Graduation Day is an exciting time for high school seniors, as they get to celebrate a great achievement in their lives. However, for many students and families, these feelings of accomplishment can become short-lived once the first college bill arrives in the mail. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with the costs of attending college, we have some tips that could help!

Find Free Money

First and foremost, we cannot stress enough how important it is for students to exhaust all available options when it comes to obtaining scholarships and grants. Between online searches, your local library, and talking to your guidance counselor or school’s financial aid office, make sure to leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways to pay for school that you won’t have to pay back.

Get to Work!

Learning and performing well in school are clearly top priority for college students, but getting a part-time job or participating in a college work-study program provides additional learning experiences and an opportunity to improve time management skills as well. Best of all, it also helps you make some money that can go towards paying for school or covering ancillary expenses, like car and gas payments, food, and other bills.

Look Second-Hand First

Buying books, furniture, and other items that you need for college can really add up on top of tuition expenses. Whatever you are in the market for, you can find plenty of used books or other dorm room items on a variety of websites and online marketplaces that can help you control costs.

Avoid Over-Borrowing

Some students will take advantage of lending options that are available to take out more money than necessary, giving themselves some “spending cash”. Only borrow what you need to pay for tuition, room and board, fees and other direct and necessary college expenses. This will help you learn to operate on a budget and not have to pay back any loan refunds with interest.

Ask for Help

At the end of the day, anyone struggling with handling the costs of college should take the time to talk to the school’s financial aid office to figure out how they can get help. Contacting your local financial institution – like Hudson River Financial FCU – can also help you find out ways to save when borrowing for school. And know that as stressful as college can be, everyone wants to see you succeed!