4 Creative Ways to Raise Money for College

Ginger Abbot

Apr 29, 2022
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Getting a college degree can open up many career opportunities for young adults. However, students usually end up taking on debt in order to pay for their schooling. This debt can rack up quickly and cripple their financial success for many years. That’s why it’s crucial students find creative ways to raise money for college.

For example, in the 2021-2022 school year, students who went to an in-state public college paid $10,388 on average for tuition and other fees. Students who went to a private school paid closer to $38,185 on average. 

Around 30% of students take on debt to complete their education, and young adults borrow $38,792 on average to complete their degrees. However, depending on their loans’ interest rates, students will end up paying back much more money than they initially borrowed. 


To protect their future finances, many students work hard to raise money so that they can avoid borrowing money. Here are four creative ways that you can raise funds for school so that college is more affordable for you. 

1. Apply for Scholarships

The easiest way to cut back on college costs is to apply for scholarships. Many organizations give out free money to students who they believe will succeed and use their degrees to add value to society. 

You may be able to earn a scholarship from your college by getting good grades on standardized tests or having a high GPA. Some organizations also hold essay writing contests with scholarships as prizes. You can also see if your college offers athletic or other talent-based scholarships. 

If you’re struggling to find scholarships, you can use online search tools to find scholarships that may apply to you. Some useful search engines include FastWeb, Scholarships.com, and FindTuition.com. 

Although the process can be tiring, it’s important to apply to as many scholarships as you can. The more scholarships you can win, the less money you’ll need to raise to cover the cost of your schooling. 

2. Throw a Graduation Party

Having a graduation party is a wonderful way to celebrate your achievements in high school and prepare yourself for a new chapter in life. It’s an opportunity to spend time with family, friends, and any teachers or school staff that impacted your life in a meaningful way. 

This party also gives your loved ones an opportunity to contribute financially toward your future. Many family members are proud of your achievements and excited for your next step. Small financial gifts are a common way to celebrate this milestone in your life. 

Announcing your graduation is an organic way to raise money for college without having to ask others to support your future. Family members who don’t come to the event are likely to send small gifts in the mail, and you can honor their gifts by putting all the money toward your education. 

Making smart financial decisions with gifts now will help you reduce college spending over the long term. It’s essential to be realistic about what you can afford and to start living within your means even during high school. 

3. Earn Steady Money

To help pay for college, you should consider getting a part-time job in high school. Many traditional jobs offer flexible hours that work well for high schoolers. Students can work in retail, fast food, or any other job with flexible hours and an hourly wage.

If traditional jobs don’t appeal to you, try starting a side business that aligns with your talents. For example, you can take graduation photos for seniors, offer to tutor fellow students, or house-sit for families you know. You could also consider selling hand-made crafts, although creating something will take more of your time. 

Some students also throw events to raise money for their future education. For example, you could host a themed party or throw a 24-hour challenge and charge people a small admission fee. Because events take an initial investment, you need to plan carefully to ensure you make more money than you spend. 

Because you’re likely still living at home, you can save everything you earn for future college expenses. It can be challenging to stick to your savings goals, so it’s a good idea to create incentives for yourself or find an accountability partner to ensure you keep saving. 

4. Invest Finances Early

Because of inflation, the money you save will buy you less every year. That means that storing funds in a savings account is much less effective than it feels. Another creative way to make money for college is to start investing your savings as early as possible. 

One of the best ways to start is to move your savings into a high-yield savings account. These accounts will pay a higher rate of interest on your money than most banks, which means you can push back on inflation just by putting money in the account. 

Certificates of deposit are another great way for college students to invest. Also known as CDs, these certificates let the bank keep some of your money for a certain amount of time. When you get your money back, it will be returned with interest. 

Long-term investments are more stable than short-term ones, but you can use investing to build wealth while in college so that you’re not broke when you graduate. If you start early enough in high school, CDs and other investments may mature in time to help with college payments. 

Laying a Wise Foundation: Creative Ways to Raise Money for College

The rising cost of college means that it’s no longer possible to pay your way through school by working a part-time job. However, it is possible to graduate college debt-free with the right amount of strategy, effort, and perseverance. 

There are many creative ways to raise money for college to reduce the overall cost of college and raise the funds you need to pay for your education. Use these four tips to get started on your college journey and achieve your educational dreams without financial strain.

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