Staff Writer

A lot of work-from-home jobs cross our desks every day.

We always try to bring you the cream of the crop and this group of job openings is no different.

5 Work-From-Home Jobs Open Right Now

Most of them are full-time positions and some have super sweet benefits. See for yourself.

1. Customer Service Representative for Government Contracts at SaviLinx

Applicants for this full-time remote job at business process and marketing services outsourcing provider SaviLinx must be available to travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for occasional but regular training and meetings.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Providing customer service via text, email, chat and phone calls
  • Resolving customer inquiries and concerns and properly escalate issues when appropriate
  • Meeting established metrics and demonstrating improvement over time
  • Looking for learning and training opportunities

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Advanced technical skills
  • 1-2 years of customer service experience
  • Previous contact center experience
  • Strong problem-solving and listening skills
  • Understanding of Windows operating system and the internet
  • Ability to work variable hours, including evenings, nights and weekends
  • Eligibility to obtain government security clearance
  • Ability to pass a drug test and background check

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Paid sick time
  • 80 hours of vacation time
  • 401(k) retirement plan
  • Employee Assistance Plan

Pay: SaviLinx says it offers “high wages.”

Apply here for the Customer Service Representative for Government Contracts job at SaviLinx.

2. Reservations Coordinator at Vacation Strategy  

This full-time position comes with very specific schedule requirements: Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon/evening shifts; Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Booking guest reservations online or over the phone
  • Quickly and accurately cancelling and rebooking reservations in a live system
  • Answering department phones
  • Assisting Guest Services and the Concierge team with reservations and cancellations

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • High speed internet and your own computer
  • Access to and familiarity with Skype Video
  • Three professional references
  • Excellent listening and communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • The ability to work from home full-time

Pay: $10.50 per hour

Apply here for a Reservations Coordinator job at Vacation Strategy.

3. Fact Checker (Science Educational Content) at Symmetry Creative Production

If you love to do research and have great attention to detail, this remote contract position may be right up your alley.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Reviewing PDF proofs and related content
  • Return marked-up PDFs with the required number of fact sources
  • Adherence to project guidelines and requirements

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • One year of fact checking experience
  • Samples of previous fact checking work

The listing does not include benefits or pay information, but I’ll update this article when I get more information.

Apply here for a Fact Checker job at Symmetry Creative Production.

4. Customer Service Pro at Meet Edgar

Act fast if you want this full-time remote job. Applications will only be accepted through June 2, 2017.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Taking customer phone calls and video calls
  • Helping customers with general questions and some technical troubleshooting
  • Working on personalized onboarding and engagement campaigns with other team members

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Availability to work 40 hours per week: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time (Your first month will be from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET)
  • Previous SaaS support, help desk or call center experience
  • High speed internet
  • Excellent problem-solving and written communication skills
  • A way of “putting people at ease and making them feel heard”
  • An affinity for working technology
  • A working knowledge of social media
  • Know what what "inspect element" and "view source" are

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Four weeks of paid vacation
  • Up to two months of family leave for new parents
  • Monthly home cleaning service
  • Paid internet service
  • Paid coworking or coffee shop expenses
  • Health, dental and vision insurance
  • 401(k) plan with employer match
  • Mac laptop

Pay: I’ve reached out to the company and will update when I hear back.

Apply here for the Customer Service Pro job at Meet Edgar.

5. Content Associate At OfficeNinjas

This remote job is part-time but will potentially become full-time. Also, be prepared to take a quick quiz to assess your writing chops.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Contributing researched articles to the blog
  • Writing social media scripts, marketing materials, proposals and reports
  • Working on a variety of campaigns
  • Writing copy for landing pages, drip emails and customer support

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Availability to work 20 hours per week
  • Experience working remotely
  • Understanding of content marketing
  • The ability to adjust priorities as needed and be self-motivated
  • Proficiency with Google Drive, Docs and Sheets, WordPress and Asana

The job listing does not include any benefits.
Pay: The company says, “Compensation will be based on experience and consist of a flat monthly package rate with room to grow.”

Apply here for the Content Associate job At OfficeNinjas.

