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How To Supplement A College Tuition

Updated on November 17, 2012
Working your way through college can present some really interesting job opportunities.
Working your way through college can present some really interesting job opportunities.

During my college years I worked as an administrative assistant at a marketing company. My work experience enhanced my college career and helped me to build job skills. I felt a sense of financial independence not having to rely heavily on loans to pull me through. Additionally, I benefited through the company's education reimbursement program.

My son supplemented his college freshman year by hiring himself out as a clown for parties and special events. He often reflects on how much fun he experienced working during the summer break that year. He admits, at $65 per hour, it was one of the highest paying jobs he has ever had. Of course each job was only a couple of hours, but for a college student it was richly rewarding.

Today's college tuition is quite expensive. Many students find that even with scholarships, the cost to attend requires extra income. The ideal income resource will allow for a student's tight schedule; and if off-campus, a commute to and from college or home. Thus, the challenge is to find employment that meets income and personal requirements. Our present day job outlook is dim, but there are still many opportunities for working college students; they just require a little more ingenuity.

College Funding Vote

If you are a college graduate, how did you supplement your college tuiton?

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Average College Cost

According to a 1998-1999 study, the basic cost of attending a post secondary, local community college was less than $1,700 per year; with added fees and expenses the total cost was around $3,243 annually. The basic cost to attend a four year, public college was $4,000 per year; this was the preference of sixty-six percent of the total college population; and, with added fees and expenses, the total cost was $10,500 annually. (Source: 2.ed.gov/pubs/prepare)

Today the average annual cost to attend a four year, public college is $17,000 ($29,000 out-of-state) and $30,000 for a four year, private college. The cost varies with the specific college chosen and type such as in-state, out-of-state, private, or public. The projected annual increase for college tuition is approximately 5%.

Included in this cost are expenses such as:

  • Room and board
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Sports fees
  • Insurance
  • Miscellaneous expenses

Additional expenses to consider are:

  • Computer/laptop/printer
  • Cell phone
  • Lab fees
  • Music fee/tuning fee
  • Greek/social fee
  • Food/entertainment

The total cost of attending this college is $62,259.00.
The total cost of attending this college is $62,259.00.

College Funding Resources

There are several ways to fund college tuition and expenses. Three main types of funding are financial aid, grants or scholarships, and loans. Students usually combine options to cover the cost and supplement by work-study programs, or other employment off-campus. However, if parents have saved money through the years for a child, the funds will greatly reduce the stress of that important first college year.

Financial institutions often encourage parents to set aside college funds when children are young to offset the cost. If possible, this is future planning that will pay off for parent and child when you consider the college choice may require extra funding. The chart below shows how much a parent would need to save to have a savings fund of $10,000 for a child's college entrance. Imagine the savings you can accumulate if you increase the monthly dollars to twice the amount!

Can You Play A Musical Instrument?

Music majors can use their talents to play in a band.  The extra income can help pay for college expenses.
Music majors can use their talents to play in a band. The extra income can help pay for college expenses. | Source

Why Supplement A College Tuition?

As I mentioned earlier, I worked my way through my undergrad and masters college years. It was years of study, hard work and very little social life. It cannot be understated, college is expensive and requires dedicated effort; however, the results are a much wiser, knowledgeable, balanced and successful individual.

If a scholarship is awarded, the cost to attend is greatly minimized, but most of us have to work to cover the cost of tuition, fees and other associated expenses. The benefit of working your way through college is in the actual learning experience on a job and skills applicable to your personal professional resume.

Why work? A working college student can build a savings account to tide them over when between jobs, having to cut work hours, or to meet a personal emergency (this is not for late night pizza runs!). Listed below is a chart that suggests possible income opportunities to help pay for tuition and may also allow you to save a little on the side.

Supplemental College Job Options

Tutor
Mow lawns
Wait tables
Write online
Theater usher
Home health aide
Work-study
Farm worker
Lifeguard
Security officer
Bank teller
Play in a band
Paint homes
eBay seller
Nanny
Website developer
Reporter
Photographer
Retail
Apprenticeship programs
Pool cleaning service
Party planner/clown
Youth summer programs
Dog sitter/walker
Home sitter
Home errand service
Wait tables

Saving Money Through The College Years

Here's A Great Way To Earn Extra Cash For College

Many students have enjoyed the flexibility of earning money writing online. Hubpages offers you flexibility, creativity and personal enjoyment while building your individual writing skills. The extra cash will certainly help pay for some of those college expenses and add to your emergency savings fund. Best of all, it's free to join!

Click here to join today!

