Higher education doesn’t necessarily need you to break the bank. You can plan and prepare for college. With the right plan, it is no longer as hard to graduate as you may have once thought. You’ll also come out of the experience with money in the bank, rather than a smoking crater where you once had funds.
Work as you study
A penny saved isn’t always a penny earned; when it comes to paying for college, making more money is always a better idea. While many education experts recommend against taking attention away from your books in order to be able to work, doing so can actually help you become more successful.
The average public university charges around $10,000 for a year’s worth of tuition. You would only need to make $40 a day working five days a week. If you work longer shifts during your vacations, you can easily make do with only a few hours of paid work in the months that you have school and homework.
If you choose the right kind of work (rather than flipping burgers), your experience can actually help you with your job search later on. If you are studying management, for instance, starting your own startup while in college can be a great way not only to pay for your studies, but to have entrepreneurship on your experience list. If you are studying language, you could assist at a publishing house; with accounting, you could do anything from preparing taxes to bookkeeping.
Working will also help you get a head start on building up a professional network to rely on once you are fully ready for the job market.
Certainly, it can take a great deal of efficient time management to get all of this done together with attending classes and working on her assignments. You do need to understand, though, that all you need to do is to make $40 a day. Steady, part-time involvement is all it takes.
Work those scholarships and grants as well as you can
While working can help, you need to do your best to lighten your burden as far as possible. In some cases, these sources of funding can lower your college costs, and even leave you with surplus for living expenses.
Most applicants focus on finding the best scholarships and grants to apply for; they forget an important detail, though — applying early, they have an inside track. It’s important to begin applying at the beginning of the sophomore year in high school.
There are a few other rules that you need to keep in mind. Here are some of them:
- While you should consider working, it shouldn’t be a campus job; if you get a federal loan, it is usually lowered by the sum that you make at your campus job.
- You shouldn’t waste time applying for federal grants. The most that you can get is $3,000 a semester. You’re better off using your time to apply for scholarships, loans and state grants.
- The lower your course load, the less your financial aid.
Start with community college
If you’ve always dreamed of a degree from brand-name College, it can be somewhat a downer to start at community college, instead. Community college, though, can offer wonderfully cost-effective education that’s just as competitive as anything regular college has. After two years at community college, you can move on to regular college. This way, you’ll only need to pay for two years there instead of four, and you’ll still end up with a big-name college degree.
Make sure that you graduate before time
Taking the least possible amount of time to graduate is a great way to get your degree without borrowing. You can consider taking college classes while you’re still in school, and enroll for International Baccalaureate courses. You can also work hard and make sure that you graduate in time.
Finally, the best ideas are often the most obvious ones. Certainly, these savings are traditionally set up by parents putting money together for their children. There’s nothing to stop you from putting money together for a college savings plan yourself, though. The earlier you begin to save, the more you make off interest and the less you will need to actually spend.