Don’t forget to check out our Jobs page on Facebook. We post new jobs there all the time.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about new job opportunities so look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got a tip to share.

If you’re looking for a work-from-home job that doesn’t confine you to a 9-to-5 weekday schedule, here’s an opportunity you’ll want to check out.

Customer relationship management company Alorica is hiring work-at-home customer service representatives.

Alorica manages customer calls 24/7, and that means you can work evenings, late at night and weekends.

As a customer service representative, you’ll receive and process incoming calls for a variety of Alorica clients.

Responsibilities include taking down customer information, answering questions, resolving issues and presenting upsell opportunities on each call.

To land this job, you’ll need “exceptional customer service skills as well as patience and empathy,” according to the job description.

Alorica offers paid training at the minimum wage in your state or local area. Once you’ve completed training, your pay will be somewhere between the minimum wage in your area and $10 per hour.

You’ll need to meet a few requirements to be considered for this job, including:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • 18 years or older
  • Ability to pass a background check and drug test
  • Basic computer skills
  • Available to work a minimum of 10 hours per week
  • Clear and distinct speaking voice
  • Passing score on job-related assessments

If this sounds like a job for you, head over to Alorica’s website to apply.

Don’t forget to check out our Jobs page on Facebook. We post new jobs there all the time.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about new job opportunities so look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got a tip to share.

Want to know a secret?

I’ve never had a professional massage.

I totally get why they’re appealing, but they’re just not my jam.

Manicures on the other hand?  Heck, yeah.

My tombstone will read, “How do my nails look?”

I’m not gonna lie, getting my nails done every two weeks or so costs a pretty penny (or 6,000, to be exact), but it’s the one luxury I budget for, even if it means using cheap body wash or mascara.

The main reason I go to a salon to get my manicure done is because there’s no way I could do it at home. I’m basically the most uncoordinated person on the planet, so I’d end up with acrylic powder in my eye and nail shellac on the walls.

For all other spa-type treatments, though, I’m strictly a DIY gal.

Here are some of my favorite ways to indulge myself easily right in the comfort of my own home -- without spending a fortune.

15 Ways to Get Your DIY Spa Day On

  1. Everything you’ve heard about coconut oil is true. Skip the expensive body lotion or deep conditioner and use this low-cost alternative instead. An entire jar will only run you about $4 and will last for months.
  1. Apply an avocado or egg mask to your hair at the beginning of your spa routine, then wrap your head in a warm towel. Let it work its magic for at least 20 minutes while you give yourself a lip scrub. One egg will set you back 10 cents and an avocado is about a dollar.
  1. Korean sheet masks make your skin look amazing, but they can be awfully pricy. I picked up a handful at my local dollar store for a buck each recently and discovered they work just as well as the expensive brands. If you buy in bulk, you can save even more pennies.
  1. Speaking of masks, if you use Lush cosmetics or know someone who does, hang on to those little black pots and bottles their products come in. You’ll score a free face mask when you turn in five empties. That’s a savings of at least $9!
  1. Clear up blemishes and reduce fine lines with a 60-cent container of plain, generic-brand yogurt! Whether you use it plain or jazz it up with extras like a dash of honey or oatmeal, your pores will thank you.

    [caption id="attachment_57022" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

  1. After rinsing off the mask, I like to give myself a five-minute face massage. It’s surprisingly relaxing -- and totally free!
  1. If you’ve got a few dollars to spare, sign up for a Sephora Play! subscription. For just $10 per month, you’ll get a box delivered right to your door filled with deluxe product samples and a bonus fragrance.
  1. This homemade eucalyptus sugar scrub is both energizing and effective. For less than a dollar’s worth of sugar you can make a batch to slough off dry, dead skin, leaving behind a tingly clean that smells luxurious.
  1. For a change of pace, I like to mix things up and exfoliate my skin with this three-ingredient coffee body scrub that you can make with the (free!) used coffee grounds leftover from your morning brew. It reportedly also reduces the appearance of cellulite. (Don’t tell me if that’s just an old wives’ tale -- I don’t want to know.)
  1. Sometimes my skin just isn’t up for a harsh scrub down. That’s when I whip together this gentle scrub that rinses off easily with warm water. Not bad for 60-cents worth of oat bran. (I’ve tried it without wheat germ and it still works great.)
  1. If you plan to shave during your spa time, try dry brushing first to prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn bumps.
  1. If I’m going to sport beautiful nails, the rest of my hand better keep up appearances too. This lemon-sugar hand scrub is so easy to make, smells amazing and costs less than $2 to make. After you rinse it off, slather on some hand lotion and take a minute to admire your, er, handiwork.
  1. Do you know why every spa scene in a movie or TV depicts someone with cucumber slices on their eyes? Because it works! For about 75 cents, you’ll have all the slices you need, plus leftovers for salad. (Tea bags dampened with a bit of cool water are also a great way to reduce puffy irritated eyes if you’re fresh out of cukes.)

