Ten ways for college students to make quick cash 

The paper chase

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It is an intrinsic part of college society to use technology and tact to squeeze out some extra change between classes. Here are some good ways to beat the bank in the collegiate atmosphere.

1) Clean up on bottle returns

We have the highest bottle return in the nation: 10 cents! It's so high that some try to cross the border illegally with out-of-state returnables to cash in. At your run-of-the-mill college party, after the chip dip is long cold and everyone is passed out, offer to clean up the party mess in exchange for the ripe returnables. Then you can dip out with a trash bag clinking full of them. If there was a party with 30 people and each person drank six beers, that's 180 cans or $18 worth of cash in your pocket for a quick cleanup. (Stay sober enough to do this, of course.)

2) Plead your case on the Internet

Write a heartfelt or quirky plea to the Internet on gofundme.com's education section. Students are on there trying to get cash for books, tuition, and rent. Show how you could use the money and write away. Since people can search by location, anyone searching in your community may cross your page and donate a few bucks.

3) Make cash off your essays and research papers

Ditch the collegiate double-spaced APA, MLA format for a basic news article. Check out hubpages.com, a blogging site that pays by your blogs' traffic with a PayPal account. Hubpages blogger Learninginlife broke down her earnings: In 20 months, she made $1,701 off the traffic of 105 published blogs. This averages out to $16 per blog over a span of 20 months. Put those papers to work for you.

4) Drive for Uber

Hated and loved, Uber is an easy way to make cash with a clean car and a tank of gas. With the influx of carless college students and the hip tech crowd, Ubering around campus is quicker and cheaper than calling for a cab. However, with cab drivers protesting Uber because they're exempt from government fees, Uber may go through a few changes if lawmakers take serious notice.

5) Rent out your room on Airbnb

Offer up your room or a spare on Airbnb.com. This site provides travelers with low-cost ways of staying in a city, so set your price lower than a hotel. Campus towns have a blossoming Airbnb scene due to prospective students checking out the campus. As a user on Airbnb, your rented room will be reviewed and you will review your guest. This keeps everyone in check so you know what you're getting into. Just remember to pick up your clothes off the floor before turning your room over.

6) Apply for your university's research studies

Although research studies are usually very specific when looking for someone, some might meet your experience. You might be a guinea pig in research studies in your university's psych department. Though some may be long-term, the extra cash they could provide is quick and easy.

7) Be a Craigslist odd jobs master

This may not be for everyone, but hunting for odd jobs on Craigslist can pay off. If someone needs a ditch dug or gravel hauled or junk removed, get yourself a pair of work gloves and set at it. It is quick under-the-table cash for a day's work. Work with your back as well as your mind.

8) Scrap in your spare time

If you can run off little sleep and have access to a truck, this job is for you. On your neighborhood garbage night, prowl the streets looking for discarded metal objects to take to the local scrapyard.

9) Flip items from estate sales

"What an ugly pair of neon orange corduroy pants! Those aren't worth anything." Think again. An estate sale flipper takes the perceived junk of others and markets it to a wider audience on eBay or Etsy. Capitalize on the bidding wars of vintage fashionistas over your found treasures. Estate sales can be found on Craigslist and in ads in your local newspaper. Get there early.

10) Become a dog walker

Sites like care.com offer you the chance to walk dogs for cash. Write up a profile, set a price, and wait for a user to ask for your schedule. As long as you don't mind cleaning up for a pooch, this job is an easy way to get exercise and make quick cash.

Looking for something more concrete? Check out entry-level jobs on campus online, at

Wayne State University


Oakland University


Michigan State University


The University of Michigan


and U-M Dearborn


More by Dennis Burck

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