If you want to study in the USA but don’t have the money to do so, it can seem impossible to realize your dreams of higher education abroad. But, if you put your mind to it, there are plenty of ways to make it happen, even if you’re on a shoestring budget. Here are 10 of the best ways you can find free or cheap education in the USA.
1. Work as an Intern
If you’re just starting out, becoming an intern is a great way to build up your resume, learn new skills and make valuable connections—while keeping all of your hard-earned money. Plus, some companies will even pay you. And although interns are typically relegated to menial work like fetching coffee and making copies, most have little trouble landing jobs with their employer once they graduate or leave their internship. Everyone wins: You get valuable experience, a potential professional connection and you don’t have to pay back student loans. Win/win/win!
2. Go to College Online
If you want to go to college but don’t want to pay, consider an online degree. It can take a while (you’ll have deadlines and assignments like you would at a brick-and-mortar school), but many students finish their bachelor’s degrees in less than three years. A few options: NYU offers degrees through Coursera; MIT, Harvard and Stanford all offer free online classes through edX; and Stanford also offers its own MOOCs on iTunes U. Other schools with MOOCs include Princeton, Duke, Rice, University of Virginia and Columbia University. Some may even help you apply for financial aid, so be sure to check their websites before choosing your program.
3. Get Involved with a Nonprofit
Nonprofits are often looking for interns or volunteers who can help them with tasks and projects. Interning or volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door at a nonprofit, build some contacts and learn more about how they operate. Getting involved with a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity can be an especially rewarding experience because you’ll not only put your skills to use but also potentially make connections with people who have similar interests and goals as you. The most important thing is to approach each organization that interest you from a non-profit-oriented mindset: How will what I’m doing benefit them? How might it not be worth their time? Are there ways I can contribute without spending my whole day there?
4. Use Grant Opportunities
For many young, ambitious students, it is a dream to study abroad. However, they soon find out that foreign study isn’t as affordable as advertised. According to an analysis from Bloomberg News of College Board data, tuition and fees have been rising faster than inflation since 1980. The U.S.’s top-ranked schools are no exception – Harvard (No. 1), Princeton (No. 2) and Yale (No. 3) cost $66,000-$69,000 per year just for tuition costs! But with a bit of work and research you can save big by taking advantage of financial aid opportunities at home and abroad
5. Create Your Own Luck!
There are so many ways that students can avoid paying high tuition fees while studying at a top-ranked college or university. If you’re wondering how you can study abroad, there are several ways—such as partnering with local organizations and making use of your network—that won’t cost you a dime. You just have to be smart about where you look. Check out our list of free opportunities below:1) The Amazon Smile program has a non-profit organization section that includes universities all across America. Choose one and make it your new favorite charity, then start using Amazon!
6. Start Saving Early!
If you want to study in America, it’s not always easy. There are plenty of expenses that you might have heard about – airfare, room and board, textbooks and much more. But what if I told you that there are ways to reduce these costs? The key is starting early – sometimes it takes months or even years for various expenses to work themselves out. If you start saving right now, however, you’ll save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on everything from books to flights. Here are some great tips
7. Consider Applying for Scholarships and Loans Now
Grants and scholarships are a great way to pay for your degree, with little-to-no interest charged. They do not need to be paid back. You will also have time to think about other options, as you won’t have a looming due date on loans. Plus, if you are admitted early (or decide you want to re-enroll), financial aid can help offset tuition costs. Here’s what you should know about scholarship deadlines: The federal deadline is June 30th of your senior year; however, many universities start accepting applications much earlier—between August and November of junior year is common.
8. Shop Around on Campus For The Best Experience!
Many schools offer US study abroad programs, so students can get credit at their home institution while taking classes on a different campus. It’s an awesome opportunity, but if you’re looking for free studying in America, it can be an expensive option. Search your school’s study abroad program and see if they have a program that matches what you want: location, course offerings, length of stay. Compare programs to find out which might give you everything you want without charging fees. Even if your school doesn’t offer credits-based programs elsewhere, most still allow students to take non-credit courses through off-campus organizations with no or low tuition cost. Do some research and ask around about these options because not every school is aware of all their opportunities or how to access them!
9. Show Up To Class, Stay Engaged, and Ask Questions
You’ve made it through orientation and registration. Now what? To get a free education, you’ll need to dedicate some time to your studies each week. Generally, that means about two hours per credit hour. For full-time study, expect to set aside around 12 hours per week of class time, more if you are planning on working on projects outside of class. Make sure you show up on time and stay engaged during lectures—you don’t want your professor thinking you’re there just for free food! And remember: professors are there to help—they want their students to learn and succeed; be sure you take advantage of office hours or email them with questions when needed.
10. Aim Higher – Don’t Be Afraid To Fail… It Will Happen. Trust Me.
Going to college means there’s always a chance that you could fail a class. It’s part of what makes learning exciting and fun – we get out of it what we put into it. If you want to avoid failing, then don’t try, or at least don’t expect much. But if you have big goals, aim high, and work hard towards those goals, then be open to experiencing failure along the way. You will learn more from one failure than you will from staying comfortably within your comfort zone and avoiding ever stepping outside of it. And ultimately, it won’t really matter whether or not you pass all your classes because of…