    [caption id="attachment_57023" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

  1. I’m cursed with dark skin patches on my face (thanks hormones!) that make me look like I blended my foundation with my eyes closed. One way I keep the discoloration in check is by dabbing a few pennies worth of lemon juice and honey on the affected areas. You can blend the ingredients together or apply them one after the other. Leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
  1. Treat your feet to a nice soak with whatever gentle bath wash you have on hand. Follow it up with a homemade foot scrub that costs less than one dollar. Simply stir one part coconut oil into two parts sugar and scent with a few drops of essential oil. A dash of lemon juice adds extra oomph. To kick (ha!) things up a notch, slather on some lotion and cover your tootsies with thick socks while the moisturizer works its magic.

    [caption id="attachment_57021" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

10 Easy Ways to Spa-ify Your Surroundings

While planning your day of indulgence, don’t forget to design your own relaxation grotto. Give your bathroom a deep clean and then:

  1. Splurge on a soft, thick towel.
  1. Pick up some pretty containers from the dollar store to hold all the scrubs and potions you make.
  1. Scour thrift shops for a fluffy bathrobe to wear while relaxing.
  1. Get some inexpensive candles to create ambience during bath time -- or make your own.
  1. Set a plant or vase of flowers in the bathroom, because greenery makes everything better.
  1. Cover your bathroom window with frosted contact paper to diffuse bright sunlight that might harsh your mellow.
  1. Put a few sprigs of eucalyptus on the corner of the bathtub to create a clean, refreshing scent when you run the hot water.
  1. Buy a bathtub overflow drain cover so you can fill the tub extra deep and soak all the way up to your chin.
  1. Queue up this chill Spotify playlist.
  1. Make this fruit and cucumber-infused water to sip as you spa

Want even more DIY spa ideas? Check out how to make your own sea salt spray, body lotion and more.

Disclosure: We don’t hesitate to pick pennies off the sidewalk when we spot them. But the affiliate links in this post help our earnings grow even quicker. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner than sidewalk money.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Maybe one day she’ll get over her personal space issues and try getting a massage.

Far too many of us live paycheck to paycheck.

That means it would be a real struggle to come up with $100 for an emergency -- to say nothing of $400 or $500 -- without going deeper into debt.

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes: unexpected medical expenses, car trouble, getting laid off — or even jail.

People don’t usually expect to wind up in jail, and it can be expensive to bail out yourself or someone else.

The average bail amount can range from a few hundred dollars for a misdemeanor charge to $55,500 for a felony.

In fact, the expense can be so prohibitive that some people end up staying in jail longer than they have to.

Gothamist reports that half the people sitting in New York City jails are there because they don’t have the bail money they need to get out.

“In addition to exposing people who are presumed innocent to the many hazards of [local jail complex] Rikers Island, pretrial detention disrupts people's ability to work, pay rent, and take care of their families, and drastically increases the chances that one will be found guilty of a crime,” writes Gothamist’s Nathan Tempey.

If you got a call from a friend or family member who needed to quickly raise bail money, would you know where to turn? Here are some easy ways to get cash.

If you’ve exhausted all your options and are still short on the money you need to bail out a jailed  friend or family member, consider going to a bail agent.

You’ll pay a bail bond premium, which is just a percentage (often 10%) of the total bail amount.

“The premium is a fee for the bail agent’s services to manage the defendant and make sure he or she shows up to all required court appearances,” explains Nolo.

