Higher education has become a necessity of life. Gone are the days when a simple high school diploma would suffice for a person to land a lucrative career. Most jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject. For students in the United States, this often means a hefty bill if they would like to attend one of the better universities.
Cost of Attendance
Unfortunately, as the need for a degree has increased so have the costs of attendance. Some schools are now so expensive that they outstrip the amount offered by federal student loans. There is almost no way for a student to work and pay their tuition while supporting themselves without assistance from the government. This leads promising students without financial resources to drop out of school with no way to continue to pursue their dreams.
An alternative to a four-year degree is vocational school. The conventional wisdom is to take a four-year degree but with this economy it’s more practical to pick up a skill that will make money after graduation. Many people with four-year degrees in less practical fields find themselves unemployed with no way to face the mountain of debt they have racked up over their university career.
There are also countries outside of the United States where university education is offered at an extremely reduced rate. In some nations it is free for international students. Studying abroad is also thought to be an enriching part of life and they may find a new home overseas. The opportunity to be immersed in another culture and become fluent in another language can also be a valuable addition to a student’s resume after graduation.
Learning online is a new development that has become more popular with the advancement of the Internet. Online learning platforms like Course Hero help crowdsource educational help for students attending college. It’s possible for students to take an entire four-year course online and fit it around their own schedule. This is an economical and practical choice especially for students who are older and already part of the work force.
Students can also start their educational careers by attending the local community college. This is particularly useful for those who did not achieve stellar grades in high school and would like to prove their academic prowess before applying to four-year institutions. Staying within your home state or one with tuition reciprocity is also a good way to save money on the overall tuition bill. After completing credits at the community college, or graduating with an associate’s degree, students can start to apply to the four-year universities of their choice. Even if they are accepted to a more expensive university, two years will have already been paid for.
Scholarships and Grants
Students can also research the thousands of scholarships and grants available. Sites like FastWeb and others offer an easily searchable database of free funding for students. Everything from eye color to hometown is taken into consideration. There are scholarships and grants available for just about everything imaginable. It takes a great deal of work and research but the payoff can be wonderful. Students can also apply directly to colleges and universities for full scholarships to attend.
Education is still available but for those who are financially challenged it can seem like a pipe dream. There is nothing impossible in this world as long as you stay focused and figure out a way to make things happen. These are some suggestions to help hopeful students find the perfect combination of good education and saving money. A degree is an important thing in today’s working world and the ideal result is to emerge from higher education debt free and ready to enter the workforce.
by: Lee Flynn