Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Spending loans

Loans are for education and living expenses only. Don’t use borrowed money for luxuries, drinks, tattoos, vacations, or anything unnecessary. Ask yourself, “Will this expense make me a better student?”

Borrowing money is not the only way to pay for college. Instead of taking on more debt, try taking advantage of some alternative resources. If you use these options instead of taking out loans, your future self is going to be so thankful.

Reduce your spending

  • money bill Budgeting: try to reduce expenses on things you purchase. Buying used books, making your own coffee, and carpooling are great options. See the Student’s Guide to Money for how to spend less and save more.
  • university Plan your classes wisely: only pay for classes that will count toward your degree. If you need help planning classes, schedule a session with an Academic Advisor or visit your GRAD Plan.
  • calendar check Payment plans: one way to lower your loan debt is to pay for some of your tuition on your own. You can sign up for a payment plan to spread costs throughout the term.

Other sources of income

  • graduation cap Apply for scholarships: there are scholarships available to help pay tuition. Even┬ásmall scholarships can add up to a lot of tuition savings.
  • map marker Work on campus: on your FAFSA, indicate that you want to be considered for work study. This is a form of aid where you work on campus to help pay for personal expenses.
  • map Work off campus: if you work while in school, you can pay more as you go which adds up and reduces your loans.
  • user plus Check with your employer: you may work at a company that will pay for you to attend college. Some companies will pay for the classes upfront, others will reimburse the cost after you have successfully completed them. See third-party billing for details.
  • search Investigate other aid: you may qualify for other funding, such as Veterans Benefits, AmeriCorps Vouchers, or Foster Youth Waivers.

Still saving for college?

If you are saving for college, look into setting up a matched savings account, also known as an IDA (Individual Development Account). These accounts match your savings by contributing $3 for every $1 you put in! IDAs are offered by community-based organizations: take the IDA Eligibility Quiz, then contact one of the organizations listed to find out how to apply.