Just be aware that while cash bail money you pay directly to the court is refundable, but any money or assets you put toward a bail bond premium is not.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By checking out this featured content, you help us bring you more ways to save!

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

If your work clothes are feeling a little tighter lately, you aren’t alone.

Forty-five percent of U.S. workers say they’ve gained weight at their current job, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

What’s more, 25% say they’ve gained over 10 pounds at their present job and 10% believe they’ve gained more than 20 pounds.

Workers say a lot of factors contribute to their weight gain, including:

  • Sitting at a desk most of the day (51%)
  • Work wears them out too much to bother with exercise (45%)
  • Eating because they’re stressed (38%)
  • No time to exercise (38%)
  • Eating out regularly (24%)

I’m right there with you, fellow workers: I spend a lot of working hours parked in a desk chair, and some days the only exercise I get is waving at my gym as I drive past it (which totally counts as arm day).

Several survey respondents also said workplace celebrations, happy hours and the temptation of office snacks contribute to extra poundage.  

Yep, I can relate to that too. The fridges at The Penny Hoarder HQ are stocked with healthy treats, but we also bring in our fair share of donuts and cookies.

Then there’s all the food we use on to make all our cool videos. I mean, we can’t let that go to waste either, can we?

Long story short, we eat a lot around here.

Battle That Bulge

It comes as no surprise the near-universal advice from the medical community is that consistent activity is a fundamental key to controlling weight.

Even though we know that’s the solution, CareerBuilder’s researchers say, “41% of workers don’t work out regularly or at all, and 47% of this group say they gained weight at their current job.”

Some companies are willing to help employees stay healthy -- 28% say their employer provides gym facilities or other wellness benefits. Unfortunately, 63% of workers who have those benefits don’t use them.

If you can’t or don’t exercise on a regular basis, there are a few other things you can do to reduce stress and fight the battle of the bulge.

If you can’t resist the urge to grab a nosh at work, getting a handle on stress and finding better work-life balance could help keep your waistline under control.

I suppose if there’s any silver lining in this new CareerBuilders report, it’s that many of the results are basically the same as last year. We may not be getting better at avoiding weight gain at work, but at least we aren’t getting worse.  

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s always on the lookout for hot tips on work-life balance because she struggles with it every day. Look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got some to share.

Some graduation commencement speeches are inspiring, some are touching and some are simply hilarious.

Leave it to Bill Gates to be a little bit of each.

Gates took to Twitter earlier this week to share his thoughts on what he wish he’d known when he was younger and what grads today can do to have the best chance at success.

Gates goes on to say:

In a nice hat tip to his wife, Melinda, Gates recommends new college grads “surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self. As @MelindaGates does for me.”

Gates also had some career advice for newly-minted grads.

Gates didn’t limit his advice to just Twitter. He also wrote a 700-word missive that takes a deeper look at why he recommends those three specific fields.

“If I were starting out today and looking for the same kind of opportunity to make a big impact in the world, I would consider three fields,” he says.

“One is artificial intelligence. We have only begun to tap into all the ways it will make people’s lives more productive and creative.

“The second is energy, because making it clean, affordable and reliable will be essential for fighting poverty and climate change.

“The third is biosciences, which are ripe with opportunities to help people live longer, healthier lives.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

If you’re ready to take Gates’ advice but aren’t sure where to begin, start with the resources at your local library.

No matter how lofty your employment aspirations, finding a job takes time. If you end up working in retail or become a barista, remember this: you’ll be learning the soft skills you need to be a success in whatever field you choose.

Twenty-somethings aren’t the only ones earning a degree to begin a new line of work. In fact, it’s never too late to start a career at any age.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wishes Bill Gates had been handing out career advice when she was in college.

This year’s crop of fresh-faced graduates have a lot to look forward to. New job or school opportunities, maybe a party or two and, of course, gifts.

No fibbing, grads. You know one of the only things getting you through that last round of finals was the promise of a good celebration and a few presents for all your hard work.

Whether you’re the giver or the recipient of a gift during this graduation season, listen up.

I have some advice for you.

