Student loan debt is rising. What crazy things have you done to pay for school?

The facts

Total student loan debt reached a high of $1.2 trillion recently. We wrote about what you could do with all that money if you had it, and made a map of current student debt and default. We also dug up a lot of crazy scholarships.

But the truth is a lot of that money will never be paid back. Only 56 percent of borrowers are making payments — meaning three out of ten borrowers can’t pay back their loans right now.

We recently evaluated a few new student loan proposals to get people out of debt, but a graduate in finance from the University of California, Irvine, decided to deal with the loan problem on his own. He invested heavily in tech stocks like GoPro and Tesla and earned almost $50,000, which he said he’ll use to pay for grad school and avoid student loans.

The contest

We don’t want any of you to default on your loans, so we’re giving you a little incentive. Share your creative ideas on how you earn (or earned) money to pay for college.

Nothing is off limits, unless you’re doing something against the law, in which case we’re better off not knowing.

The rules

Post your creative methods of earning money on our Facebook page or in the comments section below. We’ll feature the best idea next week. The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30.

The prize

A $50 Amazon gift card.

Last week’s winner

We asked for the craziest jobs you’re ever worked and you guys have done some really weird stuff. Our favorite? Keith T.’s…

Years ago, I counted cars and people for a living. I would sit on the side of a road in a lawn chair and press a box for each direction a car would go in at a stop light. Mostly for traffic studies.

Also, if a new store was going to open and were curious about traffic flow on any given day they would send me to sit in my car outside of other stores in the same center and count the people going in; marking down what type of demographic would go in. Pay was great for what the job was, about $15 an hour.

I did it for about 2 years and of any other job I have had, people definitely gave me the weirdest looks when I told them about it.

That’s both creepy and awesome, Keith. It’s also worth a $50 gift card. Congrats!

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Meet the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of's 'By the Numbers' videos.

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Article last modified on January 3, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Tell Us the Creative Ways You Pay for College and Win $50 - AMP.