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How to Get Paid to Go to School [9 Options for 2023]

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Yes, there are lots of channels for making money without a degree. But are you aware that those with the highest degrees earn, on average, three times as much as those with the lowest education levels?

Getting a good degree is something that almost everyone has considered. However, not everyone enjoys the thought of being burdened with student loans.

Fortunately, you can now get the best of both worlds: a college education without going bankrupt. Continue reading to find out about nine different ways to get paid to go to school.

Can You Get Paid to Go to School?

Yes, you can get money for your education, either in full or in part, through several sources. It could be from your current employer, military service, financial aid, or a variety of other options.

However, each of the nine sources we’ll discuss has different eligibility requirements that vary depending on individual circumstances.

How Much Can You Make by Going to School

The amount of money you’ll get for college primarily depends on the source.

To explain, assume you’re a military veteran, in which case you can receive up to $4,500 in tuition benefits.

Whereas, if you enroll in a financial aid program offered by some universities, you can have all your tuition costs covered.

The Best Ways to Get Paid to Go to School (Overview)


Full List of Ways to Get Paid to Go to School

We’ve included an overview of our top picks above. For a full list and detailed information on each pick, scroll down.

  1. Campaign for Free College Tuition
  2. Your Current Employer
  3. Federal Student Aid
  4. Scholarships.com
  5. Nearby Community College
  6. AmeriCorps
  7. Military
  8. Your College
  9. American Opportunity Tax Credit

What You’ll Need to Get Paid to Go to School

Not everyone can get paid to go to school; you’ll need to meet certain criteria. The following are the most common things you can have to increase your eligibility:

  • Tuition Benefits: Tuition benefits allow you to receive all or a portion of your college funds. You can obtain such benefits from different institutions, like your job (if it provides them) or the military.
  • Financial Need: You’re eligible for financial assistance via several sources if you can prove that your financial situation prevents you from pursuing an education, such as getting into college through their financial aid programs or applying for grants.
  • Unique Talent: Many universities seek students with unique talents, which is why they offer various scholarships. It could be related to sports, the arts, or personal skills.

Where to Get Paid to Go to School

While there are many ways to earn money for your education, there are nine popular and reliable options for doing so:

1. Campaign for Free College Tuition

screenshot of the campaign for free college tuition homepage

The Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making free education available at public colleges and universities across the country.

More than half of the states in the United States have now entered the program’s green zone. This means these states either have free college tuition programs with few eligibility restrictions or have sponsored free college tuition programs with some limitations.

Related: Freebies for Students

How Much You Can Make

Check the CFCT website to see where your state stands in relation to the program. If you want to have all your educational expenses paid for, look into the states colored in dark green on the map displayed on their site.

What Makes This Option Great

This campaign believes in the power of education to positively impact society, so they’re paying citizens to get their degrees.

You can attend college at zero expense in various locations. And they’re widely accessible in many states, and it continues to expand to this date.

2. Your Current Employer

Many corporations provide college tuition reimbursement programs for their employees. If you already have a job, ask about these benefits.

According to a Statista 2020 survey, 47% of employers in the United States offer them.

If you’re still looking for work and plan on going to college, we recommend you start applying to organizations that offer these programs.

How Much You Can Make

The amount reimbursed will differ between companies. For example, Chipotle can offer its employees full tuition coverage for specific career certificates and up to $5,250 for other degrees. While working for Fidelity entitles you to reimbursement up to 90%, with a maximum annual cap of $10,000 for work-rated programs.

However, keep in mind that not every organization will pay you money for any degree. Some companies—like Fidelity— will only pay for education related to their line of work.

What Makes This Option Great

Getting tuition reimbursement from corporations is one of the simplest routes that involve relatively little effort and requirements.

It’s also a great deal to have a consistent source of income from your job while also having your educational expenses reduced or, in some cases, eliminated.

And studying for career-related certificates expands your knowledge and skill set, which may lead to a generous pay raise or promotion down the road.

Related: Jobs With the Best Work-Life Balance

3.Federal Student Aid

screenshot of the federal student aid homepage

Whether you’re planning to attend college or graduate school, you can apply for financial aid by visiting the Federal Student Aid website. To request funding for your education, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Your application will then be reviewed for eligibility. If it’s determined that you’re unable to cover tuition costs, you’ll be offered different reimbursement options based on your situation. They can take the form of loans, grants, scholarships, or other alternatives.

Related: Earnest Student Loan Refinance Reviews

How Much You Can Make

The Federal Student Aid program tailors the amount of money it gives to students based on their individual circumstances.

They take into account plenty of factors, one of which is the cost of attendance (COA), which is the total expenses associated with going to school. These expenses include tuition, books, supplies, transportation, etc.

They also consider the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which they calculate themselves using the information they have on your family, such as their assets, taxable and nontaxable income, family size, and so on.

