Less is More: 4 Ways to Save on School

Oct 27, 2015 | 6:52 pm

School is expensive. Whether it’s being discussed as a talking point during a presidential debate or being discussed between two anxiety-ridden parents, the rising cost of higher education is a notable problem for our country. Everyone knows that pursuing higher education is a smart long-term goal, but at what cost? Before making serious decisions about your educational path, you should first consider ways to make your journey less expensive. Consider these 4 ways you can save on your higher education.

1. Consider State/Community College
While state or community colleges may not be the most attractive options to aspiring young students, they are often the most financially friendly. Depending on the state you live in, tuition prices can be drastically different. According to the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the average cost of in-state tuition is $6,752 compared to $15,742 for out-of-state tuition. Many of these financially friendly schools also offer well-respected degree programs. When considering school, make sure to not overlook your local institutions.

2. Explore Financial Aid Options
Financial aid is easier to come by than you may think. Depending on your socioeconomic status, race, gender and other various factors, some institutions will give you money to help you pay for your schooling. According to Big Future by The College Board, there are three major steps you must take in order to get financial aid: first you must submit the FAFSA, which allows you to be considered for the greatest amount of financial aid options. Next, you must find out which other financial aid forms are required depending on the particular aid you’re in line for. Lastly, you search and apply for private scholarships. Depending on the options you qualify for, financial aid can help take a big hit out of your tuition cost.

3. Understand Your Loan
The majority of students won’t be able to attend school without acquiring some sort of loan. Unless you are fortunate enough to pay for your schooling without needing loans, you will need to make repayments upon completion of your degree. It will be in your best interest to understand how long you can expect to have to pay off your loan, and just how much you will need to pay monthly. A good understanding of your loan will help you deal with increasing interest rates and better prepare you for the payments that are awaiting you. It will also help you decide which loan will be most effective and conducive for you.

4. Have a Plan
Perhaps the most important step for you to take when you’re planning college is to actually set a PLAN. The biggest mistake you can make is beginning a degree path, being on that path for a few years, and then deciding you want to take a different route. This will cause you to stay in school longer which will cost you additional dollars. Your plan should also include a potential job upon completion of your degree. This will help you plan the type of loan you should take and give you a better understanding of how much money you can actually afford to pay for school.