The Gift Grads Really Want

Gift givers, the graduates in your life are too polite to tell you this, so I’ll say it for them.

Personalized stationery or a new commuter bag makes a cool gift, but sometimes the best present is simply some cold, hard cash.

College Time’s Madison Rutherford sums it up best. “Let’s be real here: What we really want is cold, hard cash so we can buy the crap we really care about, like Chipotle and PBR.”

How Much Graduation Gift Money Should You Give?

First of all, let’s get one thing straight, gift givers: You’re under no obligation to give a present -- cash or otherwise -- to anyone.

If your budget doesn’t allow for it (or you just flat-out don’t want to), a heartfelt card or note is just fine. (Right, grads? Right?)

If you do want to give the gift of money, though, you’ve got a lot of company.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of the people who give graduation gifts prefer to hand out cash.

When you’re deciding how much to give, here’s a good rule of thumb: Based on a 2015 NRF survey, the average cash graduation gift is around $100.

What Should You Do With Your Graduation Gift Money?

Grads, I’m going to go all mom on you before I offer suggestions on what to do with the cash you get.

Before you spend or invest a dime of that money, send thank-you notes to everyone who gave you a present. Do it.

Now, I wouldn’t be a responsible Penny Hoarder if I didn’t suggest that you set aside a portion of the money to start building an emergency fund.

You can also:

  • Park it in a free checking account and let it start earning interest. Aspiration is one of our faves and features up to 1% interest, 100 times more than most banks.
  • Invest in the stock market. Stash walks you through the process and lets you get started for only $5. It also gives you $5 to invest when you sign up through this link.

Of course, we all need to cut loose a little bit and reward ourselves for a job well done. Take a little bit of the money you got and splurge on something nice for yourself. You deserve it.

But first, write those thank-you notes.  

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s been both a graduation gift giver and recipient. She thinks giving is much more fun.

Many of the work-from-home jobs we tell you about are focused on things like customer service or travel planning.

These opportunities often don’t require degrees or certifications and instead rely on what hiring agents call “soft skills” like problem solving or conflict resolution.

But we also know some of our readers are looking for home-based jobs that tap into skills on the other end of the spectrum -- jobs that require things like a background in computer programming or project management.

If that’s you, then you’ll definitely want to hear about a batch of work-from-home jobs that might be right up your alley.

Dell is hiring dozens of remote workers all around the country to fill a variety of openings. For these jobs, hard skills are definitely required.

The available jobs run the gamut from tech-based positions like Senior Systems Engineer to degreed positions like Business Operations Advisor.

In fact, there are at least six full pages of job listings on Dell’s website spanning the U.S. and Canada.

Here are a few of the openings you’ll find:

Senior Consultant, IT Security

This job asks applicants to have experience using a variety of programming languages, including Python, C and C++. You’ll also need a background in information security best practices, forensic analysis and reverse engineering mobile ARM architecture binaries. A BA/BS in engineering/computer science is required but a Master’s or PhD is preferred.

Talent Acquisition Advisor

This position requires at least six years of full lifecycle recruiting experience or eight or more years of equivalent work experience. You’ll also need to know how to work with common recruiting platforms like Taleo, MS Office Suite, PeopleSoft and WorkDay.

Principal Support Engineer

Applicants for this job need a strong background in IT networking, experience working with Windows Active Directory and a familiarity with shared storage solution vSAN. You’ll also need to understand FC, iSCSI and clustering technologies, and have a working knowledge of standard backup and recovery tools.

Senior Business Development Manager

To apply for this position, you’ll need a BA/BS degree and at least eight years of experience in the software technology industry. Contract negotiation skills are a requirement, as is a history of working for a large global system integrator. Experience with Software-as-a-Service and Deloitte or other large GSIs is preferred.

Job Benefits at Dell

Dell offers some snazzy perks and benefits that include:

  • Health and wellness programs
  • Career development opportunities
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Life and disability insurance

If you’re interested in landing one of these sweet gigs, spend some time brushing up on what to expect during an interview at Dell and what to know before you apply.

If none of the openings at Dell grab you, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook jobs page. We post work-from-home jobs there all the time.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She likes bringing readers new work-from-home opportunities so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a hot lead to share.