What Makes This Option Great

You’ll be able to receive educational loans without having to worry about credit scores. You should be aware that you’ll need to repay these loans with interest, but you’ll have several repayment plans to suit your needs.

But if you qualify for opportunities such as the Pell Grant or work-study, you won’t be saddled with any debt.

Another advantage of this option is that you must submit the FAFSA form each year; it’s not a one-time deal. This means that if you experience a financial setback in any year, you may be eligible for an increase in tuition funding.

4. Scholarships.com

screenshot of the scholarships.com homepage

Scholarships.com is a perfect place to start your search for a scholarship that best fits your profile. Landing one is your shortcut to receiving money for your education.

College scholarships are available from several sources, including private institutions, federal aid, and the state. Using websites like Scholarships.com can help you quickly narrow down your search.

And there are mainly two types of scholarships that you can apply for:

  1. Merit-based: Awarded based on your academic achievements (such as a high GPA) and athletic or artistic abilities.
  2. Need-based: Granted when you prove your inability to fund your education due to your financial situation.

How Much You Can Make

Scholarships don’t have a set pay scale. A full-ride scholarship will cover all of your college expenses. However, it’s more of an uphill battle as you must meet strict criteria like achieving academic excellence or being an elite athlete.

Other opportunities abound, some of which will significantly lower your tuition costs while others will only take off a small portion.

Scholarships.com allows you to search for scholarships based on the amount of money you need to get.

What Makes This Option Great

Scholarships are generally not repaid; you could say they’re a form of passive income for college students.

Scholarships.com has an unrivaled database and filtering system that’ll help you find the right one in no time. You’ll also enjoy navigating it thanks to its user-friendly interface.

5. Nearby Community College

Community college is an option worth considering for anyone who doesn’t intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree. It offers two-year programs leading to an associate degree.

Although it has incredibly low tuition costs in comparison to other universities, you can still join at a reduced rate or for free.

How Much You Can Make

Check with your local community college about the types of grants and scholarships they offer to get a better idea of how much they can cover.

The good news is that you can have all of your community college fees paid for. You can do so by filling out the FAFSA to apply for the Pell Grant, and if you meet the eligibility requirements, you won’t have to pay a dime. And this grant has a maximum award of $7,395 for 2023 to 2024.

What Makes This Option Great

Aside from having the chance to get an associate degree at a low cost, community colleges come with a slew of other benefits.

They open the door to many high-paying jobs, with an average annual salary of $41,496 and the potential to earn $70,000 or more.

Community colleges also have flexible schedules most of the time, which is convenient if you have or plan to have side hustles. And since their classes are usually small, it’s easier for everyone to get the help they need from professors and instructors.

6. AmeriCorps

screenshot of the AmeriCorps homepage

If you’re an AmeriCorps member or plan to join, you can expect to get education funding through the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

For reference, AmeriCorps is an independent United States government agency recruiting volunteers to serve non-profit organizations.

Related: Get Paid to Be a Foster Parent

How Much You Can Make

The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award offers the same amount as the Pell Grant for the fiscal year, which is currently set at a maximum of $7,395. As the value of the Pell Grant changes, so will the AmeriCorps award.

Keep in mind that there are specific qualifications for this award. One of these is completing 12 months in the following programs:

  • AmeriCorps NCCC
  • AmeriCorps State and National
  • AmeriCorps VISTA

What Makes This Option Great

Joining this organization not only has the potential to pay for tuition fees, but it also looks good on resumes. You’ll learn some fascinating skills during your service that almost all employers value, such as leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork.

You’ll also be eligible for a variety of other benefits, including a living allowance that covers your basic expenses.

7. Military

There are many opportunities to have your tuition fee partially or entirely covered if you’re in the military or have a family member who is. They offer various programs that have different eligibility requirements and benefits; here are three of them:

  • Tuition Assistance
  • GI Bill Programs
  • Loan Repayment

Related: Small Business Ideas for Veterans

How Much You Can Make

The amount you can get to go to college depends on the program you apply for.

For example, Tuition Assistance is available to almost all servicemembers, with each service branch having its own eligibility criteria. You can expect this program to cover up to 100% of your tuition fee while not exceeding $4,500 per fiscal year.

And the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty program is only available to members who have served at least two years on active duty. It pays up to $2,210 per month for full-time institutional education.

8. Your College

Becoming a resident advisor or assistant (RA) is an excellent way to get the full college experience while saving money on your education.

Each college has different criteria, responsibilities, and benefits for its RAs. But, generally, you won’t be able to apply until your sophomore year, and your duties will be primarily guiding and supporting undergrads.

How Much You Can Make

The types of reimbursement you’ll receive as a RA vary by college. That said, lots of colleges offer reduced tuition, meal plans, and free housing.

