Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

College isn’t exactly affordable, and unless your pockets are lined with gold or your wealthy great-uncle just died (My condolences.), you and your family might be scratching your heads and wondering where you’re going to get the money to pay for it. Never fear! There are plenty of ways for broke high school and college students to pay for their education.

1. Win the lottery. Twice.

The next Mega Millions jackpot, according to this Online Casino app, at the time of writing this article, is estimated at $15 million. That could take out a good chunk of tuition, room, and board for a few years, and though the chances of winning the jackpot are slim (1 in 258,890,850), there are still a bunch of other prizes you could win, ranging from $1 to $1,000,000. The chance of winning any prize is 1 in 14.7, so be sure to buy 30 tickets and definitely (possibly) win twice. Just make sure to win the million one of those times, and you’ll be set.

2. Sell some non-essential organs.*

Say gambling isn’t your style. Theoretically, according to Popular Science, a person could sell one kidney, part of the liver, a lung, some intestines, and an eyeball without any major complications. There’s certainly a huge demand for kidneys (according to the same article, a kidney in China could be worth $40,000 or more), and there are probably a few creeps who collect human eyeballs. It’s important to note that selling organs in the United States is illegal, so instead of getting tuition paid for at the college of your choice, you may just get room and board at a prison.

3. Email scams*

If you’re looking for something a little more immoral, you can send out Emails masquerading as a Nigerian prince, asking for some money in exchange for an imaginary mountain of wealth that you will never deliver. There can be some pretty gullible people in the Internet. Again, this action is not only illegal but immoral, so in addition to prison, you may be subject to karma, Hell, or the retributive force of your choice (but probably not of your choice).

How to Actually Pay For College

Let’s say that, for some reason, you don’t want to gamble, undergo major surgery, commit fraud, or, just in general, break the law to pay for college. (Good choice.) Setting all jokes aside, here are some actual, legal, legitimate alternatives.

1. Apply for all the scholarships.

There are lotteries (well, sweepstakes) specifically geared for high school and college students, and best of all, you don’t have to purchase a ticket. For scholarships such as ScholarshipPoints.com and CollegeProwler’s No Essay Scholarship, all you have to do is register, and you’ll be entered to win. Easy peasy. Often, DoSomething.org offers the chance to be entered into a drawing for a scholarship in exchange for some proof of a good deed. Other scholarships (which you can find at a number of databases, such as Fastweb or Scholarships.com) are based on certain criteria or require extra work–an essay, community service hours, letters of recommendation, etc–but still, it’s a chance for free money (as opposed to lottery tickets, which are, 137 out of 147 times, useless slips of paper that cost a dollar).

2. Sell some stuff

Selling your organs and your firstborn is illegal (for some reason), yes, but selling your old things is not. Have a yard sale, with all proceeds going to your college education. You might not profit as much as you would on a kidney, but it’s a good, legal, surgery-free and less sketch alternative. You can also sell your old class notes, and if you have free time (but not FREE time), you can certainly get a job.

3. Ask family, friends, and strangers

If you’re looking for something less illegal and less dishonest than a Nigerian prince scheme, you may want to try GoFundMe or a similar fundraising site. College is a huge project that tons of investors–friends, family, and generous but wealthy strangers from the Internet–would like to get behind. In exchange, you can give donors drawings, videos, something of value to say thank you. Some examples of these campaigns can be found here and here. There can be some pretty generous people on the Internet.

College may be expensive, but you don’t have to cut out your kidney to afford it. There are plenty of ways to slowly, but surely, make the money add up to the education of your dreams.

*Disclaimer: The Prospect does not condone illegal activities as a means of paying for college.



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the author

Gabrielle Scullard hails from suburban Arizona, where she is a senior at a public high school. She spends most of her life taking AP classes and crying about her future. When she is not stressing out about school, she plays viola (it’s like a violin but better) and signs in an American Sign Language choir (it’s like a vocal choir but better). She wants to be a superhero, but an internship at The Prospect is basically the same thing. She hopes her writing can help someone or, at least, make someone smile. You can find her on her Tumblr or at home, but she would prefer it if you didn't do either of those things.

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