In USA, finding a way to pay for college is a big concern for many people who want to further their education. Everyone knows that a college education is not cheap, and many people graduate owing thousands in student loans. Annual tuition can run anywhere from an average of $8,000 to $30,000. Costs could be higher if student is from out-of-state or an International student.
Thankfully, there are ways to pay your college education that will leave you owing less money. Some creative graduates have even completed their education debt-free. While some of the options are not easy to access and are definitely not for everyone, they are worth trying. Following even one of the steps below can help you with paying for college.
Minimizing Student Loan Debt
It is possible to leave college without a lot of debt hanging over your head. The good thing is that you can start planning and working towards a debt-free college education while still in high school.
Advanced Placement (A.P.)
This is a great way for a high school student to earn college credits before actually going to college. This means that you will need fewer credits in college. Check with a few colleges to see if the courses you want to take in A.P. will count towards your major or general courses. This will help you decide which courses to take in Advanced Placement.
Of course, there are other ways such as taking some college courses while you are still attending high school. Taking online courses can build up college credit and you can even be exempted from some courses. Online study might also work for you since you won’t have to worry about expenses like transportation or accommodation.
Don’t feel that only the brilliant kids can get scholarships. Even students who don’t have the top grades can get scholarships and bursaries for college. The wide variety available will surprise you, but you need to search for them. Your school counselor will probably know about scholarships that you can apply for. One website that is very useful in helping people find suitable scholarships is FastWeb.com.
These kinds of programs help you complete college sooner than the normal three to four years. It does mean more school work, but if you are organized enough to manage the increased workload, this is a good option. The longer you remain in college the more you pay and the longer you will take to start working.
Working While Studying
This is an age-old method of paying for college. Again, it is not for everyone as some people will not be able to juggle a job and schoolwork. However, if you know how to manage your time, you can work your way through college. You will end up with less debt after completing your studies.
Finally, after you graduate, think about programs that can help to shrink your student loan debt. One of these is the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 for full-time public service workers. If you have ever thought about working for the government, you should explore this option.
Choosing the Right College
Depending on the college you choose, you can significantly reduce the cost of your education. Some people apply only to big name schools, overlooking great colleges that charge lower tuition fees. They also avoid community colleges which are cheaper than traditional colleges, even though they offer similar programs.
With the right approach and some planning, it is definitely possible to leave college without a huge debt hanging over your head. For those who have the right grades and students who are willing to work hard, it is possible to go through college almost for free.