Managing College Expenses Amid the Pandemic

As if finances weren’t already an issue for the average college student, the pandemic came along and turned things upside down. Seemingly overnight campuses were closed, young adults were laid off, and college students nationwide found themselves without a place to go. While these changes have taken a physical and emotional toll on young adults, it also resulted in financial obstacles. Many students have found these challenges difficult to overcome. 

Tuition

Some colleges and universities opted to transition to remote learning, while others started the fall semester with in-person classes and strict health and safety regulations. Though each of these options presented challenges, it allowed students to continue getting their education. For studies to continue, however, students were required to pay tuition. 

Without the financial backing of parents or full-time jobs, many students struggle to pay tuition. Fortunately, there are a few solutions to consider. 

Students presently working and only short a few hundred bucks can search for online installment loans, to acquire the needed funds. Short-term installment loans essentially give the funds needed upfront, while allowing the balance plus interest and fees to be repaid over a period of time. However, students who are currently unemployed should consider applying for unemployment or talking with their admissions counselor about financial assistance opportunities. 

Room and Board

The coronavirus pandemic caused housing issues for college students. Those who attended universities that were closed had to move out of their dorm rooms. International and out-of-state students couldn’t return home due to travel restrictions. Unfortunately, some parents were also afraid to allow their children to come back for fear of spreading the virus. 

Students unable to find shelter during this pandemic have a few options available to them. Start by talking with the admissions office to see if there is any affordable student housing available. Another option is vacation rentals. Since most people aren’t booking vacations, you’ll find that there are a lot of individuals offering houses, apartments, and spare rooms to individuals in need of shelter during the pandemic. To reduce the monthly cost, consider booking with a trusted friend.

Joblessness

It’s not uncommon for a college student to have a full or part-time job at a shopping mall, restaurant, or other social establishments. When non-essential businesses had to close temporarily, it left many students without jobs. Unfortunately, parents have also been laid off by the thousands meaning adult children can’t turn to family for help. 

While the US job market has improved since the start of the pandemic, finding a job is still a struggle. Start by applying for unemployment benefits. Then, begin putting in applications for companies and industries in high demand like hospitals or grocery stores. Finally, look for opportunities to earn money online. There are several options available including answering surveys, reviewing sites, blogging and social media management. Students are also encouraged to consider side gigs like rideshare services or delivering groceries and takeout. 

Miscellaneous Expenses

Tuition and room and board aren’t the only expenses college students have to worry about. Paying for food, laundry, transportation, insurance and cell phone plans can get expensive. Without adequate income or family members to turn to, these expenses can become impossible to maintain.

While looking for a job is the best way to afford miscellaneous expenses, it can take some time to secure a position. Students can cover costs by thinking outside the box, sell no longer needed belongings, offer tutoring, or conduct research. Consider contacting service providers and lenders to explain circumstances and potentially negotiate more affordable payments.

Being a college student in the middle of a pandemic is challenging. Adjusting to new learning platforms, restructuring and limiting a social life and dealing with financial pressures. But take comfort in knowing there are ways to survive. Tighten budgets, utilize short-term loans, find new jobs and be creative to earn extra money. These strategies can help until things return to “normal”.

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