Let me just say librarians get the coolest gigs in the world.

Atlas Obscura reports the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is hiring a librarian to catalog and develop its resources, participate in user outreach programs and supervise Library Assistants, interns and volunteers.

I never really thought about the Hall of Fame having a librarian, much less an entire department devoted to organizing and maintaining its collection. Who knew? (If that department isn’t named “Dewey Louis and the News” I’m going to be heartbroken.)

Part of the job involves the “physical processing of library resources, including books, dissertations, periodicals, sound and video recordings, music scores, and electronic resources.”

That means you get to actually touch stuff like:

The fancy outfit Mike Smith of Dave Clark Five wore on a 1967 TV special.

A post shared by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@rockhall) on

The scrap of paper N.W.A.’s MC Ren used to write a song.

A post shared by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@rockhall) on

Some Beatles paraphernalia.

A post shared by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@rockhall) on

Joan Jett’s jacket.

A post shared by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@rockhall) on

This giant hot dog from a Phish show.

A post shared by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@rockhall) on

You’ll need to have some serious librarian expertise to land this awesome job.

Qualifications include a Master’s degree in library or information science, experience in a long list of cataloging and reference skills and knowledge of the history of rock and roll.

The full-time job may require some overtime and evening, weekend or holiday shifts but is primarily a Monday-through-Friday gig.

There’s no word on perks and benefits, but you can bet that one of them is getting to attend the yearly induction ceremony.

The job posting doesn’t list an explicit salary but says it’s “commensurate with experience.”

If the librarian job is out of reach for you, don’t despair. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is has a batch of other listings, including openings for interns, docents and volunteers.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’d take this job for free.

When it comes to higher education, I only have good things to say about community colleges.

They’re a money-smart education option that can save you thousands. Some will even pay you to graduate on time.

Unfortunately, not all community colleges are created equal. Some are a better value than others.

Student Loan Hero compared the costs of college credits at schools across the nation to find out which states offer community college students the most bang for their buck.

Here are the top 10 states where community colleges are a money-saving option, as well as how much students can save on tuition by attending for two years compared to attending only a four-year college:

1. New Jersey, $20,993

2. Illinois: $20,707

3. Pennsylvania: $18,653

4. California: $18,403

5. Virginia: $17,706

6. Arizona: $16,698

7. Michigan: $16,231

8. South Carolina: $16,153

9. Vermont: $15,866

10. Delaware: $15,773

Be sure to check out Student Loan Hero’s interactive map for data on all 50 states.

What These Numbers Mean For You

“Based on our findings from this study, prospective college students should seriously consider attending a community college and then transferring if they want to offset their overall educational costs. Not to mention avoid taking on more student loan debt than may be necessary,” says Student Loan Hero columnist Elyssa Kirkham.

In an ideal world, your local community college would offer the biggest tuition savings and also happen to intersect with schools whose alumni make the most money after graduating.

But what if the community colleges in your area don’t hit one or both of those sweet spots? Try not to stress out too much.

First, check to see if any of the colleges around you offer free tuition.

No? What about a college with a proven track record of making poor kids rich?

Perhaps an alternative certification is the way to go?

If a four-year university turns out to be a better bet than community college after you’ve priced out both options, keep these money-saving tips in mind.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about ways to save money on college tuition. Look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a hot tip to share.

UPDATE: On April 27, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a memo forbidding the Department of Education from rejecting Upward Bound grant applications over formatting issues.

“Program offices may suggest page limits and formatting standards (such as font size, line spacing, and the like) but may not use ignoring these suggestions as a basis to reject grant applications,” reads the memo.

That’s great news for the more than 2,300 students affected by the DoE’s earlier decision that resulted in withholding over $10 million in grant money.

Thousands of high school students around the country may not be able to attend college when they graduate and you aren’t even going to believe the reason why.

The U.S. Department of Education has denied funding to a large swath of schools that applied for an Upward Bound grant to help underserved students pursue higher education.

The reason? Wait for it…

All 65 pages of the grant applications weren’t double spaced.

That’s right, folks. A minor formatting error that even most college professors would let slide is preventing kids from going to college.

