Over the recent years, the cost of college education has been on the rise. As such, a lot of students rely on loans to fund their education. It is reported that student loans have become a massive reason for consumer debt in the US.
On average, students graduate with about $28,000 in debts and this has made people think that its normal to have student debt. Nevertheless, leaving school without debt is not impossible and some students graduate without unpaid loans. As such, if you think outside the box, you can get a debt-free degree.
Choose your college wisely
If you want to leave school with little or no debt, it is critical to go to an easy to afford college. Both public and private colleges have varying fee structures and available resources. In-state colleges have friendly tuition prices when compared to private options and institutions that are away from your state of residence. Schooling in college within your state means you can pay $10,000 lower for your degree.
Getting an associate degree then looking for a transfer to a standard four-year program can be very useful in saving the costs. Typically, an associate degree takes about two years. These colleges are cheap even though you get the opportunity to complete the most significant degree requirements. Also, students in these colleges seldom take loans.
Skyrocketing college fees have made online degrees quite popular because they come with lower overall costs. Colleges with normal and distance learning options have online courses with lower costs. Today, more schools are striving to introduce online programs for their students. There are also some no-loan colleges that focus on students who meet a specific financial aid criterion. Nevertheless, you may still be allowed to get an instalment loan but the terms are better. At the same time, some of these schools may require you to get into part-time employment so that you can pay your tuition.
Be smart before going to college
Making plans to save some money before you enrol for a college degree is very important for people who want to get a debt-free degree. Making the savings arrangements should be done early enough so you can maximize your chances of paying your entire tuition fees.
Various tuition plans help you save money to cater for your college education in the future. Normally, there are two variants of these plans where one is prepaid and the other one is a savings plan. On the other hand, you can start making contributions to the education savings account and this one helps you to save money tax-free.
If you are still in high school, you can take a prior learning assessment and get college credits in advance. These programs work by reducing the time you need to get a degree. In the end, you can save almost $20,000 in college fees.
Dual enrolment programs can also be beneficial when you want to lower the cost of college education. Here, you take a college level course when you are still going on with your high school studies. After you are accepted into these programs, you will take the college courses at a community college. When you successfully go through the dual enrollment program, you can pay half the normal tuition fees but you may also qualify for a free college education. Due to the credit transfers, you can go through a four-year course in two years.
When in college, lower your costs
Your resolve to lower, the costs should get stronger once you are admitted to your chosen college. However, it is important to remember that school is an important aspect of your life and you shouldn’t jeopardize the quality just because you want to save money.
If you want to save what you spend on accommodation and meals, you can work as a resident advisor at your college. This position comes with free accommodation and food. You can save about $10,000 assuming you retain the position for the entire schooling period. Besides saving money, it helps you gain outstanding leadership and job experience and this makes it easy to land a job when you graduate.
Credit hour overload can be a good way of lowering the costs. Here, you take more classes in a semester than the allocated courses. As such, if you commit to taking an overloaded schedule it is possible to graduate earlier than when you go with the normal schedule.
While tuition fees contribute to the rising cost of education, books can also inflate the costs due to the rising prices. But when you rent the textbooks, you can cut the costs significantly since you don’t have to buy any book.
A budget is the most practical tool to help you manage your finances. This is because it enables you to adopt good spending habits and if you monitor all your expenses, it is easy to stay in charge of your money. As such, you should make it your mission to find discounts and coupons as well as buying from outlets that offer competitive deals. While budgeting is not a thrilling undertaking, it will help you stick to a healthy spending plan. If you want to be quite effective, try to make the payments with cash since this helps you to be aware of what you are spending.
Look for alternative ways of financing the education
There are tons of alternative means of lowering the cost of college education. One of the obvious ways is getting a scholarship for a degree program. There are numerous options available and the qualifications can vary depending on the total money offered. Though, most lucrative scholarships require the applicants to submit a convincing thesis as well as a letter of powerful recommendation.
Grants are designed to offer sufficient funding to students with financial needs. A good number of grants are available to students who demonstrate an outstanding academic performance as well as participation in extracurricular activities. To make sure the money is disbursed to your account in record time, it is crucial that you submit the application early enough.
If you are financially challenged, it is possible to get into a work-study program that is available in various colleges. Here, you will be given part-time work. Besides getting the opportunity to minimize the amount of money you spend on college education, it helps you get work experience while you are still in school. To take advantage of this option, you should consult the financial assistance department in your college and look at what is required.
When you are juggling between school and employment, you might benefit from a tuition reimbursement program from your employer. The programs are different and there are some that accept both permanent and part-time employees. At the same time, you may be required to submit the application before enrolling in college and some employers need you to have worked with them for a while before you can be eligible for the program. Most importantly, you need to convince the employer that the course you want to take will make a positive contribution to the organization.
While it may be challenging to earn your degree without accumulating debts, it is not out of reach if you are willing to put in some extra effort. The tips discussed here can be quite helpful if you want to get a debt-free degree. Nevertheless, you need to start early and find several ways of lowering the costs of going through college.
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