If there is one thing about college that everyone can agree on it is that it has become expensive. This is true for lower cost colleges, but when you look at the tuition costs for the fancy colleges, it seems hopeless that anyone can afford to go to college for a couple of semesters, let alone earn a bachelor’s degree. If you borrow the money, it will take too long to pay back the loan. There are a few ideas that may help you keep the costs down and avoid borrowing too much money.
Find out if you qualify for a Pell grant
These are grants not loans. What it means is that you are given a certain amount of money and do not have to pay it back. It is based upon income and is designed to help lower income families afford to send a child to college. The money can be used for a high cost college or a lower cost college. Many people qualify for a grant and do not realize it. It is possible to receive a small grant that pays for a portion of tuition but not all of it, but every little bit helps when trying to pay for a college education.
Attend part or all of your college online
Today, a person can get a four year degree in a variety of subjects and do so while taking their courses completely online. Generally, online classes are not as expensive as regular tuition. Many universities with great reputations are offering outstanding online programs, not just general classes or electives. However, you can get an entire degree, even your masters, through online classes. Students who have pursued an OU Electrical Engineering Masters Online were able to save money on what is usually an extremely expensive degree. This can be the perfect fix if you are trying to get your masters while also paying off your student loans from your undergraduate degree. Once again, all you need to do is explore your options and you may find that online classes are the way to go.
Go to a fancy college for the last two years
There is no requirement to attend the same university for all four years. One way to save money is to take your first two years of school at a local community college. Just make sure the classes can be transferred to the college of your choice, and you will save a lot of money on tuition. If it is your dream to graduate from a certain school, you can still make it happen—but you don’t need to build up four years of debt and loans just to say that you graduated from that school. Remember, transferring is always an option.
Apply for scholarships
Although it may seem obvious, too often people think of scholarships as being those that pay in full for books and tuition, but the truth is that there are many scholarships available that will pay small amounts. Maybe the amount will only be enough to pay for textbooks for one semester, but this helps. It is possible to receive several of these smaller type scholarships,which could help you make it through a few years of schooling. These days, you can get scholarships for all sorts of things, but you’ll never know about them if you don’t do your research. You could have money waiting for you that you never even knew about.
If you think you can’t afford to go to a good college, don’t despair, there are several possibilities to help bring down the cost, so you will not be paying off student loans for the rest of your life. The key to going to the college of your choice is to research your options—make a plan! There may be scholarships, programs, or options available that you don’t even know about. You can make an appointment with a counselor or financial aid counselor at the school to have them help you explore all your options before you give up on your dream of going to a school you love.