College Connect: Paying for college on a budget

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If you’re doing it essentially alone, paying for college isn’t going to be an easy task, especially in today’s economic times.

Before starting my freshman year at the University of Missouri, I was offered different financial packages at four different schools. One was almost a full ride to a private liberal arts college in the middle-of-nowhere Iowa. But I wasn’t having any of it–I needed to find a way to attend Mizzou, even if it wasn’t the easiest to pay for out of the four.

The only way I could do this was to rely on private money. I applied for a host of private scholarships through my high school and different community organizations which gave me the perfect amount of money to supplement financial aid to pay for my freshman year of college.

To make my next three years affordable, I became a resident of Missouri over the summer, which gave me in-state tuition. Under Missouri’s rules, that meant I had to earn at least $2,000, become a full-time resident by registering to vote and getting a local driver’s license and establishing other types of residency. That year, I took on a second job to pay for books and continued to apply for outside scholarships.

The key to affording college in today’s day and age is outside money. A school’s financial aid only stretches so far for every student and it shouldn’t be a reason a student can’t afford to attend his or her dream school. Turn your eyes away from the government’s pot of financial aid that everyone’s tapping into and look for a less crowded pot.

Websites like and others also have a variety of scholarships, but a less obvious outlet for them is searching yourself. Look on websites of organizations pertaining to your major. Many of them have scholarships available–it’s just a matter of knowing about them.

When it comes to paying for college alone, it’s a struggle. However, it’s not only one worth fighting for, but it’s one you can win.

Allison Prang is a junior majoring in watchdog journalism at the University of Missouri.






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