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    • profile image

      AudraLeigh 4 years ago

      This is a ver good hub and should be submitted in College and HS newspapers. Very informative too! Your son was a clown...so great! How does he put that in his resume?

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Funny, but I don't think he puts it in there now. It would be a great opening act though! Thanks for your appearance here, Audra. Always a good night when we talk!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I always worked...and saved up 2000 to go away to college. At very small wages it was a lot of work. However, I knew my parents did not have a lot of money and I believed that if you wanted something you worked for it. However today work ethic has taken a serious drop. I like the creativity one has to use to find work and pay for tuition. Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, all of them. I worked all four years of college, and it was good for me, good for my parents, and helped greatly. Another wonderful hub filled with great ideas.

      Have a great weekend Dianna!

    • Rebecca2904 profile image

      Rebecca 4 years ago

      Interesting Hub! I think the system we have in the UK is probably quite different from the one in the US, but since our tuition fees have gone up I think finding a part time job is better advice now than it ever was before. Voted up!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What an excellent hub and I loved your son's idea of being a clown to supplement his college days!!!

      I think the costs do put some of the youngsters off especially in today's climate, but this excellent hub has shown that with a little thought and planning - and making a firm commitment - it can be done! My eldest niece will be going to college next year, so I will show her this hub - it will be very useful to her and who knows, she may decide that being a clown for an hour to is also a great way to earn during college!

      Voted up + shared!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Excellent ideas for supplemental college tuition jobs, Dianna. Most states have college plans that parents can open when children are born but they are not inexpensive. With so few jobs available to 4-year college graduates today, it makes more sense for students if they have the interest, to attend 2-year technical schools.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Carol, you are so right. Work ethics are minimal, people prefer to have things handed to them -- pay later: and they do royally! Thanks for your viewpoints and sharing.

      Bill, I think having to work through college makes the degree a bit more appreciated. I know I valued every class I took. Thanks for your added value to the topic. You enjoy your weekend as well, friend.

      Rebecca, here in the US it is almost mandatory students supplement their tuition. The high annual cost cannot be covered through loans alone. It would be interesting to hear how the UK handles this. Thanks for your visit and support, dear one.

      Seeker, it is surprising how well "clown" work pays off (funny pun!). You just have to have a good personality that clicks with kids, have a background check made, and a bag of good tricks (plus know how to make balloon shapes). I hope your niece finds this helpful. Stay safe and strong.

      Dr BJ, I agree that attending a community college first is a great idea, as long as the majority of the credits transfer over to an accredited four year college program. Parents saving as soon as a child is born is a wise move on their child's behalf. I appreciate and value your input here. Be well and safe.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you so much for writing this hub. Wonderful information. We started saving when our daughter was born. It is amazing how fast they grow up.

      Voted up!!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I am sure your daughter appreciated you thinking ahead on her behalf. The years do fly by, as they say - you blink and they're grown!. Thanksf or visiting here today. Enjoy your weekend. Blessings.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Good suggestions, my daughter is studying in College, doing her graduation in English honors, she liked your hub, thanks Dianna.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Girishpuri, I am so glad your daughter read the article and that is was helpful to her. That is rewarding to hear. THank you for being such a great support to me on Hubpages. Enjoy your week, friend.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Wow what a great hub! and so useful to anybody getting ready to go to college. Its a long time since I studied back then but remember how expensive it was, just the little things that seemed to make it worse, my mum helped me a bit, but none of us had a lot. great hub! and voted up!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is a hub filled with great ideas of how college students can help earn a little money along the way to help defray the costs of attending college. Sometimes one has to be a bit creative and think outside the box...like your son has done with regard to being a clown. Voting this hub up and definitely useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Nell, your college experience is similar to mine, it was expensive with lots of added small costs. We made it though and are profiting from our hard work and application of knowledge. Good to have you visit here.

      Peggy, I think working through college, even when you don't have to is rewarding. It helps build life and career skills you often cannot get from a textbook. I appreciate your add to the conversation. Enjoy your day.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Excellent hub. My son wanted to be become an airline pilot, and enrolled in aviation science at Bridgewater State College. It took five years, but he pulled a double major with Medical Psychology. The tuition and other expenses may have been lower than the few other colleges that offered aviation science as a major, but the mandatory flying lessons and flight time were more expensive. His Dad and I paid for tuition and flying; our son paid for living on campus and other expenses by constantly working odd jobs around campus. It’s a tough road, but doable; it takes a lot of planning. Up, useful and interesting! :-)

