How to Pay for College with Low Scores and No Scholarships

If you have a low GPA and tested low on your ACT or SAT, your scholarship options may be limited. This means that in order to go to college, you will need to find other funding. Here are some ways you can pay for college even without those coveted scholarships.

Get a Loan

You can often still qualify for loans even with a lower GPA. The federal government offers Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for students with financial need. Your parents can also obtain a PLUS loan to help with college expenses. In addition, you may find a private lender that will approve you for a student loan. Many times, you will need a co-signer for private loans.

Get a Job

If you do not want to be obligated to loan repayment once you graduate from college or wish to reduce the amount you borrow, you can find a job to help pay for your college. Many jobs allow you to work part-time or in the evenings and on weekends to work around your school schedule. Besides paying for some or all of your expenses, having a job through college will look good on a resume and give you an edge in the job market.

Look for Grants

Grants are loans that you don’t have to pay back. In essence, they are “free money” that you can receive from various sources, including the government and nonprofit organizations. While you don’t have to pay back grants, there is some work involved in finding them and getting accepted.

Many grants are college-based while others can be generalized. It’s easiest to start with the college grants since they are often based on financial need. Others may be limited to out-of-state students or minorities.

You can also find state-based grants; talk to your state education organizations. Some of these are based on what career you are choosing, especially if it is one that is needed in the state.

Don’t Give Up on Scholarships

While you might not qualify for an academic scholarship with a low GPA, there are plenty of other options available. Use one of the free scholarship search engines to help you narrow down your choices quickly. While many of these scholarships do require a good GPA, some are more focused on other aspects of a student’s life. For instance, you can find scholarships based on your ability to play an instrument or on your volunteer work.

Many scholarships will require you to write an essay and compete with thousands of other applicants. While you don’t want to spend the majority of your focus on scholarships alone, it can be worth the effort to find a few to apply for.

Paying for your college education without academic scholarships can be challenging but it is not impossible. If you are willing to attend a less expensive institution and work to find the resources available to you, you can continue your education until you achieve the degree you want.