College certainly isn’t cheap, but there are many ways students can save themselves some serious cash while earning their degrees. Although graduating completely debt free from college is virtually impossible in this day and age, it is possible to significantly prevent student loan debt from over accumulating.
Here are five ways students can save money without compromising the quality of their education while in college:
Explore Financial Aid & Scholarships
Most colleges and universities offer a plethora of financial aid and scholarships. Students should apply to any relevant scholarships and make appointments with financial aid representatives at their campus to look at their options. Free money is always a good thing for students, so financial aid and scholarship opportunities should always be taken full advantage of.
Consider Living at Home
One of the most appealing aspects to college for many students is moving away from home, but this can unfortunately lead to a mountain of debt quickly amassing. Living with parents while attending college can potentially save thousands of dollars due to significantly reduced spends on rent and food. Studying locally also usually means students won’t have to pay out of state tuition, which alone can save tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.
Online degree programs are more popular than ever before and for good reason; studying online is a cost effective way to get your degree. This is mainly because online college tuition rates are generally lower than traditional brick and mortar schools. Students also don’t have to splurge on gas or public transportation fees to get to class and most importantly, the flexible nature of an online program allows students to maintain a full-time job throughout the course of their studies.
Attend Community College
Community colleges are often undervalued, but they really shouldn’t be. These colleges allow students to take transferrable lower division courses for a mere fraction of the price of what most four year institutions charge. The majority of universities, even Ivy League, accept transfer students from community colleges and in many cases offer exclusive scholarship opportunities to them. Therefore, community college can potentially save students bucket loads of cash without dampening their chances of eventually attending a prestigious four-year school.
One of the biggest mistakes students make is using their student loans to buy frivolous or unnecessary items such as the latest iPhone or on expensive nights out. Students looking to reduce the amount of loan money needed should always spend wisely. This includes shopping at discount stores, using coupons, waiting for sales and using their student card wherever it is accepted. These may not sound glamorous, but these choices can save students tremendous amounts of money.
Students can potentially cut their amount of graduating debt in half or even more so by following the above steps. All is needed is a little careful planning, budgeting and an eye for a good deal.