The Upward Bound Program Is the Bee’s Knees

Upward Bound is a DOE grant program that helps financially-strapped high schoolers access college prep courses and funding to attend college.

It’s been kicking around since 1964 and serves first-time college-bound students from low-income families.

Without this grant money, many students -- particularly in poor and rural communities -- simply won’t make it into college.

Lighten Up, Department of Education

For the first time in the program’s history, the DOE required text in the Upward Bound grant application, including text on charts and graphs, to be double spaced.

Here’s what’s happening around the country at schools that overlooked this minor requirement.

All told, more than $10 million is being withheld from more than 2,300 students at around 40 colleges -- over grant submission errors that mostly involve double spacing issues.

The DOE Shouldn’t Be Casting Stones

It’s perfectly acceptable to hold schools to high standards when doling out money, but the agency holding the purse strings should take a long look in the mirror before drawing any hard lines in the sand over minor issues.

“On Feb. 12, the department's official Twitter quoted the famous black American scholar W.E.B. DuBois, but misspelled his name as DeBois,” notes Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry. “After Twitter users mocked the Department of Education for misspelling the name of such a prominent scholar and leader, the Department of Education tweeted, ‘Post updated - our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.’”

“Apologizes,” indeed.

If the DOE wants to be such sticklers about formatting, its own Upward Bound Program web site, which hasn’t been updated since 2016, could use a little line spacing help of its own.

Your Turn: Do you know anyone affected the DOE’s fussiness over the Upward Bound Grant application process?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She believes the DOE should offer all the students affected by the agency’s ruling its “deepest apologizes.”

Who’s ready to hear about another round of work-from-home jobs available right now?

Pull out your resume because I’ve got six new opportunities to share with you today.

6 Companies Filling Work-From-Home Jobs Right Now

Be sure to read the descriptions closely, since most of them are only accepting applicants from specific geographic areas.

1. Part-Time Customer Service Associate at Williams Sonoma

One of the best things about working in retail is access to deep product discounts.

A neat perk of working (from home!) for this retailer is the “huge discount” employees get on all kinds of cool kitchenware and home furnishings to trick out your pad.

Responsibilities include:

  • Processing orders and offering customer specials over the phone
  • Addressing customer concerns about products and delivery
  • Issuing credits or replacements to customers for damaged or defective merchandise
  • Offering cross-selling opportunities to customers

You must be a resident of Nevada to apply.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Basic technical skills and the ability to troubleshoot basic issues with software and computer programs
  • A distraction-free environment with an ergonomically correct workstation
  • A computer with Windows 7, Windows 8, or Macintosh OS X (10.7), or Linux Kernel version 2.6 or newer and higher operating system
  • Corded telephone or cell phone with unlimited minutes, wired headset, a functioning mouse and keyboard, and 17” or larger computer monitor
  • High-speed internet connection
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Good problem solving and interpersonal skills
  • Three years of customer service experience

You’ll be eligible for these benefits:

  • 40% discount on most merchandise
  • Paid employee referral program
  • Paid onsite training
  • Reward programs and contests

Pay: $11 per hour

Apply here for a Customer Service Associate job at Williams Sonoma.

2. Customer Support Jobs at Colony Brands

A big shout out to Lisa Mills over at Work At Home Mom Revolution for pointing out the open customer service jobs at this catalog and e-commerce company.

Weekday first, second and third shifts are available at SC Contact Centers, a division of Colony Brands.

Rayna Clark, Home Agent Manager at SC Contact Centers, told me the company plans to fill “approximately 400 positions available starting this summer and hiring through the fall.”

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Taking and processing customer orders via telephone
  • Answering and addressing customer concerns and questions
  • Staying up-to-date on company offerings and procedures
  • Upholding safety standards

You must be a resident of Wisconsin, Missouri or Iowa to apply.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • A PC and USB headset
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Ability to attend online training Monday through Friday for first two weeks of employment on either first or second shift
  • Intermediate computer skills and a strong technical aptitude with computers
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Distraction-free environment with an ergonomically correct workstation

You’ll be eligible for these benefits:

  • Up to 40% off company merchandise
  • Paid training
  • Attendance incentives
  • Bonus pay program
  • Flexible schedules
  • Monthly performance bonuses

Pay: Clark says the starting wage is $10.80 per hour plus add-on sales commission.

