As the cost of tuition continues to rise and students borrow more money in federal aid, many college kids are finding that part-time or full-time jobs are necessary to stay financially afloat. According to a study by the CLASP Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, almost a third of all undergraduates were working 35 hours or more per week in 2008. Instead of taking the standard restaurant and retail jobs, here is a list of creative ways college students can earn an extra buck or two in college.
For iPhone and Android users, earning cash can be as easy as using your smartphone and a pair of good walking shoes. This free app pays users to complete tasks in their area (up to 60 miles outside of a city’s vicinity). Tasks include things like verifying a street name, taking a picture of a menu or product or reporting red-light cameras. Users usually make $4 to $7 per gig, with the average payout totaling $30 per day.
“A lot of college kids are going back to school this year with smartphones and you want to take advantage of being able to deflate the cost of that big bill by actually using that device to earn some money,” says CEO and co-founder Ariel Seidman.
If you have an abundance of clothes, electronics, household items, baseball cards, or antique coin collections you are willing to part with, people will pay serious cash for items on popular selling sites like Craigslist and eBay. If you’re looking to become a seriously-savvy vendor, hitting up thrift stores and estate sales can yield unexpected treasures that could earn you a pretty penny if you price it right to sell.
Have a knack for chemistry or physics? Whether you are schooling fellow students at your university or younger kids from schools nearby, tutors can make anywhere from $8 to almost $40 an hour, according to Payscale.com.
Going to class can really pay off--and not just by acing the exam. There are a host of websites that allow students to buy and sell their notes and study materials to others. Besides making some cash, users can also earn reward points to be used for gift cards and other prizes.
This site pays students $25 for their well-researched literary essays for research purposes and for other students to access. Unlike paper mills and unverified databases, Gradesaver.com imposes strict criteria for essays to be accepted; a two page book report or analysis isn’t going to cut it.
“We want an actual researched essay with citations and a bibliography at the end,” says Gradesaver.com co-founder Nick Smith. “We want original thinking to be a part of it, something that another student could look at it and incorporate it into their own paper and cite—that’s our main goal.”
Have a passion for writing and want to make some extra money and earn some experience at the same time? If writing for the school newspaper isn’t paying your bills, a savvy writer can make money as a freelance writer. Sites such as FreelanceWritingGigs.com and FreelanceWriting.com offer tips, suggestions, and job postings for freelancers reporting on a variety of subjects.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur with a no-brainer digital camera, you may be able to make money off of selling your high-quality, high-resolution and well-sized pictures to a stock photo agency such as Shutterstock.com. Photos are purchased and used by companies and websites for content and advertising purposes.
“Depending on the number of images submitted and the popularity of the content provided, a contributor could earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, per year,” says Meagan Kirkpatrick, director of social media and public relations for Shutterstock.com.
Every college student can use a little extra money to make ends meet. We found seven easy ways to keep students’ wallets padded.