Students Find Creative Ways To Pay For College

By Denise-Marie Ordway
Orlando Sentinel.

Alex Ramirez is the first in her family to go to college. In August, she’ll start classes at the University of South Florida.

But even with grants and scholarships lined up, the Colonial High School senior said she has less than half of the $10,000 she needs for tuition, housing and other costs for the fall semester.

So Ramirez is launching her own mini-business to get cash for college. She joins other students trying to raise money in creative ways.

T-SHIRTS FOR SALE: Ramirez, an artist with a 4.3 grade-point average who plans to major in biomedical sciences, has put one of her drawings on a T-shirt. Last month, she started selling T-shirts featuring a woman wearing a multicolored mask for $20-$22 apiece through her Facebook page, Alex’s Art Shirts. She needs $6,000 by the end of the summer. So far, she has collected $314.

“It is an original artwork, and it’s a T-shirt,” said Ramirez, 18. “I think $20 is well worth it.”

HORNS, ANYONE? Some college students sell hand-crafted items on Etsy, an online marketplace for artisans. They sell homemade hair bows, scarves or jewelry. Lulu Rolando, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., makes ears and horns.
She initially started creating elaborate, painted horns out of clay for personal use, as part of the costumes she likes to wear to Renaissance festivals and conventions for fans of Japanese anime.

Then Rolando, a freshman at Valencia College, realized she could sell horns and clay animal ears online to make money for textbooks and groceries. She was excited to find a market for such items among people who enjoy dressing up as fictional characters, demons and mythological creatures. She said she makes about $500 a semester.

One of her biggest sellers: antelope horns. She has made at least 40 pairs over the past year. Customers pay $30 to $100 for each pair of customized horns, depending on their size and detail.

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