How to make money as a college student Whether it’s to pay for tuition or to have some extra cash, check out these part-time jobs for students and other ways for students to make money while in college. September 14, 2023 Whether you attend a public or private college—in your home state or another—costs are higher than they’ve ever been. In fact, college tuition costs have nearly tripled over the last 40 years, according to Bankrate. “The cost of college has gotten completely out of control,” agrees Maggie Germano, a financial coach. And it’s not only tuition. “The cost of room and board, books, and other necessary expenses have been going up, too. This can end up putting students and graduates in lots of debt that may make it difficult for them to get ahead in life.” That’s why earning money as a student in college can be so beneficial to your financial health, both for today and tomorrow. Not only is the money helpful, but it also gives you a chance to build a budget and manage your own finances—critical skills for being financially secure throughout life. So, how to make money as a college student? The reality is that it can be difficult for students to earn money while keeping up with their studies. But by taking advantage of scholarship opportunities and choosing part-time jobs for students that fit with their schedule, undergrads can enter the next stage of life with a more stable fiscal foundation. How can students help pay for college? It’s never too early to begin planning for the cost of college. Even if your parents started a 529 college savings plan for you when you were young, you can look for additional opportunities to lighten the financial load. The two most common ways to do that, Germano says, are scholarships and financial aid. Scholarships and grants “Students should take steps to apply for as many scholarships and grants as they can even before the start of their senior year of high school,” Germano says. “This will help lower the cost burden for them once they begin school.” Students should speak with their high school guidance counselor to learn about available local, state, and national scholarship programs. Germano also suggests they take the initiative to research online, as new programs are constantly being created. Financial aid and loans Many colleges offer financial aid programs for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. While it’s important to speak to your university’s financial aid office directly, students should also consider filling out the FAFSA form, as many schools rely on it to assess eligibility for assistance. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and by filling it out, students will learn which federal aid and loan programs they may qualify for. Even with a scholarship and other types of aid, many students will still need to take out a student loan, Germano says. Be cautious, though. “Most students take out student loans without understanding the terms or how much it will really cost over time,” she says. “Talk to your parents, guidance counselor, or other trusted adults about this process so that you’re going into it with as much understanding as possible.” What bank accounts do students need? Before applying for jobs, students should be sure they have a place to put their money. Germano suggests students open a checking account and a savings account so they can best manage their money in both the near and long term. Rewards checking account Opening a rewards checking account is a great place to start because it can provide cash-back benefits similar to credit cards—and offer the flexibility to make purchases online and with your debit card. Earn cash back with your debit card Learn More Discover Bank, Member FDIC Just make sure your checking account features overdraft protection in case you accidentally overdraw your account. High-yield savings account Many students find it difficult to keep up with their bills, let alone put money away for savings. It’s important to make an effort, however, since any money deposited in a high-yield savings account can earn compound interest, potentially leading to significant growth over time. You can also use different high-yield savings accounts to save for multiple savings goals, such as buying a car, paying off student loans, and building an emergency fund. “[F]or those who have more flexibility, try to be realistic about how much work you can take on without sacrificing your schooling and other responsibilities.” How can you find the best part-time jobs for students? If you’re wondering how to make money as a student, a smart first step is to see what part-time jobs are available. The right part-time job can provide you with a reliable income without having to sacrifice time for studying and socializing. Check out these ideas for both on-campus and off-campus part-time jobs for students: On-campus jobs Finding a job on campus is a convenient option for how to make money as a college student. You won’t have to worry about commuting, and the workplace is designed to accommodate your student schedule. In addition to searching around your campus, Germano recommends finding out if you qualify for the federal work-study program at your school, based on your FAFSA application. To get your wheels turning, Germano suggests these on-campus job ideas: Resident assistant Administrative assistant for a department office Campus bookstore associate Campus café barista Tour guide Tutor IT assistant Mail room assistant Research assistant Dining hall worker Off-campus jobs Consider applying for a job off campus. Restaurants, theaters, and stores near campus are often open to hiring students, though these jobs may not be as accommodating as those on campus. Germano recommends asking upperclassmen what the best part-time jobs for students are. They may point you in the right direction and could even be willing to give you a referral. You can also look into remote part-time jobs for students that you can do from your dorm room. What is a good part-time job for students online? If you’re wondering how to earn money online for students or how to make money from home for students, you can check job boards for part-time remote work. Translation work, being a digital assistant, and tutoring are some potential online jobs for students to earn money. If you speak two or more languages, then translation work could be one of the first places to turn when looking for online part-time jobs from home for students. These roles often involve translating videos, podcasts, or documents—and, if you have knowledge in the medical or legal sphere, it can be more lucrative. Digital assistants can provide a range of services, from social media management to responding to email or scheduling appointments. These jobs may require a certain level of availability, so be certain to discuss the expectations of this job so you know if you can balance the role with your classes and social life. If there’s one or more subjects where you really excel, online tutoring could be a good way to make extra money without leaving your dorm. It can also be rewarding to help your fellow students find success. Can side hustles help with earning money as a student? If you can’t consistently work at a part-time job, consider more convenient ways to make money as a student—like a side hustle. There are plenty of side hustles to choose from, including driving for a ride-share app, house sitting, and pet sitting. Many modern side hustles can be managed through an app, offering a lot of flexibility. It means you can adjust your work schedule based on when you’re available, for example pulling back during finals week so you have time to study. It’s how to make money as a college student without having to take on too big a commitment. How can college students manage their time between work and school? It’s important to make sure your money-making ventures don’t interfere with your studies. “Some students need to work in order to live and support themselves in school, so those students will have to work as much as will support them,” Germano says. “But for those who have more flexibility, try to be realistic about how much work you can take on without sacrificing your schooling and other responsibilities.” She recommends reducing your work hours if your grades are being negatively affected. One tip: Try designating specific blocks of time for your academic tasks. With your work and school time clearly defined, you can then enjoy any free time you have to the fullest, without stressing about how you’ll get everything done. Germano says it’s also important to set realistic goals. If anything, plan for a little more time than you think you might actually need to write an essay or study for a test. Finishing early will be more motivating than failing to accomplish a task in time. You can also try different time management and finance apps. There are plenty of free apps out there that can help you organize your time and money. Get ready for a fun, financially secure college experience While keeping your finances in line and building a strong foundation for the future is essential, you should be enjoying this time of your life. “Many students who have to work to put themselves through school can have a difficult time balancing work and school in a healthy, sustainable way,” Germano says. Finding time for fun and relaxation is critical and should be top of mind to avoid burnout and maintain positive mental health. With these tips, you can find the way to make money as a college student that works best for you. Once the cash starts coming in, be sure you know how to budget as a college student and how to save money as a student. Earning extra money is only one part of money management for students. You also want to know that every dollar is being spent wisely. Articles may contain information from third parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third party or information. Discover Bank does not sell non-deposit investment products (“NDIP”) or provide recommendations regarding NDIP. NDIP are NOT FDIC insured.