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Genna, thumbs up to your family, especially your creative son, who did what it took to obtain the goal. I am sure it made the experience even more rewarding. Thanks for your valued contribution to the topic. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You have some great suggestions for how to save for college, Dianna. I feel sorry for students today - college is so expensive. Students need all the help that they can get as they try to save enough money for school. This hub will give them lots of ideas!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Yes, college is a lot more expensive for students these days. They some times do not even get a job after graduation. Thanks for the feedback on the hub post, Alicia. Hope you are having a good week.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dianna - This is an excellent Hub. So informative and you have covered all the bases. It isn't easy, but there are ways to earn money and keep the loans for college to a bare minimum. I love all the examples you gave. While I was earning my BA and running a household (kids were 8, 10, 12), I relied heavily on a Pell grant and I was awarded a small scholarship. But I graduated with no debt because six nights a week, after my kids were in bed, I spent two hours cleaning a local bank - vacuuming, dusting, cleaning doors, emptying trash, doing bathrooms, general straitening. It paid twice the minimum wage because they wanted older responsible men and women. Terrific Hub. Sharing. Happy Thanksgiving. :)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Dear Dianna - Well written and complete article about the cost of college tuition. Many people will want to take a look at your comparison costs and graphic breakdown of fees, etc. However, this seems to emphasize the need to save and work in order to afford tuition. The dilemma for students today actually pushes them to first go to community college, for a 2-year degree, a vocational school or even an apprenticeship, which may be the best choice overall depending upon the person's skills and passion.

      I will add a summer job as a camp counselor will be a nice income to supplement tuition costs and also house-sitting. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving, Debby

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Wow! Interesting and useful. love those charts and the dedication you put into this hub. Thanks for sharing this valuable info. College can be unreachable if we don't plan ahead of time. Happy tahnks giving my friend!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Phdast7, I applaud your strong determination in getting through college without high debt. We have to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Great share and so valued. Hope you Thanksgiving was wonderful.

      Debby, yes, it is a trend for students to attend a community college prior to a bachelor's program. It makes sense. Any college tuition will benefit from the supplemental income. Thanks for your add to the topic. Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one.

      Lord De Cross, Happy Thanksgiving to you as well - almost done now isn't it? Hope it was a good one for you. Planning ahead for college is a wise choice for all parents and students. Take care.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      The costs of a college education these days are just staggering! I think your suggestions are great. Anything potential students can do to avoid getting saddled with a college loan is a good thing! Voted up, useful and interesting -- I'll pass this along to my stepdaughter. Her son is 15, and it's never too early to start planning! :)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Lovely Thanksgiving and best wishes to you, too. ((HUGS))

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great ideas and suggestions. College education is becoming more and more expensive. Working part time is a great way to help support college education. This also helps to build confidence, take on responsibility and realize what their parents do for them. Very useful and voted up.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 4 years ago

      Wow, didn't know they pay that much to be a clown. Good gig. My son just signed on to be a tutor at his college. It's a little more than minimum wage and I think he likes it. Informational hub and rated up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Linda, your mention of thinking ahead on college funding is what really makes the difference in total funding. The costs for even a two year program can be over 50,000 these days. Thanks for your add to the conversation.

      Debby, thanks for the greetings -- our Thanksgiving was wonderful and I hope yours was also a good celebration. Thanks for dropping by.

      Vellur, I agree with you. Working part time is a good way to build your resume, acquire professionalism and help reduce cost. Your comment adds value to the topic. Take care.

      Anglnwu, clowns are highly paid per hour as they have to entertain kids, bring toys, etc., and be certified ( the good ones anyways). It was a fun job for our son at the time. Glad you son has taken on a tutoring -- he will profit much from the experience. Thanks for adding to the topic's value.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Great Hub...My son worked full time and went to college at night .. it was very expensive then six years. ago ...it was oh so worth it. sharing this Hub.

      Debbie

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I wish there had been a HubPages when I was going to university. I worked part-time at a retail job to help ends meet. School is not cheap but I did find it very rewarding. Good solid information here, thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I believe students these days do have to work to support themselves through college these days. It is a tough road, but as you say, worth it. Congrats to you son, Deborah!

      Christy, online writing is a great way for students to supplement and I too wish it would have been around back then. Thanks for your add to the article. Enjoy your evening.

