College education has become so expensive that many families give up hope of ever being able to send their children. How to pay for a college? There are however some excellent resources to check out that can provide great assistance and put a college education within your reach.

1. START SMALLER: While your instinct may be to jump right into a major university, start smaller with a community college for some major savings. This can allow you to get some fundamental credits under your belt, and as you build up your grade point you might just get some financial help with your transfer to a bigger and more reputable university.
2. LOOK FOR UNCONVENTIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS OR GRANTS: You may not realize just how many scholarships or grants are out there. Check out unusual resources; go for the types that you may not even think you qualify for. If you have any specific heritage or cultural background, look for scholarships in that category. This can provide an excellent education in a way that you may not have even realized existed. Think big!
3. USE YOUR SMARTS EARLY ON: Taking advanced placement or college level credits in high school or over the summer can help to contribute to your graduation requirements. If you have access to such courses, you can place out of them at the college level and this can equal far more savings in the end.
4. PAY YOUR DUES: If you go to school through a military scholarship, you can often get a free ride or a major savings. The requirement is that you pay your dues by serving in an active role within the military, or at the very least take the training to keep current in case you are ever needed.
5. DIVE INTO UNUSUAL PAYMENT PROGRAMS: You can save some money and feel the burn in your wallet a little less if you pay it off a little bit at a time. Rather than writing out one big check, you can work with the university or financial aid office to pay as you go or pay a few times throughout the year.
6. START A BUSINESS EARLY ON: There are so many talents that young adults have, and these days you can create a website for just about anything. Work with your child to create an online site to sell items or focus on something that they are good at. Not only will this help to pay for a college education, but it will also teach them business skills in the process.
7. WORK IT OFF: There are some excellent opportunities for students to work while in college and they can make some pretty good money doing so. Take on a job early on and designate a certain amount that goes towards the tuition bill or the living expenses. This also helps to teach responsibility, so it’s a win-win!

A college education may very well be within your reach, so don’t give up hope before you’ve checked out all of your avenues. These ideas can help you to think outside the box and get the college education that you are really after.

Mary M. Frederick blogs about how to choose the best undergraduate degrees for career potential.