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According to CollegeBoard, the average annual tuition for public, four-year colleges for the 2019 to 2020 school year was $10,486 for in-state residents and $15,873 for out-of-state residents. And that’s just the start.

After tuition, there are books, laptops, room and board, meal plans, transportation, and other necessities. Managing your budget as a college student isn’t always easy. But the right approach and a bit of extra effort can end up saving you hundreds or thousands of additional dollars. And when it comes to paying for higher education, every little bit helps.

Call Financial Aid & Ask for Additional Help

You might be surprised to find that financial aid is negotiable. If your family’s income has changed or you think that you should qualify for more aid than you received, you can call financial aid and ask for additional funds.

There is no guarantee that they will give you the extra funds, but since it will only take a quick phone call to find out, there is no downside in asking. Be specific, polite, and clear in your request. Knowing how much you need will show that you are organized and working hard.

Financial aid offices deal with angry and aggressive customers every day, so they will be more likely to want to help if you are kind.

Apply, Apply, Apply

Once you’ve hit your cap with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it’s time to consider some FAFSA alternatives. FAFSA may seem like your one-and-only option because it is the biggest provider of financial aid, schools work directly with them every day, and you see that name everywhere you turn.

But there are plenty of other financial aid providers. The problem is, many people don’t know about them. That explains why there's nearly $3 billion in grants and scholarships left on the table every year.

Not applying to any other programs besides FAFSA because you think you won’t qualify or it’s not worth the extra effort is leaving money on the table. Pell Grants are federal grants awarded through FAFSA based on demonstrated need. But they are not your only option.

Finding Alternative Scholarship Options

Tens of thousands of scholarships are just a quick internet search away. And since these are primarily private merit scholarships, you won’t have to fill out new financial forms with each application. But you should be prepared to answer other questions or write essays.

These vary by state and education level, so you may have to do some digging, but the College Board’s scholarship search is a great place to start. Alternative financial aid options can be used for anything from tuition and books to meals and outfitting your dorm room.

Consider a Quick Installment Loan

Whether you still need books, clothes, a new laptop, or other school supplies, a quick installment loan can be used to purchase just about anything. So far, more than 80,000 people have used Spotloan to get the money they need for a variety of different purposes.

These loans are tailor-made to fit your unique needs. You can make regular, scheduled payments or pay off your loan early with no prepayment penalty. You can borrow up to $800 and pay it back for up to 10 months after your funds are received.

We offer easy applications, fast approvals, and personalized loans to ensure that you get the help you need when you need it. If you are wondering how to pay for college books without financial aid and have depleted other options, a short-term installment loan might be a great solution for you. And, if you have already tried negotiating your financial aid package and applying to alternative aid and scholarship providers but still need additional funds, apply today for our convenient short-term installment loan.