How to Make Money While Earning a Degree

It seems like you can’t get ahead today with a Bachelor’s degree and possibly an advanced degree or certificate on top of that.  All that education and training is expensive and there is a better way – earn while you learn.  Sure, it might not cover the entire cost of college, but every dollar you earn is one less dollar that you need to borrow and that’s a good thing.  With that in mind here are some ideas to make money while earning a degree.

  • Part-time Campus Jobs

While I was working on my undergraduate degree, I held several campus jobs such as working in the Admissions Office, the dining halls, and even one semester of working with the grounds crew at the football stadium.  Each job was a bit different and it was a great way to see and meet all the people who help to make the campus tick.  I have even heard stories of people using their campus job to meet alumnus who would then offer them jobs after graduation.

I realize that working while studying is not easy, but the 15 to 20 hours a week can minimally provide some additional spending money, which offsets the cost of living during your college years.  Additionally, some of these jobs are so lucrative that you can use your earnings to offset the costs of books and other fees.

Remember paying for college is not only about tuition.  You will also need to cover the cost of room and board as well as books and fees.  Before you know it the cost of going to a state school (even as in-state) can rise to $25,000 or more per year.  You can’t just rely on loans.  If you do, then you will graduate with a mountain of debt – which is not a good way to start your career.

  • Paid Internships

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How things have changed.  When I was in college an internship was exotic, and most students did not get them until the summer of their Junior years.  That is no longer the case.  In fact, it is not unusual for high school students to seek out internships and then to continue doing such jobs throughout their time at college.

However, you need to be smart.  Don’t just go after the unpaid internships, look for summer internships which will help to offset the cost of college. While these internships used to be unicorns (i.e. impossible to find) changing interpretation of labor laws has made paid internships more common, though you might need to do some work to find them.  Face it no one is going to throw money at you unless you have a 100 mile-per-hour fastball.

  • Off-Campus Jobs

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Many companies offer work for students.  These jobs range from local coffee shops and record stores (remember those?) to sales and marketing firms looking for help with special projects.  The attraction to hiring students is two-fold. First, they cost less than full-time employees and second, they can work odd hours – say a two-hour shift here or there.  This is an ideal fit for a business which is looking to augment their team with more flexible labor.  One trick to finding these jobs is to just ask.  You never know when a local doctor’s office is looking for someone to help for just 10 hours per week.  Pick up the phone or walk in to talk to person in charge of hiring.

  • Build a Business

Sure, college is about earning a degree so that you can find a job, but some of the most successful people in our country today never graduated college.  Many of these people used their time at college to build the next great product or service that millions or billions of people use every day.  While you might not become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, you can use your time at college to build a business which will secure your future.    The only thing stopping you from doing it is yourself.

To conclude, time really IS money and college has become prohibitively expensive.  Don’t just assume your parents or student loans will cover the cost of higher education as you may be in for quite a shock.  Instead, be proactive.  Get a job, even 10 hours per week will help to cover some of the costs of school.  Remember every dollar you earn towards college is one less dollar of debt you need to go into to get your degree.

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