5 Ways to Afford Your College Education
Today’s college students continue to encounter ever rising educational costs, presenting a major challenge to individuals and families alike as they consider ways to pay for their higher education. After exhausting every financial aid possibility, many students turn to federal Stafford and private student loans in a bid to pay for their education. College costs may be difficult to contain, but with careful and effective planning you can find ways to afford your college education without taking on excess debt.
1. Start off at a community college — Your dreams are to attend “State University,” but your finances say otherwise. What you can do is attend one of the quality and affordable community colleges in your area for the first two years and then transfer to State U for your last two years. Live at home, concentrate on getting really good grades and put in for a transfer for your junior year.
2. Stay on course — Take only those courses in college that count toward your degree and can be transferred. Meet with your academic advisor early on to discuss your plans. You’ll be advised to get at least a “C” if not better to qualify for credits that can transfer.
3. Forget the books — Or at least rent them. Avoid buying college textbooks. Instead, rent them. You can pay far less for your books if you use a textbook rental company to supply your books than to buy them from the college bookstore. Check the college library for text material and rely on free material as much as possible.
4. Work your way through college — Ideally, you will start college with your peers and complete you degree within four years. The reality for about 60 percent of entering first year students is that it will take them at least six years to complete their education. If you must work, then plan your studies accordingly. Develop a schedule where you can balance your education and a job in a bid to secure your degree. Can this be done? Yes, this writer took such an approach.
5. Learn about tuition reimbursement — Your employer may reward you for taking college classes by offering a tuition reimbursement program. The way these programs often work is that you can take one or two classes per semester and have the cost of tuition reimbursed, based largely on your grade. For instance, if you get a “C” your reimbursement might come in at 50 percent. For a “B” the reimbursement may come in at 75 percent and for an “A” at 90 to 100 percent. Check with your human resources department for benefit eligibility.
Your Will, Many Ways
Do not be dissuaded from reaching your academic goals. You may have to take a far different approach than other students to obtain your degree, but your resourcefulness will eventually pay off. Never give up and always look for ways to win.
See Also — I Cannot Afford College!