abroad is paying off!). If that’s the case, it may be worth picking up a job while you’re a student.
Additional income could mean you have to borrow less in the coming years, or have more money to enjoy the perks of being a college student.
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More than 40% of undergraduate students work more than 20 hours a week, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to keep up with school and a job. Most college students are familiar with working in the retail or service industry, but if you’re looking for a job that can offer more than just a paycheck, consider these options:
Related: How do student loans affect your credit score?
If you’re going to work, why not get school credit and a new title on your resume?
Some colleges allow approved internships to count as class credit, so if you’re worried about balancing school and work, a paid internship might just do the trick.
Don’t want to work during the school year? Summer can be a great time to focus on a career-boosting internship without distracting you from your coursework.
Securing a paid internship can be competitive, so apply early and make sure your application materials are compelling and complete. Internships can provide valuable learning opportunities and some of the top-rated internships even offer the opportunity for full-time employment.
You’ve been hitting the books and now it’s time to put all of that newfound knowledge to good use. You may be paying for your education, but there are also people out there willing to pay you to share what you’ve learned.
Consider tutoring other college students or younger students in your area of expertise. If you’re looking to tutor independently without the assistance of a service, review websites like Tutor or Craigslist to see what tutors in your area are charging. Rates will vary based on location, subject matter and your experience level.
Babysitting can be another option if you’re looking for flexibility. You can schedule jobs for weekends or nights if you’re worried about work conflicting with your school schedule.
As a bonus, you can squeeze in some studying while the little ones are asleep! If you’re not sure what to charge, check out Care.com’s handy babysitter rate calculator which takes your location and experience into consideration.
Give a ride
Driving for a service like Uber or Lyft means you’re never held to a work schedule you may not be able to keep up with. Need to cram for an exam? There’s no need to call in “sick” from work. The Ridester 2018 Independent Driver Earnings Survey estimates that Uber drivers earn an average of around $13 plus tips. Not too bad for a shift you can squeeze in between classes.
Jobs with perks
These are all great part-time job options that can help you pay for college, but what if you can find a job that not only pays you a salary but also pays for your tuition? Major companies like Best Buy, Smucker’s, Publix and Comcast may offer stipends or reimbursements towards college tuition and expenses such as books.
Note that some of these programs are only available to full-time employees. But some companies offer these benefits to part-time employees as well. At Publix, for example, any associate with six months of continuous service who works an average of 10 hours a week is eligible to participate in the company’s tuition reimbursement program.
Starbucks has gone the extra mile by partnering with Arizona State University (ASU) to create the Starbucks College Achievement Plan which offers 100% tuition coverage for a first-time bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program. All employees eligible for benefits (this includes part-time employees) may take advantage of this program.
If an employee doesn’t qualify for admission to ASU, they can take part in the Pathway to Admission program, which will help them qualify for admission, tuition-free. Not to mention, employees get a free bag of coffee every single week. Those beans sure could come in handy during your next all-night cram session.
What’s your major?
If it’s not too late to change your major, you may want to consider choosing one that will help you find a lucrative career that may make it easier for you to focus on loan repayment.
Mathematics and computer science (median income: $99,000), health and medical preparatory programs ($74,000), nuclear engineering ($98,100), electrical engineering ($99,000) and actuarial science ($80,000) are five of the most valuable college majors.
If you were an English major, don’t panic. While humanities students may not always (but they totally can) have as high of earning potential as STEM majors, they can bring home pretty hefty salaries too. The following jobs are some of the top-paying jobs that humanities majors can expect to land.
If you have creative, communicative and critical thinking skills then consider a career as a proposal manager (mid-career pay: $83,000), communications director ($80,300), content strategist ($71,700), content marketing manager ($70,500) or an instructional designer ($69,600).
Art, literature, philosophy and history play such an important part in many industries. You can apply your humanity centered strengths to many lucrative careers.
Help is here
It may take a few years before you reach your full earning potential as the entry-level salary struggle is real.
If that college degree landed you the job, but also with a bit of student loan baggage, then you may want to consider refinancing your student loans.
If you have a strong credit history and earning potential (among other factors), you could qualify for a lower interest rate when you refinance your student loans, which could mean you pay less money in interest over the life of the loan.
To get an idea of how refinancing could impact your student loans, take a look at our student loan refinancing calculator. For even more assistance with paying off your loans, consider applying to companies that pay for college. That’s right! There are employers out there who will contribute to your student loans.
In order to attract top talent, employers know they need to offer the most competitive benefits. Major household names like Penguin Random House, Aetna, Live Nation and Fidelity Investments offer loan forgiveness assistance to employees.
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