Apply here for a Customer Support Jobs at Colony Brands.

3. Customer Relations Associate at Pier 1 Imports

There are full-time and part-time work-from-home positions available with this popular wicker-loving retailer. FYI, part-time schedules may change week to week and will include weekends.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Assisting customers with product orders and dealing with any issues that arise during the ordering process
  • Identifying trends and opportunities to improve the customer experience
  • Identifying cross-sell and upsell opportunities

You must be a resident of Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Ellis, Denton Johnson, Hood or Dallas counties in Texas to apply.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • The ability to work from the Corporate Office for the first 90 days of employment
  • Weekend, holiday, and night time availability
  • The ability to attend mandatory training dates: June 19 - July 7, from 9 3 p.m.
  • The availability to attend occasional meetings, coaching and training sessions at the corporate office
  • Experience with PCs and word processing programs
  • Previous customer service and/or sales experience
  • A distraction-free workspace
  • High-speed internet
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • 25% discount on merchandise
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Opportunities for growth and development

Pay: The company describes the pay as “competitive.”

Apply here for a Customer Relations Associate job at Pier 1 Imports.

4. Reservation Agent at Alaska Airlines

Work-from-home employees for this company don’t need to live in Alaska, but they do need to live in Idaho to be eligible to apply for this full-time job.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Assisting customer with travel requests on the telephone
  • Answering customer questions about traveling on Alaska Air or one of its travel partners
  • Making new reservations and changing existing reservations
  • Assisting customers with navigating Alaska Air’s website

You must be a resident of Boise, Idaho to apply.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Availability to work early mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends, holidays and overtime.
  • Ability to attend training at the Boise call center
  • High-speed, hard-wired internet connection and dedicated phone line
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • A demonstrated ability to use computers and related technology
  • Strong customer service, interpersonal and communication skills

Applicants must not have used any nicotine products within the last six months.

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan
  • Employee travel
  • Paid time off

Pay: $12.14 per hour

Apply here to be a Reservation Agent at Alaska Airlines.

5. Customer Care Specialist at The Mark Travel Corporation

Disney isn’t the only company hiring in Florida. This Orlando-based travel booking company is also looking for work-from-home customer care specialists.

According to the job description, “As a Customer Care Specialist you book and service vacations on Southwest Vacations, United Vacations, and all Mark Travel Corporation brands including Funjet Vacations!”

Candidates local to the Orlando area preferred.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • High-speed internet and landline
  • A private workspace
  • Availability to work one Saturday or Sunday shift of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every other weekend

You’ll be eligible for these benefits:

  • Discounts on personal travel
  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Paid training
  • Paid time off
  • 401(k) contribution opportunities
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Company-provided computer, monitor, headset and phone

Pay: The company describes the pay as “competitive.”

Apply here to be a Customer Care Specialist at The Mark Travel Corporation.

6. Customer Service Representative at DISH Network

If you want to be “the face and voice of DISH to [its] nearly 14 million customers,” now’s your chance (and check out the perk that comes with the job).

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Resolving customer issues with payments, billing, product features and sales
  • Preventing future callbacks through amazing customer service
  • Promoting DISH’s product line and services

You must be a resident of El Paso, Texas to apply.

Applicants for this position must also have:

  • Availability to work onsite for four weeks of training
  • Flexible availability, including weekends, holidays and evenings
  • Ability to sit for long periods
  • Regular and predictable attendance
  • High school diploma, GED or equivalent experience
  • Excellent organization, time management and problem solving skills
  • Experience using Windows operating system and internet search engines
  • High-speed internet
  • Dedicated workspace

You’ll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • 401(k) with company-matched funds
  • Free DISH programming
  • Paid time off
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Additional pay for language and shift differentials

Pay: $10.00 per hour plus bonus potential

Apply here to be a Customer Service Representative at DISH Network.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our Facebook jobs page; we post our favorite work-from-home jobs there all the time.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She likes bringing readers new work-from-home opportunities so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a hot lead to share.