How to Pay for Your Studies During the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Tania Gutiérrez

Right now, the world is facing a global health crisis. While the Coronavirus has affected our social life and daily activities, many countries and industries are preparing for a worldwide economic crisis. This potential financial crisis could impact many people and organisations, and global higher education might be affected as well.

Travel bans have left international students stranded abroad with limited funding as their plans have rapidly changed. There is an increasing doubt among students on the accessibility of education after COVID-19. Financially, many students are worrying about:

  • Debts or student loans
  • Application fees
  • Housing
  • Books and study materials

In this article, we’d like to offer students hope and talk about ways to earn some extra income during the lockdown and look at strategies to cover or reduce expenses.

Support from governments

In various countries, financial concerns have encouraged universities and governments to collaborate and rapidly propose financial aid packages for students. In the US, for example, the Department of Education announced that it would provide relief for students who have taken federal loans.

According to the Federal Student Aid: “To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.”

Regardless of the country in which you study, check the official websites of the government or education department and see what options are available for students like you.

Support from universities and colleges

Universities around the world are adapting some of their current student aids or emergency funds, such as housing loss or death in the family. Now, the funds are used to cover housing support costs, meal plans, and storage costs. Other higher education institutions are creating grants that can be used for tuition fees, housing, supplies, and technical equipment or support.

Universities and colleges have saved additional funds due to the travel ban and cancelled events. This money is redirected to increase scholarships or cover certain fees, like application or orientation fees for students. 

The State University of New York announced that for students who paid their bill for the Spring semester, there would be a prorated credit for room and board to be applied for the Fall semester. Other schools will allow students to receive a partial refund for their housing and dining plans.

There is no database listing the support available from all universities and colleges. Checking the website of your university or contacting a representative is the best way to find out what financial aid is available and if you qualify for it.

Student working on his laptop

Explore freelancing opportunities

Freelancing is an excellent way to earn extra cash. Full-time freelancers make their living this way, so don’t look down on this opportunity. If you already have decent practical skills, many clients are looking for people who can write, edit video or audio recordings, create or fix websites, translate, teach a foreign language, etc.

The possibilities are endless, and it’s all up to what you want to do and what you’re good at. If you’re just starting, take 5 USD/hour jobs and build your reputation slowly. Move from one job to another and ask for positive reviews if your client is happy with your work. You can soon start earning 20 or even 40 USD/hour or start negotiating your own fees.

Some of the most popular online freelancing platforms are:

Here’s a list with other freelancing platforms you can check out.

Consider online degrees, which are usually cheaper

If you really feel funding your studies abroad will be too difficult, we suggest exploring online degrees. The current pandemic has increased the number of online programmes offered by universities, so you’ll have plenty of options.

Online courses are usually cheaper than traditional on-campus programmes because they need fewer resources to administer. You can even find free online degrees, so make sure you take the time to go through all the options available and make good use of the filters on our website – DistanceLearningPortal.

Look for jobs that are in high demand during this period

While some students are lucky enough to have remote jobs, many others are facing unemployment or the cancellation of paid internships.

Universities are supporting graduating students in this matter by providing information via webinars or through their websites on various topics related to career development. Topics covered by universities are helping students with their curriculum and how to approach a job interview. Future graduates also explore popular platforms for work opportunities, such as:

A riskier option, but still one you might need to consider, is taking a temporary job that is in high demand right now:

  • Grocery stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies are hiring temporary staff to help with stocking and delivery. Due to the age restriction of people at risk because of COVID-19, there is a necessity to fill in for full-time employees who are not allowed to go out.  
  • Delivery services like Amazon (and many local or national providers in other countries) are mass-hiring people for delivery and warehouse work.
  • Third-party food delivery services, like UberEats, TakeAway, or FoodPanda, are seeing an increase in demand and need employees. 

If you’re willing to take this risk or don’t have a better option, always remember to wear masks, wash your hands, and follow all the other health and safety procedures. Many food delivery services are taking additional steps to protect their employees and customers, like adding the option to ‘drop food at the door’, thus removing the direct human interaction.

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