What Makes This Option Great

As a RA, you’ll have many privileges that’ll severely lower your educational costs. You’ll also get the chance to participate in communities and make numerous social connections. Add to that the skills you’ll gain while on duty, and you’ll have a quite powerful resume.

What Makes This Option Great

It’s great that you won’t be limited to a single source of funding; if one program doesn’t work out, chances are the next one will.

Having a wide range of funding programs increases your options for where you can get your education. There are even military scholarships available.

9. American Opportunity Tax Credit

screenshot of the American Opportunity Tax Credit homepage

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) helps tax-paying students or their parents reduce the cost of college tuition through tax credits.

Some of the major requirements for students to qualify for an AOTC include pursuing a degree or other recognized educational qualification and not having a felony drug conviction at the end of the fiscal year.

Related: Pay Taxes as Self Employed

How Much You Can Make

Eligible students can claim a maximum annual credit of $2,500 for qualified education expenses. It’s worth noting that qualified expenses don’t involve room and board, transportation, or insurance.

What Makes This Option Great

When all else fails, this is your best bet for obtaining money for your education. For example, if you’re targeting a specific university but can’t get a grant or scholarship, you can use AOTC to defray some of its costs.

Why You Should Consider Going to School As a Side Hustle

Here are three reasons why you should consider getting financial aid for school rather than footing the bill in full:

  • Reduced Financial Burden: Instead of taking out endless loans, receiving financial aid can alleviate some or all of your educational costs.
  • Improved Well-Being and Productivity: Student loans have affected 60% of borrowers’ mental health; working tirelessly to pay off debt can cause burnout. This can easily affect your overall well-being and academic performance, so it’s preferable to find sources that help fund tuition.
  • Better Job Prospects: Many educational funding opportunities call for special requirements, unique skills, or accomplishments that most employers look for.

Problems With Going to School for Money

Now, let’s look at three major downsides you might encounter while looking for ways to get paid for your tuition:

  • Requirements and Limitations: Most tuition funding programs have demanding and high-standard eligibility criteria, making it difficult for many students to be accepted.
  • Loan Repayment: Not all funding sources will cover all tuition costs. You may still be required to repay a sizable portion of your educational fees.
  • Process Complexity: Some financial aid programs have complicated and lengthy application processes, requiring numerous details and steps to complete.

How to Get Paid to Go to School: Step-By-Step Instructions

So you don’t feel overwhelmed, we’ve broken down the process of getting paid to go to school into three simple steps:

Step 1: Assess Your Financial Situation

It’s critical to evaluate your current financial situation to forecast how much you can afford to pay for education. This way, if you don’t get full funding, you’ll have a tuition budget set up so that you don’t choose alternatives that’ll financially strain you later on.

Step 2: Research Various Funding Options

The deeper you dig, the more you’ll find. Don’t become frustrated if you come across complicated funding programs or don’t find opportunities right away.

Make sure you look into and compare all paths available because it’ll take some time and determination to find one that’s suitable for your circumstances.

Step 3: Look for Side Jobs

Finding extra sources of income is always a good backup plan. If you don’t find a funding program that covers the amount you were hoping for, it would be ideal to be ready with profitable gig jobs that’ll help you with the expenses.

Things to Consider When Going to School for Money

Before we wrap up, there are three important things to keep in mind so you don’t get caught off guard:

1. Funding Program Legitimacy

There are many scammers out there promising college funding, so don’t trust the first option you come across. Otherwise, you risk having your identity or credit cards stolen if you don’t thoroughly investigate the source.

2. Applications Deadlines

Missing the deadline for your targeted programs is a scenario you’d want to avoid. Never rely on prior knowledge or what someone told you; always double-check the website or get in touch with the funding source to confirm the last day for submission.

3. Terms and Conditions

Make sure to read all of the terms and conditions before applying for any type of financial aid. Because one condition, such as having very high-interest rates, can render an opportunity unsuitable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should You Start Looking if You Want to Be Paid to Go to School?

We suggest you start looking into the readily available opportunities.

If you’re still in high school, check with your school counselor about grant and scholarship opportunities. If you’re employed or in the military, inquire about educational reimbursements.

Then, you can start outsourcing.

How Can I Make Money Next to School?

You have many ways to earn extra cash, both online and offline. Look for tasks you can complete in your free time on freelance websites like Upwork, or you can open an Etsy seller account. You could also start babysitting or become a rideshare driver.

Similar Ways to Get Paid

Here are some helpful links to get you started on your quest to find ways to lower college expenses:

Wrapping Up

Knowing where to start when looking for the best source of education funding will save you a lot of time and effort.

Look into the legitimate options we outlined in this article, and if you decide to look elsewhere, ensure to first check for their credibility.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this piece in the comments, and please share it if you enjoyed it!

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