10 Tips For an Affordable College Education

(This is a guest article by Adrienne Carlson*)

It’s one of the most important phases of our lives; it’s the passage of rite we go through as we transform into adults from youngsters; and on the downside, it’s also a pretty expensive proposition. So if you want to maximize your college experience, you need to minimize your expenditure and debt. And if you’re looking for ways to do this, here are 10 tips for an affordable college education:

  1. Search for grants and scholarships for which you are eligible, if you are not eligible, find out how you can change your status and work towards it. Grants and scholarships are attractive options to afford college because you don’t have to pay them back.

  2. Check out the various loan programs sponsored by the Federal government to help students with their college costs. They carry a low interest rate and are your best bet if you have to borrow money to finance your education.

  3. Save well in advance for your college tuition. If you’re bent on getting the best education possible, if you’re dedicated and determined to make it to college on your own steam, save from a very young age.

  4. Ask your parents to put aside money towards your college education when you’re in middle school and work really hard at your grades in order to convince them that you do mean business and that their sacrifices are not in vain.

  5. Get a part-time job or offer your services freelance in order to make extra money when you’re at college. It will be tough, but it beats borrowing money at exorbitant rates or being broke all through college.

  6. Do your research thoroughly before you enroll at a particular college. Check out all the fees that you have to pay in a year and ensure that you have adequate funds or the means to procure them before you sign up.

  7. Don’t spend unnecessarily and keep track of all your expenditure. Do not fall victim to peer pressure, especially when you know you cannot afford it and that you’re going to regret spending this money in the days to come.

  8. Enroll in colleges that are close to where you live so you can save on accommodation and food expenses. Weigh the costs of travelling to school every day against the costs of staying on campus and having to pay for food and other expenses.

  9. If you’re taking out a loan to finance your education, consider one that offers a forgiveness program and lets you work off your debt once you graduate. Loan forgiveness programs are available for people of certain professions, like doctors, teachers, nurses and others involved in service to the public.

  10. If none of the above seems likely to be happening, choose a community college that teaches you a profession which you can use to make money once you graduate. If you’re bent on going to regular college, you could work at a part-time job even as you study in order to save money for tuition.

College is a wonderful experience; make it even better by staying debt free and graduating without a financial burden to bear.

*About the author: This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accredited online university. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson83@yahoo.com

*Image Credit: Photograph by LuMaxArt [via Flickr Creative Commons]

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Ashley said...

I'm a big fan of community college as well! Too, if you already have full-time employment you should see if your company offers tuition reimbursement. Most will reimburse you 100% of your cost if you make all A's.

ispf said...

Ashley, you are right! If the company offers reimbursement, then that is definitely the way to go! I have noticed though that in recent years, several (IT) companies have cut back on this benefit. In place of 100% reimbursements, they now offer a capped amount (ex. upto $10K per year). It's still better than nothing though!

mlm said...

I totally agree with the idea of working hard to make college affordable and possibly graduating debt-free. Thanks for the tips! M. Matthews