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4 Crazy Ways People Help Pay for College

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You’ve probably heard those heartfelt stories about ambitious college students running businesses from their dorm rooms to make extra cash. Tutoring people over the Internet and selling used textbooks on eBay are nothing compared to the crazy things that some are willing to do. Things like what, you ask?

We definitely aren’t endorsing these “unique” ideas, but read on if you’re ready to raise your eyebrows …

1. Become a human lab rat.

Many people decide to donate their organs and give their bodies to science after their demise, but some college students who are very much alive and kicking are getting in on the action, too—for extra money. How? Big pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers offer paid compensation in exchange for participation in clinical drug trials and medical research. It’s often fairly easy to find facilities that are in need of people to test experimental medications before they can be approved by the FDA and prescribed to the general population in college towns with large state universities.

Why? To research potential side effects and other complications, so yes, there’s a chance something bad could happen to you as a result. Participants generally undergo physical and mental exams to see if they are qualified candidates, and spend extended periods of time at the facility for blood work and testing while they are participating in the trial or study (up to several weeks) but the payments can be quite generous.

2. Find a sugar daddy / sugar momma.

Sugar daddies, or wealthy older men who are willing to support attractive women financially in exchange for “companionship,” have been out there all along, but matchmaking services and online dating websites created especially for this reason have made the process of actually pairing up with one much easier.

Critics complain that these arrangements are too close to prostitution for comfort, but some college co-eds have no qualms about dating a silver fox in exchange for luxurious designer gifts (that can later be sold for cash) as well as vacations, spending money, and even college tuition. And as you might have already figured out, sugar mommas are simply the female equivalent— wealthy older women, sometimes referred to as cougars, who “help” good-looking younger men financially in return for other favors.

3. Visit the fertility clinic.

Getting pregnant in college is not a goal for most female students, but many are helping other people achieve that goal at fertility clinics. Healthy, educated young women who donate eggs to infertile couples can be paid several thousand dollars, which is quite a hefty sum for most broke college students. It’s not a one-day event, because thorough physical exams, psychological testing, genetic counseling, hormone injections and other things are all part of the process. Not all interested applicants make the cut, though. People are turned down if the clinic discovers that the candidate has a health condition or if a particular disease runs in their family. And as with all medical procedures, there’s a risk of complications occurring—now, or in the future when the time to start your own family arrives.

There’s big money in fertility for young men, too. Sperm banks pay for donations from educated, good-looking males. There’s just as much testing, medical history interrogation, and required qualifying conditions in being a sperm donor as there are in donating your eggs, so being interested in this money making opportunity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eligible to do it.

4. Cash for gold!

Class ring? High school is over. Earrings or bracelets from an ex-boyfriend? Too many bad memories associated with them to bother wearing them. Ugly necklaces from your mom? She probably won’t even remember giving them to you. Graduation presents that you never wear? Why keep them, then?

It’s possible to free your cluttered jewelry box from broken necklaces and mismatched earrings once and for all and make some money in the process. Multiple cash for gold stores can be found in nearly every city, or you can even sell your unwanted gold jewelry in online (if you’re willing to mail in and aren’t afraid of getting ripped off.)

Use Your Common Sense!

It’s true that selling your unwanted jewelry isn’t too extreme, but we certainly aren’t advising anyone to actually act on the other crazy ways to help pay for college. Even so, many students have no problem taking advantage of the opportunities. Perhaps they’re just a more lucrative alternative to flipping burgers or taking out massive student loans in the minds of some broke college students.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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