How to ask friends and family for money for college

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Asking friends and family for money is never easy. Many of us would rather go broke than make things awkward and ask for what we need.

However, when it comes to money for your education, tapping into the resources your friends and family have can be a huge help. A recent study says that by 2030, college costs at a public university will be above $70k. An insane cost for a college education. 

What creates even more of an obstacle for students, is that many parents can’t contribute to the cost of their education. That means you’re taking on the bulk of the financial burden on your own.

If you need a little extra help with college, there are a few ways to ask people in your life for help.

Use Special Occasions to Your Advantage

Whether it’s your birthday, graduation, or special gift-giving holiday — ask your family and friends to give you money instead of a gift.

Since you’re already in a situation where gifts would be the norm, there’s nothing wrong with asking for something you actually want and need. You can tell your friends and family outright or include something in your invitations about making a contribution to your education instead of giving a gift. 

If you end up with cash, set it aside in a savings account specifically for your education, so that you don’t spend it on non-essentials. 

Create An Amazon Wish List

Instead of asking for money outright, ask for the supplies and items you need.

Build an Amazon Wish List and link it to family members and friends when they inquire about college and ask if there’s anything you need. 

Some people are uncomfortable parting with cash money. Giving them the option to gift you something you need might make them more comfortable.

Prepare For The Tough Conversations

It’s never easy to be vulnerable and ask for things like money or financial assistance — especially when it’s someone you’re close to. However, you’d be surprised by how open and willing people are to help out when they see how hard your working to make a great life for yourself. 

When you get to the point where you need to ask a parent, spouse, or friend for help with your education, be prepared to show them why you’re worth it. Highlight all the things you’ve accomplished, your plan for after graduation, and how you think this education is going to benefit your family. 

Whether it’s asking them for money or to co-sign on a student loan, be open to hearing their concerns and feedback. Understand that parting with large sums of money or signing on a loan for someone else is a huge deal financially. Anything you can do to ease their concerns and increase their confidence in you will be especially helpful.

Whatever the outcome, if your family and friends are willing to have the conversation, that means they care. Don’t let the answer become a wedge in your relationship.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

If you ask for money and don’t use it for your college education, you’ll frustrate and disappoint your family and friends. 

Whatever you’re asking them for, make sure that’s what you use the funds for. Additionally, be super clear about whether they expect to be paid back or look at it as a gift. 

If they commit to giving you money, continue that conversation so you’re well aware of their expectations. If things change with your education, make sure they’re the first to know what’s happening. 

Things can get awkward when you have tough conversations around money, but it could save your relationship if you’re honest upfront. 

Special College Campaigns

Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have helped students raise money for college for years now. Setting up a profile is easy, and it allows you to be creative, sharing your college experience and accomplishments with a wide range of people. 

Crowdfunding is particularly great if you’re already seasoned at social media and have a wide network to share your campaign with. If you’d like more information on how to set up a crowdfunding campaign, read more about the process here.

While this isn’t an avenue that everyone will be able to successfully achieve, it is something to think about if you’re in the early stages of trying to fund your education. 

Whatever your reason might be for reaching out to family and friends, remember that they’ll understand and respect your honesty and vulnerability. Even if things don’t work out the way you hope, they’re going to be on your side when it comes to helping you through your education.