    • profile image

      Mary 4 years ago

      Dianna, this is a wonderful informative read, as you know, I'm facing the high debt of education! However, my plants to work in a low income demographic school will also help to have a major part of the debt forgiven. It is a long journey, and as you mentioned so very worth the toil! Thanks for a great read!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Mary, thanks so much for coming by and for your comment. I do know the long road and the cost -- keep focused, it will prove worthwhile. Blessings!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I actually had to work to put myself through college and tuition was much cheaper 30 years ago than it is now. I don't know how today's kid's manage but certainly having supplemental income works. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Alocsin, the average two year community college can cost over $30,000 -- that is way more than I had to pay for my four year undergrad degree. However, college is worth it. Thanks for your add to the flow of thoughts here. Be well and strong.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      College is very expensive and combining as many resources as you can while in school is beneficial to keep the student loans at a minimum. You've provided a great list of ideas here of suggestions - I especially like the table that shows you how starting to save early means you don't have to save as much each month, and the table with the list of job ideas. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Millionaire, Thanks for the feedback on the post. I always value knowing how the content is helping readers. It is so true, planning and saving early makes a big difference. Enjoy your week and have a good one! Blessings.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 4 years ago from midwest

      I had to work my way through college as well. I still have the pleasure of sending monthly, never ending, checks towards the loans that I took out so long ago. I only wish I would have seen this Hub years ago. Voted Up!!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Daskittle, your story is familiar and you are in good company! It will pay off some day. Thanks for your visit here. Keep well and safe.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Very important information here, Dianna. J, (my nephew), was recently accepted into a community college. Although he also considered a 4 yr university he is not a strong student re: study skills, and I could not see wasting his money before he knows if he can even handle the first semester. Your tips here will be beneficial for him to read, as well as me. Thanks! Up/U/I

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hello, Denise,

      I think your nephew made a wise choice in attending community college. It will indeed give him an idea if this is something he wants to pursue and afford. Thanks for your validation of the topic and your support. You enjoy your week and stay safe.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      A very informative article and will vote it up . The most I have been made is $52 an hour on a public holiday so please tell your son I said 'Good on you !!" It is good to get experience and references while you can !

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Freecamping, my son had some fun putting this on his resume: self-employed, clown! $52 an hour is pretty good in itself. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week, friend.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 4 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Great hub. I see a lot of people going to college without thinking about the cost. The cost of the college I went to was a factor in my choice, and I was also able to work part time throughout my four years. This let me exit college with a much more manageable lean than almost all of my friends. More high school students need to consider the cost of college before jumping in and getting into debt. Voted up and shared!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      College is an investment that pays off in the end, but students need to think about the cost of the it before committing. Looking at the whole picture will make a better analysis of what it takes to reach the goal. Thanks, internpete, for validating the thought. Appreciate your vote, sharing and visit. Enjoy your week.

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 4 years ago from New York

      Working as a clown is definitely a novel idea! The list of potential jobs is very helpful. Hopefully our governments will start to realize we need to reinvest in our colleges and universities to keep up with the information age. We've been letting them slip, and pushing too many costs onto the students, for too many years now.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Interesting Hub here. College is out of reach for many young people now. Even with Scholarships, my daughter left college with a student loan of 25,000 AND she held down 3 different jobs. She went to a state university that was very expensive. We found tuition to be a small part of the expense. Housing was the most expensive.

      I wrote a Hub about my daughter's winning 18 scholarships, and how she did that. May I link your article here into that one?

      I voted this UP, etc. and I will share.

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      Great information,

      I will pass this on to my two son's :o)

      voted up and shared.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thank you:

      Tips

      Mary

      Cathy

      For your kind support

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Teaches, this is a great resourceful article. My wife wants to go to college and we're trying to see how we can make it happen. I took 2 years of business administration and made the wrong career choice. I'm wanting to go back to get my degree in SEO/Web Design. There's so many factors already, such as my current grant and bills. I can't find a good paying job since Obama took coal away from WV. I was lucky to make minimum wage. I don't know. Great information and ideas, it's very expensive. Hopefully something will turn out for the better. Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared on Twitter.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Lyric, many of us are in the midst of finding what will work for us career wise and to fit our passion. I am one of them. I hope you find what you are looking for and discover that you are traveling the right path to success. Blessings.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      My 18 yr. old son just graduated high school. He will go to our local community college to get a 2 yr. degree and live at home . I hope he will go on later and get his 4 yr. degree.

      He has never worked, and my funds are limited, so this seems to be the only way he will get to go to college.

      He could have been more resourceful if he had more ambition!

      Great Hub with lots of good info.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Hey Mary! It's a real challenge for youth today to make ends meet while attending college. Glad to hear your son is starting out cautiously. Yes, I hope he sees the benefits of going on for a 4 year degree. Best wishes to both of you. Hugs!

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