Tuition, rent, food and other necessities can add up quickly for full time students. Making ends meet can require seeking financial assistance. There are several programs that can help you pay your bills while attending college.
A portion of your federal student loans can be used to pay rent and utility costs while you are attending school. Loans are typically disbursed through your college at specific times throughout the semester. To receive financial aid, you need to fill out a FAFSA and turn in the paperwork requested by your university.
Off Campus Housing
Some colleges have housing specialists that can help you locate an off campus apartment that fits your budget. Make sure to talk to the housing department to determine which resources are available to you. The housing office can assist you with everything from finding an apartment to signing the lease and what to do when you are going away for the summer. If on campus housing is available, you may have the option of choosing to live on- site using financial aid such as grants or scholarships. It is often more affordable to live off campus unless you have a full scholarship that pays for housing. Some people may also be eligible for federal rental assistance depending on income and family status.
Federal Rental Assistance
If you have a child, you can apply for rental assistance from the federal government. Typically, applications are available through your county housing department. Section 8 housing is a program that allows you to choose your own house or apartment. The program pays a specific amount of the monthly rent based on your income and may pay a portion of your utility costs if you have little or no income. You will need to apply and may be placed on a waiting list before you can receive assistance. You will also need to pay deposits and connection fees for utilities out of pocket.
Another option is to live in federally funded apartments. To be eligible you will need to apply directly at the apartment complex and provide proof of income. You may also be placed on a waiting list unless there are vacancies available immediately. Federally funded apartments also require you pay a deposit and connection fees for utilities before moving in.
It is best to begin looking for housing and filing applications early. Waiting lists can be quite extensive for federally funded apartments and homes. A wait time of over a year is not uncommon. Make sure you have birth certificates, social security cards, and proof of income on hand when you apply to save time. You may also want to talk to a campus housing advisor to determine which resources are available to you based on your personal situation.
Talking to a housing advisor is also recommended if you need emergency housing. An advisor can point you to community resources and help you apply for those resources as needed. Some colleges also offer emergency housing for students to use until they have found other accommodations.
All students can save money when they compare cable providers available where they dorm. Students will typically save big when it comes to cable bundling plans and special seasonal promotions.