By Nia Robinson
As an incoming freshman, I realized that college students were not joking when they said college is expensive. According to Forbes, 1 out of 2 Millennials (the generation before Gen Z) feels they have too much student debt. So, this summer I have spent all my time working and making a steady income to help ease the cost of this upcoming school year. Here are some tips that will help high school students save money for college today!
1. Start a Side Job!
According to a Harvard Business Review study, around 70% of teens are self-employed. That means they could be making money from YouTube, babysitting, or even giving dance lessons. Either way, Generation Z knows how to make a buck. So start a side hustle to make some cash whenever you are free. Norberto Valentin, Director of Financial Aid at Harold Washington College shared some of his key advice. “Working a part-time job in the evening or during the summer is a great way to help fund your education. You can help pay for school without all the debt! I would recommend high school students allow themselves to work outside of their comfort zones and challenges themselves.”
2. Birthday Money
Shannon Kennedy, an intern at My College Planning Team said, “Putting 80% of [your] paychecks or birthdays into savings and using the leftover 20% for miscellaneous spending was key for me. Sure, it is important to enjoy your high school days, but it is also important to look ahead and set yourself up to be financially stable in the future.”
It does not matter what grade you are in, high school students can start applying for scholarships today. In fact, the earlier you apply in high school, the better your chances. Most high school students wait until senior year to start applying, but my advice is to take advantage of scholarships as soon as you can. Gabrielle McCormick, a senior who won over $150,000 in scholarship money told USA Today, that “everything under $2,000 is what really helped.” Valentin, the Director of Financial Aid at Harold Washington College, further advises students, “Follow your dreams and do your homework. There are many resources available. You will have options such as scholarships and financial aid.” So go out and use them!
Clearly, saving money will be very helpful in the long run. Don’t let the fear of college finances keep you from applying. Earning and saving your money during high school is a great way to offset the cost of college.