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How to Get a Great College Education While Minimizing the Cost
Going to college continues to be the best way for someone to receive a great education and enhance their future earning power. However, the costs of higher education are also increasing at an exponential rate, and much faster that the rate of inflation and starting salaries for college graduates. This is forcing more people to take on student loan debt, which can be hard to repay after they graduate. Fortunately, there are several tips that can be followed to help someone get a great education while minimizing their overall costs.
Start at a Community College
One of the most effective ways that you can reduce your college expenses is by starting at a community college. Community colleges have also gotten more expensive, but continued to be substantially more affordable than four-year colleges. Further, many of the classes that you would take during your first two years in school will transfer directly to many four-year colleges. If you have a community college in your area, you can also save more money by living at home while you are taking classes.
Carefully Consider Housing Options
Once you have arrived at the school of your choice, you may find that there are many different housing options available. Today, there are many different off-campus housing options that offer amazing amenities such as pools, restaurants and lounges and fitness centers to tenants. However, the rents that you pay at these apartments are also extremely expensive and will add up to a lot more debt. Instead, you should consider staying in on-campus housing or sharing a room with a friend to cut your housing costs. For some, an even more affordable option would be to live at home for free.
Faster Graduation Route
Most of the time, college students enter school with the goal of graduating within four years. While some end up taking longer to complete a four-year degree, those that apply themselves could graduate faster. By increasing your workload from 15 semester hours to 18, you could end up finishing at least a semester faster. This could help you to save on housing costs and allow you to start repaying your debt faster.
Apply for Grants and Scholarships
Another way to offset your total education costs are by getting grants and scholarships. While these can be competitive to receive, their are education grants and scholarships offered by public and private organizations all over the country. It is important to do a lot of research to find out what your options are. Even after you have been in school for awhile, there can continue to be a variety of different options available for those that continue to apply.
Shop Around for Textbooks
One of the most surprising costs that a student can incur today are the costs of textbooks. A brand new textbook can easily cost $500 or more. When you consider that you need several of these every semester, the debt you need to take out adds up over time. Today, there are many websites and other resources that can be used to shop for used textbooks. Once your semester is over, you can then use these same resources to sell your textbook for nearly your purchase price, which makes your net book price negligible.
Going to college can be a great experience and way to enhance your earning potential. While it is important, the cost of college keeps going up. For those that are concerned with the costs and debt load, following these tips can help to reduce your total college expenses and debt upon graduation.
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