If the cost of college stresses you out, you’re not alone. No matter which college you choose, it’s darn expensive. Here are 8 tips to help ease the cost of education.
Determine your Career Path
Maybe you want to study education, physical therapy, or social work. It’s important to do work that you are passionate about. So, when you’re choosing a school you want to consider what your yearly income will be. Will you make enough to cover basic expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, and gas, etc.) as well as pay back your student loans?
Choose an Affordable School
It might be tempting to choose a school because you like their football team, or because your parents met there. But keep in mind, your degree will likely be the same regardless if you spend $37,000 a year or $6,000 a year. With that being said, it’s essential to find a school you can afford. This might mean adjusting your expectations about going to a certain dream school.
Enter Scholarship Programs
Scholarships are money you can earn and never have to pay back. It’s wise to search for any and every scholarship opportunity available, even if you think you won’t win. Scholarships are a powerful tool when it comes to paying for education, even if the amount is small.
Apply for Financial Aid
If you plan to attend college, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This is a form that schools use to calculate how much money they can offer you in the way of financial aid. The type of aid can vary from federal grants, to work-study programs and state aid. There is no income cutoff to be eligible, so you won’t know what you qualify for until you submit the form.
Go to Community College First
There are over 1,000 community colleges in the United States. These two-year schools offer more affordable options for education. Students can complete their basic, general education classes at a community college for two years, then transfer to a four-year university to finish their bachelor’s degree. Plus, students will likely have the option to live at home while they attend community college. Imagine the savings.
Work a Part-Time Job
A part-time job can be a great way to help pay for expenses related to attending college. Whether you work on or off campus, having that income can help you pay for your education and potentially reduce what you need to borrow. Additionally, you can work extra hours over the summer to earn money to put toward the coming semester.
Claim a $2,500 Tax Credit
Once you begin paying for tuition, books, and room and board, the American Opportunity Tax Credit allows you to reduce your taxes up to $2,500 a year (unless your modified adjusted gross income is no more than $90,000, or $180,000 if filing jointly).
Internships are a great way to get real-world experience while in school. Some internships are paid, while others may be unpaid. However, working an unpaid internship is a good way to get your foot in the door at a company. If you do a good job, it is likely that the company will offer you a full-time paid position after you complete your degree.