While studying at university is a great way to get the qualifications you need to land the job of your dreams and ensure your salary is high enough over the years that you become financially stable, it is also an expensive undertaking.
For many students, the costs involved with being at college can result in coming out of uni with a whole lot of debt and many years ahead of trying to pay it off. If you want to finish your education with less debt and stress then think ahead and find ways to cut costs. Read on for four top ways you can go about saving money on your college education today.
Carefully Decide on the Course and Uni You Choose
For starters, don’t rush into making your decision about the course you want to study and the university you want to attend. Your choices in these areas can have a huge effect on your finances now and down the road. For example, keep in mind that many students waste thousands of dollars each year because they enroll in one area of study (often one they’re pressured into) and then realize it isn’t for them. When you waste time studying a course that you’re not going to finish, this is money down the drain too.
It pays to select the right college, too, particularly because the prices different institutions charge can vary quite considerably. Often educational establishments are all accredited in the same ways, and offer the same kind of degrees, but their fees range hugely.
As such, consider this when weighing up which uni to attend. While the prestigious colleges have good reputations, remember that they have higher fees to go along with these big names, and often your career prospects really won’t change too much if you go to a school that isn’t so glamorous.
Reduce the Length of Your Study Wherever Possible
Next, once you have an idea of the area you want to study and university you want to attend, check to see if it will be possible for you to accelerate your education so that you’re not paying for classes, accommodation, textbooks, and the like for so long.
The less time you spend studying, after all, the quicker you can be out in the workforce earning money, too. By accelerating your study you can often shave six to twelve months, or even more, off your program time.
Another way to reduce time spent at university is to look for achievement tests you can take or summer courses you can complete to give yourself credit for previous study and/or more overall credits for the year. Furthermore, if you’re thinking of studying two different degrees, rather than complete one and then start the other, consider choosing a combined degree. This will allow you to study both courses at once and can have you finishing your college time much earlier.
Take Advantage of Financial Assistance
Another important point to think about when it comes to saving money on your education is that many colleges, private organizations, and state and federal government departments have scholarships, grants, and other financial support to give out each year.
As such, if you look into every type of assistance you could be eligible for, you could end up spending significantly less money on your courses, textbooks, board, and more. Quite a number of these aids never actually have to be repaid, or come with incredibly low repayment rates, so you can save a substantial amount.
It is a good idea to go and talk to the admission officers at your college to see if they can give you a list of available support. You might find there is financial aid for tuition you can apply for, or that there’s a business in your local area awarding scholarships to deserving applicants. Try to be proactive and take advantage of every opportunity on offer.
Consider Online Study
Lastly, keep in mind that these days there is a huge range of excellent online courses run by universities around the country that will not only give you the same qualifications as an on-campus program, but can also help you save cash.
When you complete your education online, this can make it easy to stay at home longer, rather than having to move into college accommodation or rent a room elsewhere. This not only saves money on board, but also cuts your costs when it comes to things like utilities, food, and transportation.
Another benefit of opting for an online course is that these programs tend to be much more flexible. As a result, you can take classes at night, on weekends, or at other times which suit you, while also working part time or full time. This means you can be earning more money and be gaining relevant work experience a lot sooner.