Being someone who decided to go back to school in my thirties, I was initially convinced that I was going to have to go deep into debt in order to get the college education that I wanted.

I was going to school for history, and because most history majors don’t end up earning a whole lot of money, the amount of debt that I was going to end up with was a huge concern.

Thankfully, I decided to look around for different ways to pay for college.  I was surprised to find that there were a number of scholarships out there that most people have never heard about.  Some include:

Where I Wound Up

Finding a scholarship that I qualified for wasn’t exactly easy, especially considering the fact that I wasn’t coming straight out of high school.  However, not all hope was lost.


In the end, I wound up applying for a community service scholarship.  This allowed me to earn money for school while also helping others around my community, and that provided a very fulfilling experience.

What Kinds of Service Did I Provide?

A community service scholarship can be offered for a number of reasons.  Personally, I regularly volunteered at a local homeless shelter, cooking meals for those who were less fortunate than me.

This isn’t the only option you have, however.  I know of people who have received these scholarships for working with troubled youth, or volunteering at retirement homes.  The best thing you can do is ask an advisor at your school to give you all your options.

Performing Work Study

Because the scholarship itself wasn’t quite enough to cover all of my expenses, the work study program was something that I also took advantage of.  It allowed me to do daily work related to the school and my field of study in order to earn money for my education.

This is a great option if you have a scholarship that doesn’t cover all your expenses or you’re on financial aid and want to lower the amount you’ll end up having to pay back.

A Huge Success

All in all, I found a great amount of success doing this.  I’ve now earned my Bachelor’s in history, and while there is a little bit of debt associated with my schooling, it isn’t nearly as much as it would’ve been had I not looked for alternatives to student loans.

I’m now at a point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next.  If I decide to take my education even further, I’ll definitely be looking into alternative ways that I can cover the costs of my schooling.

I think all students need to learn about these different ways to pay for school.  Maybe if more students pursue such avenues, we’ll be able to decrease the overall amount of student debt in this country.