By: James Walker

To state the obvious; college is expensive. Just take a look at these figures:

  • A single year at a public university costs 27% of a middle-class family’s annual household income.
  • Since 2008, public college prices have increased by more than 15%.
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “For the 2011–12 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $14,300 at public institutions, $37,800 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,300 at private for-profit institutions.”

How do students afford such a costly education? First, they apply for grants. Then, they apply for loans. To make ends meet, students sign up for work study, and they learn to live on a diet of Cup-O-Soup and microwaveable mac-n-cheese. This program of applying, working, and living-on-the-cheap has helped students offset their costs for decades, but recent technological advancements may be disrupting how a student offsets their education costs.

For instance, technological advancements have reduced the amount of work study options for students. Computers are automating everything, which reduces the amount of clerical staff needed to run a campuses’ various departments. Thus, fewer students are needed to answer phones, enter information, and perform other clerical duties. The result is less work study jobs, and more competition when securing jobs.

For instance, technological advancements have reduced the amount of work study options for students. Computers are automating everything, which reduces the amount of clerical staff needed to run a campuses’ various departments. Thus, fewer students are needed to answer phones, enter information, and perform other clerical duties. The result is less work study jobs, and more competition when securing jobs.

Technology may be limiting opportunities to earn money for school, but with some creative thinking you can still offset your costs. The following are new suggestions for earning money for school, even with recent technological developments.

You can still sell you textbooks – Educational institutions have embraced online learning, and thus have embraced digital textbooks. A book voucher used to net students a variety of hardcover books, which they could then sell back at the end of the semester for a sizable profit. These days, colleges would prefer that you purchase digital copies of books, and digital copies cannot be resold for profit. The solution? Don’t buy digital – ever! Physical textbooks are still available for purchase, and they can still be sold for profit. Selling a college textbook is as simple as searching online for the highest buyback prices, and listing your book at that price.

Participate in off-campus work study – Your college may have reduced the amount of work study opportunities on-campus, but there are still plenty of off-campus opportunities. Job boards often list off-campus work study opportunities, and there are plenty of advertisements online. The employer must have entered, or be willing to enter, into a formal agreement with your college. At that point, any hours worked will go toward your education, as well as you’ll be getting on-the-job training that could potential advance your career goals.

Earn tuition through community service – Technology has yet to ravage the world of community service. Robots, capable of cleaning litter and feeding the hungry, have yet to be invented. A student can still earn sizable tuition money by volunteering for one of the following: AmeriCorps (the maximum pays $5,500 in tuition money), Peace Corps, Learn and Serve America, National Health Service Corps, and Teach for America. Or, you can join the military and receive both education coverage, and a paid wage for your service.

Although technology may have changed the way students earn for college, it hasn’t ruined the available opportunities. You can still sell your books, but you need to choose physical over digital. You can still participate in work study, but you may need to go off-campus to find these opportunities. And, community service is a great way to fund your tuition account, while learning a valuable life lesson. If all else fails, why not ask mom and dad?

 

James Walker is an avid designer and coder since he was 12, James writes and curates topics on both basic web development and advanced languages with a particular focus on mobile. Read his thought on tech on Twitter and his favorite articles on Google+

 

 

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